TO most motorists the SUV market sector is a comparatively new creation but in fact the first SUV sports utility vehicle was launched 78 years ago in 1935 on the streets of America by Chevrolet writes Bryan Longworth.
For Chevrolet say they invented the SUV with the introduction of their Carryall Suburban which was a real trailblazer and now the company has just launched its first entry into the UK’s small SUV segment with the Trax which is made at the company’s factory in South Korea.
Trax is closely related to the Vauxhall Mokka as both companies are now part of the General Motors empire but I reckon the Chevy front with its bowtie trademark and two part grille creates more impact than the Mokka giving it added street appeal linked to its shapely and well proportioned body.
I liked the rugged muscular styling of Trax which make it look like a real tough performer and the inclusion of Hill Start assist and Hill Descent Control help to make this an accomplished all weather car.
Like many such vehicles Trax is available with two or four wheel drive and there are two petrol engines and an oil burner to choose from with prices starting at £15,495 on the road and rising to £20,495.
On test was the Trax 1.4-litre turbo petrol four wheel drive model with manual transmission in LT trim priced at £19,795 with a combined fuel consumption of 44.1mpg which is very well equipped with kit like the innovative MyLink Connected Radio with seven inch colour touch screen display, 18 inch alloys and rear parking camera.
The four wheel drive system automatically adapts to the prevalent road conditions and operates in two wheel drive mode until road conditions get slippery when 4x4 starts to engage.
Trax has a roomy and well furnished interior with a very commanding driving position and I was impressed with the quality of the ride and handling and the slick gearshifts.
What I really appreciated was the instrument panel bang in front of the driver with its large easy to see digital speedometer which was much appreciated after two recent test cars with very difficult to see speedos that are such an important piece of kit.
At the rear is a very large load area with plenty more space underneath in the spare wheel well but if I was buying a Trax I would also get a spare wheel because I much prefer them to puncture kits after having had a bad experience with a puncture kit while driving abroad.
It was difficult finding anything to grumble about and the only thing I found a bit irritating was the drivers sun visor which when down covered part of the rear view interior mirror.
Overall I considered Trax to be an accomplished small SUV as well it should be considering that Chevrolet has 78 years experience of producing this type of vehicle.
My Verdict: A compact and capable Chevy SUV.
Model: Chevrolet Trax LT 4x4.
Engine: 1.4-litre petrol.
Output: 140bhp @ 4900-6000rpm.
Top speed: 121mph.
Accelerartion: 0 to 60mph 9.5 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 44.1mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 149g/km.