Holden will finally join the booming compact SUV market with the budget-priced Barina-based Trax. It is due to arrive in showrooms in September and will fill the void between Holden’s small-car range and its Captiva SUV.
Priced from $23,490 plus on-road costs (auto adds $2200 to $25,690) the Holden Trax undercuts most of the competition, including the Nissan Dualis and Subaru XV -- but it is dearer than the similarly-sized Suzuki SX4. Standard fare includes six airbags, a five-star safety rating and a rear-view camera across all models.
The Trax is designed for inner-city types but could find its way as a favourite among sales reps who spend their working life on the road. The Trax is the only car in its class to come standard with a 240V power socket to charge lap-top computers while on the move.
It also has a seven-inch touchscreen embedded with Pandora, Tune-In Radio and Stitcher mobile audio apps which work seamlessly when tethered to a smartphone via a USB port in the glovebox. Fuel economy from the 1.8-litre petrol engine is par for the class (7.0L/100km for the five-speed manual and 7.6L/100km for the six-speed auto).
Holden has removed the spare wheel and tyre to help limbo to these ratings which are done in laboratory conditions and are sensitive to such weight reductions. However, a full-size spare is a no-cost option at the time of purchase so be sure to ask the dealer before taking delivery.
The flagship LTZ model is available with automatic transmission only and is priced from $27,990 plus on-road costs.
The $2300 price premium buys premium upholstery with heated front seats, 18-inch alloy wheels (instead of 16-inch alloys on the base LT model), front fog lights and a storage tray under the front seat. Metallic paint -- six of the eight available colours on both models -- is a $550 option.
Holden Executive Director, Sales and Marketing, Philip Brook said sales of small SUVs grew 20 per cent last year. “We believe (Trax) will pose an immediate challenge to established models when it arrives in Holden dealerships in September,” said Brook. “None of the best-selling vehicles in this segment currently offer the same features for the price.”
Holden Trax LS manual $23,490
Holden Trax LS automatic $25,690
Holden Trax LTZ (auto only) $27,990
Country of origin: South Korea
Engine: 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol
Power: 103kW and 175Nm
Economy: 7.0L/100km (manual), 7.6L/100km (auto)
Transmission: Five-speed manual or six-speed auto
Luggage capacity: 357/785/1370L (seats up, seats flat, seats flat to roof)
Safety: Six airbags, five-star ANCAP rating, rear-view camera, stability control, ISOFIX child restraint anchor points, four height-adjustable headrests.
Service intervals: 9 months/15,000km
Spare tyre: None. Full-size spare is a no-cost option but you must ask for it at time of purchase.
This journalist is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling