2015 Chevrolet Trax

2015 Chevrolet Trax

Episode 3419
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 GMC Canyon 1

2023 GMC Canyon

Canyon Goes Bigger

Episode 4303
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Most people know the GMC Canyon as the Chevrolet Colorado’s professional grade cousin. And while that sounds like just marketing speak, with an all-new design of GM’s midsize truck platform comes more genuine brand separation. So, let’s see what the third-gen GMC Canyon delivers in real time!

Small trucks are once again a big deal, and part of the reason is that they are no longer small. There’s not much about this 2023 GMC Canyon that resembles the ¼-ton Sonomas, S-10s, Rangers, and Datsun trucks that were wildly popular in the 1980s.

Of course, then, people were willing to sacrifice certain “big-truck” things for an easier to use and more economical pickup experience. Well, we don’t seem to be big on compromise for much of anything these days, and the current midsize crop of trucks deliver more than ever. So fittingly, the 2023 Canyon will be available as a Crew Cab only with a 5-foot bed. No more extended cab or long bed options. Wheelbase is about 3-inches longer than before, with the front wheels pushed more towards the front. It definitely looks tougher, and they’ve even eliminated the much-hated front air dam that protruded well below the front bumper.

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The Canyon also comes exclusively with the high-output version of GM’s 2.7-liter turbocharged I-4, with a stout 310-horsepower and 430 lb-ft. of torque. At times it feels even more powerful than those numbers would indicate, with its diesel-like torque delivery enabling a best-in-class max tow rating of 7,700-lbs. No choice of transmission either, strictly 8-speed automatic, but you can still decide whether you want rear or 4-wheel-drive.

At minimum, ground clearance is 9.6-inches, which is more than an inch taller than last year, and almost 2-inches over Chevy’s base Colorado. And since it’s all about the off-road packages these days, our AT4 tester comes with 4-wheel drive, off-road suspension, locking rear diff, 2-speed transfer case, hill descent control, and 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires.

And that’s just where things get started, as at the top of the heap, there’s a new AT4X with 10.7-inches of ground clearance, enhanced front and rear e-locking differentials, 33-inch mud terrain tires, Multimatic dampers, and an additional Baja Drive Mode. We’ll have more on the AT4X real soon.

But for all Canyons, including this AT4, GMC went tech-heavy, as all get 11-inch infotainment screens and a fully digital driver display in either 8 or 11-inches. Plus, an available head up display comes with most trims, and there are even optional underbody cameras.

Unique AT4 features include a Jet Black and Timber interior motif with stitched logos on the leather front seats. Those seats are definitely comfortable, and it feels maybe a tad roomier than before, but still well shy of the sprawling space in a full-size truck. It’s even more noticeable in the rear, though there are more practical storage options back here.

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The AT4 gets a sliding rear window, along with a tailgate storage system to complement the integrated ruler, and bed side-mounted 120-volt power outlet. The Canyon already delivered one of the best rides in the midsize class, and the taller suspension seems to only improve on that; it’s not quite crossover plush, but certainly great for a body on frame truck.

Though the higher ground clearance and off-road emphasis kept it from being a track star. Indeed, healthy amounts of understeer and body roll greeted us in our handling course. It was a little hesitant off the line in speed runs, but once rolling, power poured on steadily. 0-60 in only 7.5-seconds, and through the ¼-mile in 15.6-seconds at 91 miles-per-hour.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the AT4 are 17-City, 21-Highway, and 19-Combined; we averaged an acceptable 18.2 miles-per-gallon of Regular. Pricing starts with a 2-wheel-drive Elevation at $38,395. That puts it at midlevel Chevrolet Colorado, with is consistent with the mission of the new Canyon. All other trims come with 4-wheel drive, this AT4 starting at $45,395, and the AT4X now eclipsing Denali as the highest offering at $56,995.

So, as small trucks have grown, so has the price of entry. But if that doesn’t scare you off, there is no denying the 2023 GMC Canyon is yes bigger, but also bolder and badder than before. Does that necessarily make it better? We say positively yes!


  • Engine: 2.7L Turbo-4
  • Horsepower: 310
  • 0-60 mph: 7.5 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 121 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 18.2 mpg (Regular)
  • Transmission: 8-speed auto
  • Torque: 430 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 91 mph
  • EPA: 17 City / 21 Highway / 19 Combined