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Holden Trax LTZ 2019 family review

Nedahl Stelio
Family reviewer

6 Nov 2018 • 12 min read

Some small SUVs are exactly that - small. If you’re after a slightly larger small SUV, you’ll have to sift through the usual suspects and find your way into a car like the Holden Trax. It’s one of those small SUVs that actually has height on it, as in, a decent amount of height, which is rare in this category. So being inside feels more like you’re in a mid-sized SUV, purely because of the distance from the ground. 

I was in the LTZ which is the top of the range Trax in petrol, and comes in at just over $30,000.  It’s in competition with cars like the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V and Ford EcoSport. I drove it with my family for seven days to see how it stacked up. 

What does it look like?

The exterior is higher and boxier than some of it’s competitors. It’s not as sleek as a CX-3 or as refined as a Nissan Qashqai. But it has height on its side. One of the biggest reasons to head to SUV territory is the height - it’s easier to do carseats up in a higher car - and the Trax has height over length, while still tapering up at the back for a bit of sportiness.

  • The exterior of the Trax is higher and boxier than some of it’s competitors. (image credit: Dean McCartney) The exterior of the Trax is higher and boxier than some of it’s competitors. (image credit: Dean McCartney)
  • It’s not as sleek as a CX-3 or as refined as a Nissan Qashqai. But it has height on its side. (image credit: Dean McCartney) It’s not as sleek as a CX-3 or as refined as a Nissan Qashqai. But it has height on its side. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

Inside the car looks good, with features like a piano black finish around gearshift and centre console which lifts the design and makes it feel more premium. It’s all clearly set out so is functional as well. 

The seats in this top spec are leather-look, so it’s not real leather and it doesn’t look like it. The leather that you get in some of the other competitors in their top-of-the-range models aren’t the highest quality anyway, and you might want to opt for fabric here. 

Inside the car looks good, with features like a piano black finish around gearshift and centre console. (image credit: Dean McCartney) Inside the car looks good, with features like a piano black finish around gearshift and centre console. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

The steering wheel is leather though, and does feel great under the hands which I think is important because it’s the thing you’re touching every time you drive the car. There’s a small sunroof at the front and Holden's managed to make the dash and doors look quite premium compared to some other cars. They’re soft, not hard and plasticky looking. 

How easy is it to use every day?

I was amazed to find four cupholders in the front. It’s a real feat to deliver that in a small SUV as larger cars don’t even have this. You are sacrificing the centre storage bin for these, but I think it’s a good trade-off - my centre storage bin always ends up a mess of receipts and parking meter tickets anyway! Best to use the space for something useful. 

There are also two cupholders in the back and a bottle holder in each door. As is standard across the category, there are no adjustable air vents in the back seats, but the air works really well and my kids weren’t hot in there. They could climb in by themselves and it's a good height off the ground to do seat belts up. The boot is also easy to lift (not heavy) and a good height off the ground. 

  • The seats in this top spec are leather-look, so it’s not real leather and it doesn’t look like it. (image credit: Dean McCartney) The seats in this top spec are leather-look, so it’s not real leather and it doesn’t look like it. (image credit: Dean McCartney)
  • There are no adjustable air vents in the back seats, but the air works really well and my kids weren’t hot. (image credit: Dean McCartney) There are no adjustable air vents in the back seats, but the air works really well and my kids weren’t hot. (image credit: Dean McCartney)
  • Underneath the boot floor is a full size spare wheel. (image credit: Dean McCartney) Underneath the boot floor is a full size spare wheel. (image credit: Dean McCartney)
  • The boot is also easy to lift and a good height off the ground. (image credit: Dean McCartney) The boot is also easy to lift and a good height off the ground. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

There were some sticky points - I had to press the open button on the keys twice to get in, and twice to lock it, which sounds like a small thing but I thought we were in the age of instant gratification. The handbrake is also a bit stiff to pull up. 

You will get a full size spare wheel which is great if you love doing long road trips. There’s nothing worse than being stuck with a space-saver spare on a long journey.

How safe is it?

You’ll get airbags in the Holden Trax which cover driver and passenger and side curtain airbags that extend to the back row. There is also some of the latest safety tech like blind spot monitoring, rear collision warning and rear cross traffic alert which totally save me when reversing out of a blind spot. 

It’s missing some of the other safety tech like auto emergency braking (AEB) and lane departure warnings, which do come standard on some of the competitors.

It gets a maximum five star ANCAP rating (it was assessed in 2013).

How does it drive?

The Trax has good handling and is not heavy on the road. The steering can feel heavy sometimes though, and the park brake can be weighty to pull up, so together they makes the car feel a bit stiff to drive. 

There’s a 1.4L turbo engine in the LTZ which worked really nicely along the flats, however did struggle slightly on the hill I test all cars on - it got up there fine, it was just slower going. You couldn’t really call this car zippy. It’s a comfortable car though, and while it won’t win any speed races you do feel as though it’s reliable.

There’s a 1.4L turbo engine in the LTZ which worked really nicely along the flats, however did struggle slightly on the hill. (image credit: Dean McCartney) There’s a 1.4L turbo engine in the LTZ which worked really nicely along the flats, however did struggle slightly on the hill. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

Parking was good due to the size, it neatly fit into parks and was a breeze to do the school run. Even with a slightly larger turning circle than a CX-3, it was easy to do U-turns in the Trax. There’s also a reverse parking camera with clear resolution so you can avoid scrapes. 

What’s the tech like?

The Holden Trax LTZ comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which means you can plug in your phone and be instantly connected to the main apps on your phone like maps and Spotify (sidenote, I use Google Maps on my iPhone and can never connect properly but this version of CarPlay let me sync with Google maps which was mighty helpful, ‘cause everyone knows Google maps is better than Apple maps).

The Trax comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (image credit: Dean McCartney) The Trax comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

You can also use voice control to make calls and send text messages so you can avoid touching your phone while driving.

What does it cost to own?


The Wrap

The Holden Trax was good enough to get my family and I around for the week. It’s not a car you’ll fall in love with, but it does the job with enough space, it drives fine and has enough boot capacity for this category. It's also lacking some of the newer safety features and falls short in areas that some competitors do excel in, like smooth driving and interior/exterior design. 

I gave it a family rating of seven out of 10, my children also gave it a seven - they think they’re the real reviewers here!

Likes

height off ground
rear room
full-size spare

Dislikes

steering wheel weight
no AEB
plain design

Scores

Nedahl:

3.5

The Kids:

3.5

$30,490

Based on new car retail price

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