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Holden Trax LTZ Turbo 2014 review

EXPERT RATING
5
Peter Barnwell road tests and reviews the Holden Trax LTZ turbo with specs, fuel consumption and verdict

With a wave of new small SUV-style vehicles here already and more arriving soon, Holden has moved to bolster its offering in the popular segment.

The Trax was previously only available with a 1.8-litre naturally-aspirated petrol four-cylinder engine, but no turbo of any description - diesel or petrol. It needed something that offered a bit more get-go for buyers wanting a sportier feel from behind the wheel.

That situation has been fixed in the new Trax LTZ 1.4 - with a turbo petrol engine.

Out of Austria, this compact powerplant doesn't offer any additional power over the 1.8 but a lot more torque. The difference is 175Nm for the 1.8 and 200Nm for the 1.4 - with the latter delivering all of its grunt from 1850rpm through to 4900rpm.

That's much more accessible than the 1.8 and makes the Trax a sharper tool, as well as more economical in real world driving.

It's the direct injection unit we have seen before in the Cruze and Barina RS.

Value

In the Trax, this handy engine is only available in the higher-spec LTZ grade with auto transmission priced at $29,990.

For the ask you get plenty of kit like rain sensing wipers, auto headlights, reverse camera and park sensors, heated front seats, cruise control, the excellent Holden MyLink entertainment system complete with inbuilt apps, multi-function wheel, descent control, hill start assist and a sunroof.

Design

It's all hard plastic inside - grey, dull and cheap, but does it really matter? Maybe...

In terms of functionality there are no issues, it's just that we prefer not to be surrounded by Tupperware in a car.

Outside it's pretty good, with Holden family styling and plenty of bling to brighten things up. We are ambivalent about the actual look of the car; it's OK.
 
As well as being a good drive, the Trax is handy for everyday applications and can take five passengers and their luggage at a pinch. There are plenty of storage compartments and operating the vehicle is easy.

Driving

The drive experience is pretty good for a small, front-wheel drive SUV which is essentially a tiddler-size wagon if you want to get right down to it.

Holden fettled the chassis for local conditions and produced a good set-up offering a useful compromise between road holding and comfort.

As a result the Trax LTZ, enhanced by the plucky engine, is a lot of fun to drive.

Acceleration off the line is strong and the car has plenty of pull right through the engine operating range. It surprised us.

All this is emphasised by the six-speed auto that offers a sequential sports shift, but really doesn't need it.

Front wheel spin is evident at times particularly on wet roads at slow speed accelerating out of 90 degree intersections, but the traction control nips it in the bud.

Though no sports car, Trax has quite sporty dynamics for what it is and it won't disappoint in this regard.

But the rear brakes are drums (remember them) and a spare wheel is optional. Instead, you get a can of puncture goo from the factory.

Verdict

Not bad, actually. Much better with the turbo engine and this one has plenty of kit - and low cost ownership.

Pricing guides

$12,990
Based on 143 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$7,900
Highest Price
$17,888

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
LS 1.8L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $9,990 – 17,888 2014 Holden Trax 2014 LS Pricing and Specs
LTZ 1.8L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $9,998 – 16,998 2014 Holden Trax 2014 LTZ Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
5
Pricing Guide

$9,990

Lowest price, based on 51 car listings in the last 6 months

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