Mark Higgins’ first drive 2015 Holden Trax LTZ review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety and verdict.

In a nutshell The new Trax LTZ flagship feels solid and sports bold looks. At $29,990 it’s reasonably priced, but that amount also opens the door to a host of other compact SUV offerings.

Practical Motoring says The 2015 Holden Trax LTZ builds on the solid offering of its predecessor, but with no all-wheel drive variant it’s a little out of step with other small SUVs like the Subaru XV and Skoda Yeti.

AUSTRALIANS LOVE THEIR SUVS. For more than 10 years now we’ve been in love with big SUVs, but in recent times the compact models have been gaining a foothold in our hearts and they’re now the second fastest growing segment in the new car market.

Holden was quick to enter the tiddler class with the Korean-sourced, front-drive Trax in 2011 and, in August this year, it rolled out a mid-life update version including a new flagship model, the LTZ, powered by the same 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder found in the Cruze. New technologies and styling tweaks were also introduced across the range.

Based on the Barina platform, the Trax is a funky looker. Its bold front design, rising hip line, short body overhangs; grey plastic and chrome trimmed panels, triangular tail lamps, large doors and glass area together with its big alloy wheels give this five-door, five-seat, high-rider real road presence.

2015 Holden Trax LTZ review

Inside are comfortable seats and while it has five safety belts, it’s a snug fit for three adults across the 60/40-split rear bench, however front and rear leg and headroom is deceivingly large, for its size. The rear seat also has a fold and tumble function that creates a large flat cargo area that starts at 356 litres and can grow to 785 litres.

Textured hard black plastics are used throughout; with chrome trim garnish, a three-spoke multifunction, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a shiny silver centre console with three circular HVAC controls. Holden’s MyLink infotainment system dominates the centre dash and features embedded apps, audio, (but no CD player), video, phone, Bluetooth controls and a reversing camera. The six-speaker audio system punches out a quality sound and pairing the phone and streaming music was easy. The instrument cluster has an analogue tacho with a digital speedo and fuel gauge plus a trip computer.

2015 Holden Trax LTZ review

Storage cubbies large and small abound through the cabin with enough space for everyone. Even the driver’s roof-mounted grab handle is replaced with a decent sized sunglass holder. The Trax has three 240 volt 150 watt plug outlets for charging things on the run.

Holden’s engineers had a hand in tuning the suspension and steering for local conditions and the Trax proves nimble around town and equally at home on open roads though side winds do buffet it about which is because of its short (in length) but tall design. The electric power steering is light and responsive for parking, and even in tight spots is a breeze thanks to its compact size, reversing camera and parking sensors. The ride is on the firm side but despite its short wheelbase and high riding stature it doesn’t jiggle about and body roll is well controlled. The Continental tyres wrapped around the 18-inch alloy wheels deliver good grip.

2015 Holden Trax LTZ review

Very light rough-road ventures are possible, though you’ll be limited by the front-only drive, however it does come with hill-descent control, hill-start assist and 158mm of ground clearance.

The new LTZ model gets the same 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine as in the Cruze. And, although the capacity is down compared with the existing 1.8-litre unit, it produces the same power 103kW (at 4900rpm) and 25 more Newton metres of torque, meaning 200Nm (at 1850rpm). That said, it does require 95RON, whereas the old 1.8L was happy to drink 91RON fuel.

The engine is reasonably smooth under normal acceleration but it does get a bit thrashy when pushed hard, not that this is the sort of car you’ll wring the next of often. At the legal speed limit, it sits at 2000rpm and most of the time engine noise is reasonably suppressed. Road noise is also quite well insulated from the cabin except over coarse bitumen surfaces where it intrudes.

Mid-range power is good for overtaking, maintaining up hill speeds and helping to push it out of corners. It’s not too hard on the wallet and we averaged 8.2L/100km for the week (although compared with our long-term Subaru XV which is all-wheel drive, has more ground clearance and is currently returning 6.6L/100km, the Trax seems a little out of step). An auto six-speed transmission with ‘Active-Shift’ is standard in the LTZ and apart from becoming a little confused about gear selection a couple of times, it operates quite well. Not so good was the Active Shift button that sits awkwardly on the on the side shift lever.

2015 Holden Trax LTZ review

The LTZ sits at the top of the Trax family tree and builds its spec off the lower level LS model. Standard equipment includes the new 1.4 litre engine with six-speed auto, rain-sensing wipers, auto headlights, driver arm rest, heated front seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, MyLink and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, seven-inch colour touchscreen, reversing camera with rear parking sensors, front fog lamps, trip computer and a storage tray under front passenger seat. Owners are catered for with a capped price servicing program of four services in the first three years (or 60,000kms whichever comes first) for $185 per service. The Trax also has a three-year 100,000km warranty.

ANCAP has awarded the Trax a 5-Star safety rating. Standard equipment includes a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, stability control, ABS brakes, traction control, hill start assist, electronic brakeforce distribution, six airbags, and two ISOFIX child seat anchors.

2015 Holden Trax LTZ

Price $29,990 (+ORC)

Warranty three years, 100,000 kilometres

Safety five-star ANCAP

Engine 1.4 litre four cylinder petrol turbo (95 RON)

Power/Torque 103kW/200Nm

Transmission six-speed auto (standard)

Body 4278mm (L); 1776mm (W); 1674mm (H)

Weight 1720kg

Thirst 6.9L/100km (combined)


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