2024 Chevrolet Trax: An actually affordable automobile

The average transaction price on a new vehicle is, quite frankly, an insane number. It’s over $48,000 at the moment. In fact, it’s been over $40,000 for more than three years now. Cars are only getting more expensive. So when an affordable new car pops up, it almost feels like an automaker is playing a trick on us. I’m happy to say that this is not the case with the 2024 Chevy Trax.

The last version of the Trax? Yeah, that wasn’t much to talk about. This new one, however, is greatly improved over the older model. It’s not perfect, but driving one is a far cry from a penalty box on wheels or something that should never see ownership outside of a rental lot. With the 2024 Trax, we have a sub-compact crossover with surprisingly good room inside, a clean and comfortable cabin space, and a turbocharged three-cylinder engine that won’t bore you to tears.

It’s a 1.2-liter mill that makes 137 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque, and the torque peak arrives at 2,500 rpm. There’s no CVT here, which is good as Chevy has opted for a 6-speed automatic instead. You can only go with front-wheel-drive here, which seems like a bad idea but the automaker is probably aiming to keep this thing as inexpensive as possible. And at this price point, Subaru has you covered anyway.

Out on the road, the Trax drives far better than I expected. But I’ll be perfectly honest here, I expected to hate it. Instead, I was reminded of past fun and affordable machines I’ve driven over the years. This thing is no Mazda2, as that remains the barebones benchmark for affordable fun, but I enjoyed hustling the Trax over the curvy stretches of road outside of Asheville, North Carolina. Up front, you have a MacPherson setup while the rear is kept simple with a torsion beam, springs, and shocks. You also get four-wheel disc brakes as it’s far less common to find rear drums anymore, even on entry-level vehicles.

The steering response could’ve been a touch quicker, but it was still far more fun to just grab this thing by the scruff of its neck and exercise all of the 137 horses available to me. That’s not the goal with the Trax, of course. It’s an affordable tiny crossover, and it plays that part well. That’s because Chevy fits good tech at this price point. You have wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to handle your music, navigation, and phone call duties. The steering wheel feels nice and chunky in your hand. And the fit and finish are perfectly acceptable at this level. It’s almost refreshing, actually. This is a true economy car but it’s certainly no economy car of the past.

Now to the price, I keep mentioning. The base LS model wears 17″ steel wheels and starts at $21,495. Jump to the 1RS for $23,195 and you add on 18″ wheels, and heated front seats, and you can option on a sunroof. Next is the LT which nets you a larger 11″ center screen, an 8″ digital gauge cluster, and LED daytime running lamps and costs $23,395. Next is the 2RS which upgrades you further to 19″ wheels, keyless start and keyless open, and includes a heated steering wheel for $24,995. Finally, the Activ is the top trim and takes you back to 18s but adds on an 8-way power driver’s seat for $24,995.

There are some fun paint options available. A few extras like floor mats and whatnot, but you can’t spec one of those over $30,000. In fact, a fully loaded model should land a few grand under $30k. And that’s almost revelatory in this day and age for a consumer looking to purchase a new vehicle. There are certainly other great options out there at or near 30 grand, such as the Honda Civic Sport Touring and the aforementioned Impreza, but the Trax is a good-looking machine with enough features for the segment and the price point. Plus I didn’t notice a dynamic difference between the various trims, so you can get the one the suits your needs and budget. And you won’t hate driving it every day, which is really a win here as well.

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2 responses to “2024 Chevrolet Trax: An actually affordable automobile”

  1. MattC Avatar

    I’m a fan of any new car whose MSRP starts with a “2”. Maybe I’m showing my age but I have a very hard time doling out $40k for a depreciating asset.

    I bought a new Spark for my grad student daughter in 2019. It is both a perfect vehicle for the city environment and shockingly fun to drive. It really reminds me of simple 1980s era hatchback. An added plus is consumables are inexpensive. I replaced all 4 OEM tires at about 45k miles for a little over $400. My other child bought a new Kicks in 2022 for $23 K and it’s perfect for her needs.

    The new Trax is an appealing option for a first new car. Even “base” models have all the creature comforts that were unheard of years ago. A proper 6 speed automatic is a nice touch.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      Yeah, even low 3s are amazing these days. But a 2?! Wild for sure.