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Used Holden Trax review: 2013-2020

David Morley
Reviewed & driven by

5 May 2020

While Holden had the larger end of the SUV market covered by the start of this decade, it didn't have a fair dinkum contender at the bite-sized end.

Enter the Trax, a high-riding wagon with the usual SUV touches including the wheelarch extensions and big alloy wheels.

The catch was that the Trax you really wanted was the more expensive version with the superior engine.

Nothing has changed there.

What do we love about the Holden Trax?

One of the highlights of the Trax is the optional 1.4-litre turbocharged engine which is willing and punchy. Handling is better than some of the competition and the front seats offer plenty of support.

Beyond that, it's the usual SUV characteristics that attract people to these vehicles: A high seating position and easy access and, in the case of this size of SUV, easy parking.

What do we dislike?

The interior is nothing special and looks a bit cheap in places. The steering lacks feel and precision and the 1.8-litre entry-level engine is lacklustre.

How much does a Holden Trax cost?

Prices for a used Trax begin at about $7000 for a base-model from the first year of sales.

While the Trax was one of the models to survive longest before the axe fell at Holden, it's still actually a current model on the price list, so the manufacturer's RRP is still a valid guide.

Which means it's still possible to pay $30,000 for a demonstrator with all the bells and whistles.

The best version, the Series 2, can range from about $15,000, but to get the better engine, budget on nearer to $20,000 for a 2017 LT or LTZ.

All Trax pricing and specs can be found here.

Does the Trax have any common problems, issues or faults?

Holden's South-Korean-sourced product has not been without the odd quality concern, and the Trax is no different, though by no means the worst offender.

The Trax has been recalled by Holden a couple of times, the first time for a potential fault with the seat-belt pretensioning system which had and obvious safety implication.

The good news is that this particular recall involved only eight cars, and a Holden dealer will be able to identify an affected one if you have any doubts about a particular example.

The second recall fell under the bizarre heading: Some Traxes had a flaw in the ignition barrel that could see the car mysteriously crank its own starter motor even when nobody was in the car.

If the car was a manual, was in gear and the park-brake was not properly applied, the starter motor had enough power to actually make the car move, potentially until it hit something immovable.

Occurrences are few and far between, but they have been recorded, so it would be wise to check whether a potential purchase was one of the affected Traxes and whether it's been fixed with a replacement ignition barrel.

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The Trax was also recalled to check the wiring harness for the electric power-steering which could, in some cases, become disconnected.

If that happened, the car could still be steered but would require much more effort from the driver.

Like many modern cars, automatic transmission problems are not unknown for creating problems for Trax owners.

Any sign of flaring between gears, failure to select gears or a loss of drive suggest serious transmission problems.

The Trax has also annoyed its owners with paint on the bonnet and roof flaking or peeling off very early in the car's life.

So check carefully the condition of the paint on all horizontal surfaces.

The Trax was also caught up in the Takata air-bag saga, so make sure any potential buy has been checked and had its dodgy air-bags replaced.

If not, don't buy it. In fact, don't even test-drive it.

For other common problems relating to the Trax, check our guide here.

What colours is the Trax available in?

As a trendy little car, the Trax's colour palette was pretty diverse and upbeat.

You'll find the usual silvers, black, white, blue and red, as well as brighter colours like orange and a metallic shade of gold.

How does the Trax interior look & feel?

There's plenty of dark plastic in evidence and even though there are some brighter highlights, they manage to look cheap rather than high-end.

While the seats initially feel soft (because they are) you might find they lack a bit of support on longer journeys.

The Trax is one of those cars that doesn't have a CD player as standard.

They're available as an aftermarket add-on, but the younger demographic the Trax was aiming for is far more into streaming music from their phones anyway.

The option you really want, because it brightens up the whole interior, is the sunroof which was actually standard on all Series 2 LT and LTZ models.

Those cars also got digital radio.

What are the key stats & specs of Holden Trax engine?

Two engines were offered in the Trax, both petrol-powered and both four-cylinders.

Interestingly, both engines made the same power, but one had much more modern specifications than the other.

The entry-level engine was a 1.8-litre that made 103kW of power, while from August 2014, the Trax was also available with a 1.4-litre engine with a turbo.

While the turbo was also good for 103kW, it made more torque and was a smoother, more sophisticated engine that offered much more performance despite its smaller size.

The entry-level engine could be teamed with a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, while the turbo engine was automatic only.

How much storage space does the Trax have?

The exterior size of the Trax limited luggage space, especially if the rear seat was being used for passengers.

With the rear seat in place, boot space was just 385 litres, but if the rear seat was folded flat, that more than doubled.

The rear seat was also split 60:40.

There were two cup-holders in the centre-console and in the more expensive LTZ variant, a storage tray under the front passenger's seat.

What are the dimensions of the Trax?

As a city-oriented SUV, the Trax was super compact.

It's just 4248mm ling and 1766mm wide, making it easy to park.

It gets away with those dimensions by being fairly tall, so the occupants sit quite upright.

That compact size also means the Trax was a relative lightweight at under 1400kg.

What is the Holden Trax fuel consumption?

The more efficient of the two engines, the turbocharged 1.4-litre has an official combined fuel mileage figure of 6.9 litres per 100km.

The non-turbo 1.8 should use about half a litre more over the same distance.

The catch, though, is that the 1.4 needs more expensive 95-octane ULP, while the 1.8 is happy on the standard stuff.

Are there any must have accessories?

If you're shopping for a later-model Trax, the Series 2 LT or LTZ is a good choice as it gets you otherwise expensive options such as a sunroof and digital radio.

A lot of dealers threw in floor mats at the time of sale, and many owners specified tinted windows.

A reverse camera was standard regardless of what year or specification you bought.

The Series 2 range-topping LTZ also benefited from rear-cross traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring.

What is the Holden Trax towing capacity?

The Trax can officially tow a braked trailer of up to 1200kg in weight.

But more practically, the little Holden is not a natural choice for a towbar due to its construction and driveline limitations.

In fact, reports have surfaced that General Motors in the US (where the Trax is sold with a Chevrolet badge) has stopped listing a maximum towing capacity.

Is the Trax 4wd and can you use it off-road?

Does the Holden Trax have Sat Nav?

The only way to get navigation in a Trax was to use the MyLink system and your existing device.

There was no on-board GPS-based system.

Holden added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to the bag of tricks for the 2017 model year.

What features come standard with the Trax?

The base-model got a seven-inch touch-screen, 16-inch alloy wheels, USB and iPod ports, Bluetooth connectivity, air-conditioning, cruise-control, automatic headlights, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors and a 240-volt inverter outlet in the centre console.

The LTZ added to that with 18-inch wheels and tyres, heated front seats, fog lights and a trip computer.

The facelift in 2017 to Series 2 specification added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to all models, and a sunroof, push-button start and digital radio to higher-spec versions.

What features can you upgrade?

Given the Trax has no off-road pretensions at all, forget looking for a bulbar or nudge bar to suit it.

Instead, check whether any second-hand Trax has a spare tyre, as this was optional when they were new (if you didn't order a spare, you got a repair kit).

Which version of the Trax is the best?

Of all the Trax models, the one to have is the upmarket LTZ version which got better equipment including heated front seats.

If the budget allows, go for a Series 2 version, the more expensive models in the range of which will also have the sunroof and DAB radio.

How does the Trax compare to its rivals?

The most valid comparison to make here would be to cars like the Mazda CX-3 and the Mitsubishi ASX, both of which sold strongly.

While the Holden has its strong points – mainly its turbocharged engine – cars like the more modern Mazda offer more tech and safety as well as better build quality.

Is the Holden Trax an SUV?

Most definitely. Despite its small exterior dimensions, the Trax offers the high-and-mighty driving position and extra ground clearance that defines a modern SUV.

Details like the contrasting wheel-arch trims and large alloy wheels confirm it.

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Is the Trax available as a manual?

Yes, there as a manual Trax, but there's one big catch; the five-speed manual was only offered with the rather ordinary 1.8-litre, non-turbocharged engine.

The same engine could also be had with an automatic gearbox, while all turbocharged Traxes were automatic.

Where can you download the Holden Trax owner's manual?

Does the Trax come in diesel?

No, even though there were two engines offered, petrol was the only fuel for a Trax.

What is the fuel capacity of the Holden Trax?

Fuel tank size for all Trax models was 53 litres.

While that's not a huge fuel tank capacity, given the expected fuel consumption, the theoretical range was still pretty good.

How does the Trax feel to drive?

Never a car for the enthusiast driver, the Trax does, however, fare better than some jacked-up SUVs when it comes to ride and handling.

Frankly, it's not too bad in this regard, although the steering is pretty dull.

You'll also find the cheaper versions on their 16-inch tyres will ride better than the more expensive ones on 18-inch tyres.

If you can afford the turbocharged engine variant, the news is good; it's a ripper little engine with plenty of performance for highway trips and a full load of bodies.

Even if you're not a keen driver, the 1.8-litre engine will probably be a disappointment.

It's flat, gutless and noisy and harsh when you work it hard.

Is the Trax a safe car?

The Trax has always been a five-star safety performer, although it misses out on the very latest driving aids such as autonomous emergency braking and active cruise-control.

But it scored well for having front and side air-bags as well as full-length curtain air-bags to protect all occupants.

How many years and km's does the warranty last?

Traxes sold after July 1, 2018, got an extended five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

Cars sold before that date were stuck with the usual three-year/100,000km factory warranty.

How reliable is the Trax?

To be honest, it's not a stellar reliability performer as far as the trade is concerned.

There are enough problems that occur frequently enough for any second-hand Trax to require a full independent inspection before any money changes hands.

And don't forget about the Takata air-bag check which is an essential one to make before even sitting in the car for a test drive.

Check, too, for a service record and don't be surprised if the engine (particularly the turbocharged one) uses a little oil between services. That's quite normal.

Budget, too, for a new battery if the car is more than four or five years old.

Check out our page on common Trax problems here.

How many seats does the Holden Trax have?

While it has seat-belts for five, the Trax is much better as a four-seater as the rear-centre position is a bit of a perch.

Even then, legroom in the rear bench is not huge, so it's a better bet for younger families.

Does the Trax have Apple CarPlay?

Apple CarPlay didn't come to the Trax until the Series 2 model in 2017.

Does the Trax have a timing belt or chain?

The 1.8 litre engine has a timing belt while the turbocharged 1.4 has a timing chain.

Who makes the Holden Trax?

The Trax was sold as a Holden but actually built by Daewoo.

Where is the Holden Trax made?

While Holdens are generally thought to have been manufactured in Australia, this one wasn't.

In fact it was built at Daewoo's factory in South Korea.

Is the Holden Trax a good car?

The idea of a city-sized SUV is purely a marketing thing to begin with.

With that in mind, the compromises involved can often get in the way of the end product.

In the case of the Trax, Holden managed to strike a reasonable balance.

The Trax will do the job provided you understand that it's really an occasional five-seater and that, despite the wheel-arch extensions and high stance, it's definitely not a go-anywhere vehicle.

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