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What is it?

Trax is Holden’s offering in the competive small SUV segment.

The Barina-based five seater is a value for money proposition, but still struggles against the competition with a five per cent share of a segment led by the Mitsubishi ASX.

Trax went on sale here in 2013, was facelifted in 2017 and is sourced from South Korea.

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What’s it cost?

Prices satrt at $23,990 for the 1.8-litre LS with a 5-speed manual.

For $2500 more, you can have the same grade with an auto and prefered 1.4-litre turbocharged engine.

Then there’s the better equipped LT for $28,890 and our test vehicle, the top of the range LTZ, for $30,490.

All of them are front-wheel drive and prestige paint adds $550 to the asking price.

Standard equipment includes 16 inch alloys, cruise control, daytime LEDs, Rear Park Assist and Rear Camera across the range, while passive entry and push button start is introduced on the mid-level LT.

LT adds larger 18 inch alloys, sunroof, push button start and digital radio.

LTZ adds faux leather, heated front seats, rain sensing wipers, LED tail lights, turn repeaters on exterior mirrors, enhanced 3.5-inch TFT driver info display, Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

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What’s it go like?

The 1.4-litre turbo performs surprisingly well.

The turbocharged four cylinder petrol engine produces 103kW of power and 200Nm of torque, the nlatter at 1850 revs, and is hooked up to a 6-speed auto.

There’s no paddle shifters, but a thumb-operated rocker switch at the top of the transmission lever that is designed to let the driver change gears manually.

In a word, it’s AWFUL.

One of the pluses of buying a Holden is that you can be sure it has been tuned for our sometimes challenging roads, with a characteristic thump when it hits a big one.

I don’t know what the story is here, but the ride quality in the Trax leaves a lot to be desired — it’s harsh and sometimes jarring when it doesn’t need to be.

Is this a sign of things to come, with the demise of local manufacturing? Come on, Holden!

Sitting a reasonable distance from the ground, the five-seater is easy to get in and out of.

It’s also comfortable enough with good rear legroom, but alas no air vents for back seat passengers.

The cabin layout is functional, with an easy to read dash that includes a digital speedometer.

There’s leather. Well, faux leather and air conditioning, but you can’t set the temperature — and a sunroof.

The LTZ even comes with heated seats, but sadly not satellite navigation.

For that you need tohook your mobile phone up to the 7.0-inch touchscreen which offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

Trax receives a five-star safety rating, but misses out on Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) which is expected to become mandatory in the not too distant future.

With a largish 53-litre tank, fuel consumption is a claimed 6.7L/100km and it takes standard 91 unleaded.

We were getting 7.2L/100km after almost 600km, with 168km to go according to the trip computer.

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What we like?

  • Good looks
  • Easy entry and exit
  • Mostly well sorted interior
  • Surprisingly good performance
  • Digital speedo

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What we don’t like?

  • Too much hard plastic inside
  • No rear air vents
  • Top of the line but no satnav
  • Uncharacteristic (for Holden) harsh ride
  • Handbrake located on furthest side from driver
  • Aircon not temperature controlled
  • Uses too much fuel for its size
  • Thumb switch for manual gear changes

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The bottom line?

Not that thrilling, especially the harsh ride quality. But she who must be obeyed likes it and SHE is the target audience for this one. It comes with a five-year warranty with lifetime, fixed priced servicing.

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Holden Trax LTZ, priced from $30,490
  • 7.5/10
    Looks - 7.5/10
  • 7.5/10
    Performance - 7.5/10
  • 7.3/10
    Safety - 7.3/10
  • 7/10
    Thirst - 7/10
  • 8/10
    Practicality - 8/10
  • 7/10
    Comfort - 7/10
  • 7.5/10
    Tech - 7.5/10
  • 7.5/10
    Value - 7.5/10
7.4/10

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.