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What is it?

It’s a hangover from the days when Holden sourced its SUV range from Korea, not the Americas or Thailand.

The Barina-based Trax comes in a three grades, LS, LT, and LTZ.

LS comes with a naturally aspirated 1.8-litre four cylinder petrol engine or 1.4-litre turbocharged four.

The 1.8 is paired with a 5-speed manual and the 1.4T with a 6-speed automatic.

LT and LTZ are available only with the 1.4T.

Our test vehicle, the LS 1.4T, produces 103kW and 200Nm of torque at 1850rpm.

With a 53-litre tank, Holden quotes 6.7L/100km for the combined cycle and it takes standard 91 unleaded.

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What’s it cost?

Holden is doing driveaway deals on Trax at the moment.

Asking price for the LS 1.4T with a 6-speed auto is $24,490 driveaway.

The LS is basic but comfortable inside.

The plastics on the dash and doors feature a simple, leather-look band that’s far far better looking than Acadia’s utterly disinterested look.

There is a Euro-sweep from door to door along the base of the windscreen and a double scallop for driver and passenger.

The air vents at either end, the centre stack’s vertical supports, and steering wheel arms are all coated in faux alloy.

The touchscreen is located between the centre vents and housed in piano black. 

Seats are cloth covered and comfortable, but lack wrap around support for the lower body. Naturally they’re manually adjusted and not heated.

Audio comes from AM/FM, with AUX and USB inputs.

Bluetooth streaming is also provided, with DAB digital radio not available in the LS.

However you can pair your smartphone with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The centre console has no storage locker, but does come with a tray and cup holders.

The instrument cluster is a direct lift from Barina. There is an LCD screen to the right side, speedo in the middle, and fuel/rev counter to the left.

Info for the LCD screen is accessed via the generic GM twist tab on the indicator stalk.

It’s an average looking, but useable, functional design throughout.

Front and rear legroom is adequate considering the pert body. It’s just 4264mm long and sits on a 2555mm wheelbase.

But of note is that rear seat legroom is compromised if taller people occupy the front pews.

Cargo space is also pretty good, with the Trax having 387 litres of space which turned out to be enough for a family of four’s weekly shop.

Safety levels are good but Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) isn’t fitted.

Rear Cross Traffic and Blind Spot Alerts are available only on the LTZ, but all models do get a rear view camera, albeit with low resolution image.

Body-wise it’s a smooth, rounded, ovoid look. In fact, the only hard and sharp edges are in the door shut lines.

There are integrated LED driving lights in the slimline headlight clusters and a front that looks to have more in common with Colorado/Trailblazer than the Acadia.

Wheels on the LS are 17-inch alloys with 215/60 series rubber.

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What’s it go like?

There’s no doubt that 200Nm isn’t a huge amount of torque.

Even though peak torque is produce at relatively low revs, it’s a sluggish to get going on a light pedal and, even though Trax isn’t a heavy car (Holden’s brochure doesn’t specify the weight), it needs a bit more pedal before its true nature emerges.

It’s a responsive little thing once it’s spinning, and matched with a well sorted 6-speed auto, brings some verve and vitality to the drive.

It’s quiet too, pleasantly so, and gets into a nice thrum over 4000rpm.

Overtaking is okay but does require some extra planning compared to the bigger turbos found in its Kia and Hyundai competitors.

Overall performance is better than okay, but it lacks any real sparkle.

Ride quality is on the harder side, yet it’s well controlled.

Suspension is a short travel setup, with bigger speed humps causing the suspension to hit the bump stops easily. It’ll even cock a rear corner at slow speeds on sharper turns.

Get it out on the flat and it’s nicely damped, showing a well composed handling package with minor bumps intruding momentarily.

Steering is nicely weighted and the rear disc brakes in this model are a big improvement over the drums in the 1.8-litre version.

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What we like?

  • Smooth good looks
  • Well packaged interior
  • It’s roomy enough for four

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What we don’t like?

  • 1.6L turbo would be a better engine option
  • Suspension is perhaps too biased to the hard side
  • Interior is okay but somewhat bland looking

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The bottom line?

It’s an okay little thing, with a price that sweetens the deal. Put it up against Hyundai’s Kona or the Suzuki Vitara, however, and it’s left behind in terms of fit, finish, features — and fun.

CHECKOUT: Stan the man designed EH Holden

CHECKOUT: A rear-engined Holden. Really!

 

Holden Trax LS, priced from $24,490 driveaway
  • 7/10
    Looks - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Performance - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Safety - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Thirst - 7/10
  • 7.5/10
    Practicality - 7.5/10
  • 7.5/10
    Comfort - 7.5/10
  • 7.5/10
    Tech - 7.5/10
  • 7/10
    Value - 7/10
7.2/10

Conole

Dave Conole hails from Perth where he co-hosted a car show on one of the city's major community radio stations. Although he's had formal training in stage, TV, and film, it's his face for radio that gave him his start in the automotive field, both reviewing and motorsport commentary. After moving to Sydney in 2004, Dave has worked for some of Australia's biggest media groups and is the anchor commentator at Sydney Motorsport Park. This has lead to anchoring major events such as the Top Gear Festival (and, no, he didn't get punched by Jeremy).