2015 Chevrolet Trax

2015 Chevrolet Trax

Episode 3419
Lucas Oil "Keep That Engine Alive"Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Chevrolet is well known for its full-size SUVs like this Tahoe. But, it’s really small utes that are fast becoming today’s big deal. The Nissan Juke, MINI Countryman, and Buick Encore are already out, with more coming like the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, and our focus this week, the Chevrolet Trax. Now, Chevy is no stranger to tiny utes. But, their last one, the Tracker built with Suzuki, was less than the best. So let’s see the new Trax is on the right track.

Utility vehicles are coming in ever more shapes and sizes these days, so love them or hate them; they’re not going away anytime soon. This 2015 Chevrolet Trax plays into a segment that is ripe for explosive growth: sub-compact crossovers. 

While most efforts so far have been luxury minded, like the Mini Cooper Countryman, and Buick Encore, with which this Trax shares a platform, more mainstream brands are now joining the downsizing. And it’s about time, as we think the Encore’s size would work for Chevy from the get go. 

And actually it has been, as the South Korean made Trax is already sold in over 60 global markets. It’s just new to Chevy dealers here. 

Mechanically, the Trax is nearly a clone of the Encore, including front-wheel-drive being standard with all-wheel-drive optional. Power comes from the same “little engine that almost can”. Lifted from the Chevy Sonic subcompact, it’s a 1.4-liter I4 turbo with 138-horsepower and 148 lb-ft. of torque, attached to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Also from Sonic is the MacPherson strut front suspension, and compound crank torsion beam under the rear. 

On both city streets and the sweeping canyons east of San Diego, where we got our first drive, the suspension tuning proved fully competent; similar to Encore; not sporty, not soft, but a good middle ground. Ride quality is pretty good for a short wheelbase vehicle, until the roads get really choppy.

The all-wheel-drive system is a fully automatic on-demand system. Sending power rearward when slip is detected, which does include on tight turns. Curb weight is as much as 3,300 pounds with all-wheel-drive. 

On the technology front, the Trax is fully up to speed with a 7-inch MyLink display in the center stack, Siri Eyes Free connectivity, standard keyless entry; and optional remote start. Like all newest GM’s, OnStar 4G LTE with built-in WiFi is standard, as is a back-up camera; though navigation, by way of the BringGo app is optional. 

The instrument panel is more Sonic than Encore with a large, round, motorcycle style tachometer on the left, and a rectangular digital display right for speed and more. The 3-spoke steering wheel has nicely integrated controls; and the overall fit-and-finish of the interior seems perfectly fine for a Chevy price point. 

A full complement of 3 in the back seat would be uncomfortable for all parties involved, but both leg and knee room were adequate for 2 adults; reliefs cut into the front seatbacks help a lot. Up front, there’s a good amount of room as well, but seats are narrow and you still sit very upright. 

As for cargo, rear seatbacks fold 60/40, and the front passenger seat folds flat as well, for longer items. At 18.7 cubic-ft., rear cargo space is larger than both the Nissan Juke and Jeep Renegade, 48.4 cubic-ft. with the seat backs folded.

And there’s a wealth of small item storage bins throughout the interior. 10-airbags are standard, including rear seat-mounted thorax bags. 

On the outside, all of the current Chevrolet design cues are here; dual-port grille, smooth body sides with rounded fenders, and a gently sloping rear with well integrated spoiler that extends down the sides of the back glass, and stacked tail lamps.

It’s a smooth design with plenty of curves, a fairly aggressive stance, and enough glass for fine visibility.  Body lowers are covered in plastic; and simulated skid plate’s front and rear hint at capabilities that are probably best left untested. 

16-inch wheels are standard, with the top trim model getting 18’s. Wheelbase of just 100.6-inches, and a front track of 60.6 inches makes for a tidy package. Overall length comes in at 168.5-inches; ground clearance is a good 6.2-inches.   

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for a front-wheel-drive Trax are 26-City, 34-Highway, and 29-Combined.  Sending power to all 4 wheels will lower those numbers to 24-city, 31-Highway, and 27-Combined. That’s still good for an above average Energy Impact Score of 11.4-barrels of annual oil use with CO2 emissions of 5.1-tons.

Pricing follows an affordable Chevrolet formula starting at $20,995. All-wheel-drive adds $1,500 more, which makes it the least expensive all-wheel-drive Chevrolet you can buy. A base Encore stickers for 4-grand more. 

So for 2015, GM morphs the Buick Encore into the Chevrolet Trax, and fortunately all of the competency is left fully intact. The Encore was a much bigger hit than expected, so this one will certainly have higher expectations. But, we think the Trax is off on the right track to fully meet them.


  • Engine: 1.4 liter
  • Horsepower: 138
  • Torque: 148 lb-ft.
  • EPA: 26 mpg city/ 34 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 11.4 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 5.1 tons/yr
2023 BMW X7 Driving

2023 BMW X7

Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More

Episode 4238
Lucas Oil "Keep That Engine Alive"Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.

When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.

There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…

…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.

2023 BMW X7 Interior Dashboard

Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.

The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.

At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!

New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.

In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.

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Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.

There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.

Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.

It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.


  • Engine: I-6
  • Horsepower: 375
  • 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Torque: 398 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
  • EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined