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Chevrolet adds Trax small SUV to growing small-vehicle lineup in US

Chevrolet Trax. Click to enlarge.

Chevrolet will add the Trax, a new small SUV, to its US portfolio. Chevrolet Trax was launched in late 2012 in Mexico and Canada as a 2013 model; about 90,000 have been sold in more than 60 global markets. In addition to the United States, the 2015 Trax will also go on sale in China, adding the small SUV to Chevy’s two largest markets. Trax is named after a 2007 concept vehicle.

Trax is Chevrolet’s seventh small-vehicle launch in less than four years. During that time, the brand’s share of the small-, compact- and mini-car segments has more than tripled—up 221%. GM expects the emerging small SUV market to grow more than 80% by 2016, said Alan Batey, General Motors senior vice president, Global Chevrolet.

Trax is powered by an Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engine coupled with a Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic transmission with TAPShift control. The engine is expected to be rated at an SAE-certified 138 horsepower (102 kW) and 148 lb-ft of torque (200 N·m) between 1,850 and 4,900 rpm.

The wide rpm range for the maximum torque—a specific trait of turbocharged engines—helps it deliver a more confident driving experience, with a strong feeling of power across the rpm band. The turbocharger’s on-demand performance also contributes to efficiency because it enables greater power when needed with the lower fuel consumption of a small-displacement engine when it’s not.

The turbocharger is integrated within the exhaust manifold, for reduced weight and greater packaging flexibility. A solid cast crankshaft and forged connecting rods deliver additional durability to support the engine’s pressurized power and torque.

The Hydra-Matic 6T40 has a unique design, with the planetary gearsets positioned on the same axis as the engine crankshaft centerline, making the entire powertrain unit shorter fore-to-aft. This design enables a shorter overall vehicle length, increased interior space, enhanced safety crush zones and lower weight.

A “steep” first gear and a “tall” overdrive top gear to achieve a wide ratio spread of 6.14:1. This allows Trax to achieve robust acceleration, as well as fuel efficiency and lower engine noise at highway cruising speeds.

Trax is built on a global platform and engineered with precise suspension tuning to deliver one of the segment’s quietest and most refined driving experiences, according to Chevrolet. Available all-wheel drive shifts power to the rear wheels when required for better traction and handling.

A MacPherson strut front suspension is used with coil springs, a large stabilizer bar and side-load-compensated front strut modules. The rear suspension incorporates a compound crank (torsion beam) design, with a double-wall, tubular V-shape beam profile with gas-charged twin-tube shocks. It combines all the advantages of a conventional torsion beam axle, including minimal space requirements, with low weight and consistent camber control. Noise-damping urethane spring isolators improve ride isolation and dampen noise.

Trax also features a column-mounted, variable-effort electric power steering system that saves fuel compared to a conventional engine-driven power steering pump.

Trax incorporates technologies that help avoid crashes and protect occupants in case one occurs. Crash-avoidance technologies include:

  • Standard rearview camera;
  • Standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control, incorporating traction control and rollover mitigation features;
  • ABS and electronic brake force distribution; and
  • Cornering brake control and brake assist.

The body structure forms a protective cage around the passenger compartment, with 66% of the structure composed of high-strength steels, including ultra-high-strength steel. That structural protection is complemented with 10 standard air bags.

When it arrives in dealer showrooms early next year, Trax will accommodate customers’ increasingly connected lifestyles with available OnStar 4G LTE and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, as well as MyLink technology featuring the segment’s only seven-inch color touch screen. Trax also will be the first in its class to offer Siri Eyes Free.


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