Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

SUV Smarts Go All Compact; Vani Naidoo Finds This Cute Little SUV Is Actually Big on Practicality

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

SUV Smarts Go All Compact; Vani Naidoo Finds This Cute Little SUV Is Actually Big on Practicality

Article excerpt

Vital statistics

Model: Holden Trax.

Details: Five-door, two-wheel-drive, sub-compact SUV.

Transmission: Six-speed auto or five-speed manual.

Engine: 1.8-litre DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder petrol, generating maximum power of 103kW @ 6300rpm and peak torque of 175Nm @ 3800rpm.

Consumption: 7 litres/100km (combined average, manual); 7.6L/100km (auto).

CO2: 164g/km (manual); 179g/km (auto).

Bottom line: LS (manual), $23,490, LS (automatic), $25,690, LTZ (auto only) $27,990.

THE popularity of SUVs in Australia continues to grow with figures for new vehicles sold in January showing that the sports utility accounted for almost 30% of sales.

It is little wonder then that manufacturers are so keen to add the SUV - in every size - to their stables in the hope of capitalising on that trend.

The Trax has joined the Captiva and Colorado 7 in Holden showrooms, a sub-compact SUV designed to capture the imagination of trendy, tech-savvy young people as well as those looking to downsize.

The Trax is built on the Barina platform and is offered here as a front-wheel drive with General Motors opting to confine the AWD option to overseas markets.

Comfort

We were surprised by the spaciousness of the Trax, with a tall roof and high seating position allowing for more than adequate leg and headroom.

Of course the back seat is better suited for two than three, but the seats themselves are comfortable and fairly supportive.

Storage solutions are ample and clever, with the designers making good use of otherwise dead space.

The boot, at 356 litres with the 60:40 seats in position and 1370 litres when lowered, is capable and can deal easily with a small weekly shop.

The interior, on the whole, is run-of-the-mill with simple fittings which are easy to decipher. While the dash is well set out, there is little to rave about other than the useful digital speedometer. A few soft touch surfaces would help mellow the hard plastics.

On the road

The Trax is powered by the 1.8-litre engine first seen in the Cruze and is mated to either a five-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic transmission.

It is a unit that is perfectly adequate on the inner-city roads for which the Trax was designed and can hold its own should highway driving be more your preference.

It certainly handles well. There is some body roll to contend with and the steering offers minimal feedback but that seems to be par for the course these days.

With suspension tuned to Australian conditions, the Trax offers an easy, comfortable ride even when the roads are wanting.

The manual was the pick for us. Changes were smooth and holding it in a lower gear a tad longer seemed to maximise performance.

The automatic was sometimes a bit noisy for us, especially when the car was pushed and battled to find its range quickly. …

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