I’m far from a Holden hater, in fact I have a level of sympathy for the brand that has gone from rooster to feather duster rather quickly. Without debating why, I take the standpoint that what has occurred is simply a matter of “it is what it is”. Which kind of sums up the Holden Trax LTZ, launched in 2013, updated in 2017. It can’t match more modern rivals, so after a week I uttered the same words.
What is it?
It’s a high riding hatchback that’s easy on the eye, has a nice little turbo engine and just enough novelties to win people over. The Trax is one of those cars that I’d personally never recommend, but why do we see so many around?
Sales figures have dropped off in recent years, but that’s the case for Holden full stop. I was just remarking to a friend the other day that every time someone asks me what car they should buy; they do the opposite. Now hopefully that’s because I’m not a “proper” motoring journalist as someone labeled me the other day (lucky we have a proper tech journalist!). Even though I’ve driven thousands of cars since 2006, the Trax is one of those “opposite” cars one of my mates might go for.
Behind the wheel
Instead of just saying the range topping Trax LTZ is built to a price, I’d prefer to point out it’s just suffering from being rather aged. But there are many upsides. Firstly, it’s not like I hated driving it, in fact the Trax is an enjoyable drive.
There’s a lot of forward glass, so vision is excellent also making for an airy, comfortable and big enough cabin. Plus, the turbocharged petrol engine combined with the short end to end dimensions make for a rather nimble, easily manoeuvrable car.
For the older folk, this is a big plus in shopping centre carparks combined with its elevated ease of access. For someone like me I appreciated the fact it’s not a sloppy drive, being well balanced, grippy and keen.
I love the sunroof, leathery seats and extra attention paid to the dash via orange stitching and more of the soft stuff. Plus, it also has a proper gearbox, not some annoying CVT.
Few cars have an actual power socket in the rear, handy for charging a laptop. One day I’m going to plug a kettle in, just to see what happens. Actually, no Chris, that’s a really bad idea.
The petrol 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine needs 95RON fuel and pumps out 103kW at 4,900rpm and 200Nm at 1850rpm. It’s matched to a good six-speed auto, that has an Active Select manual mode that required some annoying thumb work on the plus and minus buttons on the shifter, that’s very Chevrolet and you’ll never use it.
Power is sent to the front wheels.
$28,990 drive-away, simple as that. When it comes to serving, you’re looking at 12 months or 12,000km. The service pricing plays out like this, $269, $319 for the 2nd and 3rd run to the dealer, the 4th hits $429 then $369 for the 5th. Holden offer a five/year unlimited kilometre warranty; it should be seven.
It’s a bit hit and miss in this department. Yes, it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, even DAB radio. There’s blind spot monitoring and a reversing camera with rear cross traffic alert. But AEB, adaptive cruise control and other goodies such as traffic sign recognition or lane keep assist don’t exist. I drove a single cab Toyota HiLux Workmate ute recently that has these features.
But I’m convinced people still don’t care about such things.
Why would you buy one?
Because I told you to buy a Mazda CX-3.
Looking back having driven the Trax since it launched, it’s been a solid car. In fact, it was a trailblazer in the class when it launched. It looks pretty good in red, on those 18-inch alloys. I see the appeal. But it’s a 7.5 out of 10 from me.