2024 Chevrolet Trax: This Could Possibly Be Your Ideal First (or Last) Car

The redesigned 2024 Chevrolet Trax has great selection of standard features – wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a large touch screen – in a sleek, sporty compact SUV

Me With The 2024 Chevrolet Trax
Me with the 2024 Chevrolet Trax. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Modern Design, Great Details at an Affordable Price

I get this question a lot: What is the best first car for a new driver? There are a lot of options, and with one caveat, the 2024 Chevrolet Trax could be it. 

For 2024, Chevrolet redesigned the Trax to be longer, sleeker and sportier. A lot sportier. Gone is the short, boxy frame and in its place, a more modern silhouette that is 11” longer, and with front and rear end details that will remind you of the Blazer. And with a comfortable 7” of ground clearance, it’s easy to get in and out of and delivers nice visibility from the driver’s seat.

With a starting price of just over $21K, and topping out at about $25K for the Activ or our 2RS test model in Crimson Metallic, you can’t beat what you get for the money. 

Related: The 2024 Chevrolet Trax Compact SUV First Drive 

The View From The Drivers Seat In The 2024 Chevy Trax

The view from the drivers seat in the 2024 Chevy Trax. Photo: Scotty Reiss

First, The Caveats

It’s only available in front wheel drive and it’s powered by a 1.2L 3-cylinder turbocharged engine that generates 137 HP. To put that in context, it’s a great engine for tooling around town by yourself, but you may find with passengers, a full load of stuff or steep mountain roads, that you need more power. 

And while the Trax is new for 2024, the engine that Chevrolet uses is not; in fact, it’s a favored GM technology for delivering the power needed for this size car and good fuel economy. Buick uses this engine in the Encore GX and the Envista. 

Buyers who really need all wheel drive — those who live in hilly places or have snowy winters — should probably consider a car with AWD, though front wheel drive is certainly capable, and always has been, in places with occasional snow in the winter, or for drivers who don’t mind making the switch to winter tires. 

But for first time drivers who ideally should mostly drive alone, empty nesters, commuters and drivers who only occasionally have a passenger, the the Chevrolet Trax is a great choice. 

Related: The 2025 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe First Look: More Tech and  Refined New Look

The Gear Selector And Center Console In The 2024 Chevy Trax

The gear selector and center console in the 2024 Chevy Trax. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Really Nice Edit of Features

Probably the most delightful thing about the Trax is that it features most everything you need without the things you don’t. The updated cabin includes a large, wide multimedia touch screen (8″ in some models, 11″ in higher trim models) that anchors the dash, and digital screen for the driver’s display. 

Climate controls sit under the multimedia screen, and the gear selector, cupholders and a phone cubby with two USB ports (one standard, one USB-C) span the center console. 

The Trax comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as a standard feature, something that even more expensive cars often don’t feature, though we’re seeing it more and more. And, our model came with a wireless phone charge pad in the phone cubby. This is a nice feature but not one that I consider a must-have; they still charge pretty slowly, so I usually opt for a wired connection if my phone’s battery is low. 

Related: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto: How to Get the Most Popular In-Car Phone Systems

Radio Controls Are On The Back Of The Steering Wheel In The Trax

Radio controls are on the back of the steering wheel in the Trax. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Steering Wheel Controls Have a Hidden Gem

On the steering wheel — a leather-wrapped racing-inspired flat bottom version in our test model — you’ll find all the standard functions except one: Radio volume and tuning control. That’s because those features are on the back of the steering wheel. I really, really love this feature. Once you get used to it, it becomes muscle memory to flip through your preset stations and turn up or down the volume. 

On the front of the steering wheel is where you’ll find cruise control, voice control and additional entertainment controls. Our RS test model also came equipped with adaptive cruise control — a really nice feature for a $25,000 car— and had a very cool feature: On the driver display there is a follow distance indicator that shows how far you are, in seconds, from the car ahead of you. The number increases as you draw closer to the car ahead, and disappears when you’re more than 3 seconds away from the car ahead. I really came to love this feature, especially for new drivers. 

The Teen Driver Feature In The 2024 Trax

The Teen Driver feature in the 2024 Trax. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Teen Driver Mode 

The multimedia system is set up for drivers who rely on their phones for navigation and communication; navigation isn’t an option, so you’ll need your phone. The system does have some good features, however, including Teen Driver mode. Parents can set up the Teen Driver system for and assign it to a key fob. This sets some controls and limitations, such as buckle-to-drive (meaning you can’t drive without the driver’s seatbelt buckled), buckle to un-mute the radio (which applies to front passengers) and parents can get a driving report card. 

The Rear Of The 2024 Chevy Trax

The rear of the 2024 Chevy Trax. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Sharp New Exterior Design 

When I first saw the redesign of the Trax, I was stopped in my … yes … tracks. It’s sharp, sporty and toned, with a more muscular, sculpted look than it had in the past. 

The designers at Chevy are truly on their game these days. The Trax follows in the footsteps of the Blazer, Trailblazer, Blazer EV and Equinox EV with sharp, elegant lines that take on a more athletic, timeless look. It’s nice to see the Trax fit into the family of SUVs, and yet, stand out on its own. 

What distinguishes the look of the Trax? It’s longer and sleeker than its predecessor; it has a nicely sculpted front end with sleek daytime tuning lights just under the hood and headlights tucked below them. The front grille has a wide sporty look. The rear end slopes and is framed by c-shaped tail lights that wrap just a bit around the corners of the rear end. It’s simple, classic and not overdone.

The 2024 Chevrolet Trax Interior

The 2024 Chevrolet Trax interior. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Sporty Look and Feel Inside, Too

Our RS test model was outfitted with leatherette, which is a huge bonus. Leatherette looks, feels and performs like leather but is far less expensive and lighter weight for better fuel economy. Ours was black with red RS stripes on the seats, soft-touch plastics and red accent stitching throughout. 

The dashboard is spanned by a red RS bar that connects the red accented turbine-style air vents at each end, one to the left of the driver and one to the right of the front passenger. 

The rear seat was comfortable with nice legroom, about 38.7” according to Chevrolet, two USB ports and a small cubby for storage. There are no air vents, center arm rest or cup holders (which often fold out of the rear setback), which should be a consideration for anyone toting kids or car seats. 

I did install my car seats to see how they would fit and was surprised to find that installing my Britax Click-Tight rear-facing worked just fine and didn’t impede front seat passenger space very much. There are two sets of LATCH anchors and 3 tethers, however, with the lack of rear air vents, I would only choose to have kids in car seats on occasion rather than every day. 

Our Child Car Seats In The 2024 Chevy Trax

Our child car seats in the 2024 Chevy Trax. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Cross-Shopping the Chevy Trax: Which Cars Compare?

For all you get, the price of the Chevrolet Trax is hard to beat. But, there are certainly competitors. They include the Toyota Corolla Cross, Subaru Crosstrek, Kia Seltos, Hyundai Venue, Nissan Kicks, Buick Envista and Ford Escape. All offer a slightly different mix of features, so it’s important to asses what you need. But within this group the Trax stands out for its sporty good looks and nice selection of standard features. 

The Front The Trax Shows The Rs Badge On The Grille

The front the Trax shows the RS badge on the grille. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What is the Trax Like to Drive?

With a 3-cylinder 137 HP engine, I expected it would have a sluggish response in traffic. But, while this is no powerhouse, the Trax is confident taking off from a traffic light and comfortable on the highway. I particularly liked how easy it is to manage on the road; it’s agile, with a size and suspension that easily allows tight u-turns. It’s also easy to park, making it a darling in crowded parking lots.

I found it a bit more challenged merging onto the highway and needed to be more cautious than ambitious when picking my merge spot. I can imagine that if loading it down with passengers in every esat or kids in rear car seats, I would feel the weight, which is why this car feels to me more like an option for a solo driver.

For a teen driver, however, I really like the level of power. It’s peppy enough to not feel lame, but not so powerful that your teen will feel *inspired* to gun it at a green light or anxious about an unbridled  amount of power under foot.

There Is Plenty Of Cargo Space And A Spare Tire Below The Cargo Floor

There is 25.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and a spare tire under the cargo floor. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What the Chevrolet Trax Costs

  • Trax LS, with a 1.2L turbo engine generating 137 HP, estimated 30 MPG combined, 6 speed automatic transmission, capless fuel filler, cloth seats, Teen Driver system, 2 USB ports, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, WiFi hot spot, follow distance indicator, 8” multimedia touch screen, 3.5” analog driver display screen, 25.6 cubic feet of cargo area behind the rear seats, 3 years of OnStar remote access and safety features including lane keep assist, rear seat reminder, collision alert front pedestrian braking, starts at $21,495 
  • Trax 1RS, which adds painted wheels, black exterior details, heated front seats remote start and a flat-bottom steering wheel, starts at $23,195
  • Trax LT adds an 8” digital driver display, 11” multimedia touchscreen, keyless start, LED daytime running lights, rear seat USB ports and roof rails starts at $23,395
  • Trax 2RS adds 19” aluminum wheels, smart key, heated steering wheel and RS design details, starts at $24,995
  • Trax ACTIV adds black accents and gold interior ACTIV accents and starts at $24,995
  • Our 2RS test model, which included a sunroof ($895) and a suite of enhanced driver assist features including rear cross traffic alert, lane change alert and adaptive cruise control ($650) was priced at $26,540, including $1,095 destination charge. 
Me With The 2024 Chevrolet Trax

Me with the 2024 Chevrolet Trax. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Great First Car — And a Great Option Any Time

The Chevrolet Trax is very impressive. The price is affordable and for that, Chevy did a nice job in the trade-off of a smaller engine for more features and details. The nicely edited selection of features and design aesthetics will leave you feeling more treated than compromised for what you paid in the comfortable, functional and sharp looking Trax. 

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Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss