2017 Holden Trax LT a much improved, more mature small SUV, but it’s a little pricey
Holden offers customers a smorgasbord of products from General Motors’ product catalogue. Some are from Europe and others are from Korea. And the Korean sourced models haven’t had the best reputation for quality.
The Holden Trax is one of those Korean-made models and, while the previous version was blessed with great visibility, distinctive looks and punchy performance, a low-rent interior, a noisy cabin and it just felt underdone. The 2017 Holden Trax range turned the majority of these perceptions on their head. Really.
The 2017 Holden Trax range starts at $23,990 for the Trax LS manual, which is powered by a naturally aspirated 1.8 litre four-cylinder engine. All models above the manual LS are powered by 1.4 litre turbo engine that is mated to a six-speed automatic, a key change for the revised for the 2017 Holden Trax line-up. The 2017 Holden Trax range tops out with the Holden Trax LTZ, which is priced $30,490 plus on road costs.
We tested the middle of the range Holden Trax LT, which is priced from $28,890 plus hateful taxes. That $28,890 gets you a host of airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction control, cloth seats with fake leather bolstering, Holden’s touchscreen MyLink system with digital radio, Android Auto and Apple Car Play, electrically operated and heated mirrors, push button start, keyless entry a reversing camera and LED taillights. An electric sunroof and 18inch alloy wheels are the automotive cherries on top.
These many things make the Trax LT reasonably well equipped, but we think the Trax needs to be a little cheaper to benefit from a stronger advantage in the marketplace. More on this later.
The biggest changes to the 2017 Holden Trax are the new styling inside and out. Whilst there wasn’t anything really wrong with the old model’s styling, there 2017 version has adopted and more mature and sophisticated look. We like it.
That sophistication continues inside, with the majority of the cheap and nasty plastics and crappy surfaces replaced with new soft touch (and predominately black) surfaces. The new dash design is easier on the eye too. It’s just a lot more cohesive and it shows that General Motors have thrown some resources at quality. A big tick there.
Interior quietness seems to have improved, too.
Sadly, the motorcycle-inspired digital speedo has gone. Yes, it was a little tacky, but it was incredibly easy to read at a glance. Now the instrument cluster consists of two analogue gauges, which are seemingly difficult to read. Odd.
Head, leg and shoulder room is unchanged and are as reasonably generous as ever. There’s still no centre console, which is silly as the driver’s seat has an armrest. Holden would’ve been smarter to mount the armrest between the two front seats and have some sort of storage compartment underneath. The glovebox isn’t particularly big either, so it might become tricky hiding those knick knacks from prying eyes.
Trax’s 1.4 litre turbo engine produces 103kW @ 4900rpm and 200Nm @ 1850rpm. Not huge figures on paper, but they little engine pushes the Trax along energetically enough. Claimed fuel consumption is 6.7 litres per 100 kilometres, we averaged around 8, with the trimp computer showing as high as 8.3 litres per 100 kilometres at times.
It’s also worth noting that the engine only has an appetite for the premium stuff, another factor to consider before signing on the dotted line.
The six-speed automatic is satisfactory in its operation.
Handling is fine for a city-focused car, with the steering light enough for negotiating congested streets and tight car parks. The ride can be a little choppy over tarmac imperfections, though.
Now, back to what we were saying about value, the 2017 Holden Trax range is greatly improved over previous models, and the LT version certainly seems like the pick of the range, but this segment is a busy one and the Trax is priced too closely to the likes of the very excellent Mazda CX-3, which has won critical acclaim for being a high quality offering, and realistically it’s probably the best in class.
Some serious improvements have been made with the 2017 Holden Trax range, and based on equipment levels, the mid-spec LT seems to the Trax of choice. But the whole range needs to be cheaper.