Other manufacturers soon followed suit and small SUVs have become the new battle ground for enticing the younger, edgier crowd. With the big players like the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V and Toyota CH-R, bringing their A game, Holden is hopeful that refreshing the Trax will keep it in the game.
We put the range-topping LTZ to the test.
A reworked double grille, slimmer headlights, a new bumper and LED daytime running lights just about sum up the changes made to the exterior of the Trax. It is a basic solid look that may not get the heart racing but certainly won’t embarrass in the carpark shuffle either.
The cabin layout is much better for the updates Holden has made here. It is a touch more traditional but feels more cohesive than the previous iteration thanks to new instrumentation and infotainment system and fake leather seats that are a better proposition than you would first assume.
Yes, there are still hard creaky plastics on top of the dash and along the doors and the gear stick housing irks, but all in all the improvement is easily noticed.
A shorter wheelbase than most competitors translates into less cabin room overall, more especially for those in the rear. But this is a small SUV after all, and despite the generous headroom, any thoughts of carrying three adults across the back is rather unrealistic. The kiddies won’t complain though, except perhaps about the lack of air vents in the back.
Storage is reasonable, with cupholders for all occupants and a few hidey holes to carry necessities. There is no centre console box but there is storage under the passenger seat which is handy.
At 365-litres, the boot is one of the smaller examples in this class, but does grow to a more useful 785 litres with the back seats dropped. The latter fold flat, by the way, and the nifty pulling and flipping motion make it easy enough to do. The seatbelt clips are easily hidden when you flip the seats back into position so make sure there is someone close by to hold them in place.
Our top-of-the-range LTZ was suitably well equipped given that you do have to part with more than $30,000. In addition to the standard niceties you also get keyless entry with push-button start, 18-inch alloys, digital radio, Bluetooth and voice activation connectivity, reverse camera with rear parking sensors, heated front seats and very useful safety inclusions.
Holden’s updated MyLink infotainment system with a 7.0-inch colour screen has smartphone mirroring for both Apple and Android devices, which means that the conveniences of your phone are up on screen for you to enjoy.
The touchscreen is easy to navigate and the sound and graphics seem better than the previous model too.
It is super easy to pair your device and the Siri-based voice control is pretty reliable.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol that powered our Trax LTZ can be found across the Trax range. It offers up a handy 103kW of power and 200Nm of torque and is paired with a competent six-speed automatic that delivers power to the front wheels.
The entry-level LS comes with a 1.8-litre non-turbo four-cylinder and five-speed manual gearbox.
The Trax has a five-star ANCAP rating with a number of active and passive safety features including six airbags, hill-start assist, reverse camera with rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert.
No autonomous emergency braking though which is a shame.
With steering and suspension tuned for Australian conditions, you would expect the Trax to deliver a decent enough drive and to its credit it doesn’t stray too far from script.
The lusty 1.4-litre does well to move the Trax’s 1390kg weight with the strain not showing until it is really pushed to pick up speed quickly. The ride itself is a bit on the firmish side which means you don’t dip and wallow so you will hear no complaints here. You do tend to feel the odd indiscretion but it is far from a hardship.
There is a considerable amount of road and tyre noise though, which can be distracting.
Despite its higher stance, the Trax can remain fairly flat through corners and the steering offers a fair bit of communication, although it is most talkative from centre.
Around town the Trax is fleet of foot, able to manoeuvre easily around the chaos with its smaller size proving useful around tight carparks.
Our test LTZ proved a tad thirstier than we had anticipated with our 9.9L/100km a fair bit off the official 6.7L/100km. It needs premium fuel too which make the sting all the sharper.
Holden offers its regular three years or 100,000km warranty with the Trax with roadside assist for the first year. Service intervals are 12 months or 15,000km with lifetime capped-price servicing.
Holden’s tweaks and refinements have certainly added a certain gloss to the Trax making it a more enticing option. But the small SUV segment has quickly become tough ground on which to peddle wares and keeping pace make take a bit more innovation and pizazz. While it may be the range-topper, given its price, I am not convinced the LTZ is actually the sweet-spot here. The LS auto which has many of the same features may be the better bet.
AT A GLANCE
Holden Trax LTZ pricing and specifications:
Price: from $30,490 (plus on-road costs)
Engine: 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol
Output: 103kW at 4900rpm and 200Nm at 1850rpm
Transmission: Six-speed auto, FWD
Fuel: 6.7L/100km (ADR Combined)
Warranty: Three years 100,000 kilometres
Safety Rating: Five Star ANCAP
What we liked:
New safety inclusions
What we didn’t:
Cheap plastics in some parts of cabin
LTZ a bit pricey