Toyota RAV4 vs Chevy Trax
On the highly competitive turf of compact crossover Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV), the Chevrolet Trax and Toyota RAV4 vie for bragging rights. The crossover is a model whose time has come: For every three standard cars sold these days in the U.S., two crossover SUVs are purchased. The crossover market segment has now eclipsed standard SUVs as well as minivans, too. Compact models offer cost-effective benefits including up 25 percent better gas mileage than full-sized SUVs, along with creative space utilization to wring optimum room out of a downsized frame—not to mention a commensurately smaller sticker price than their full-sized siblings.
What's New And What's Not
After success in European and Asian debuts, as well as Canada and Mexico, the new Chevy Trax landed in the showrooms of local Chevy dealers beginning with the 2015 model. In Chevrolet's current hierarchy, the Trax occupies a niche just below the more mid-sized Equinox SUV. Toyota’s RAV4 was introduced in 1999. Though it’s now among the elder statesmen of compact SUVs, the RAV4 is currently the only compact crossover available from Toyota in the U.S.
Changing Times, Changing Specs
In size terms, the RAV4 remains one of the larger compact crossovers, out-sizing most competitors. While the Trax measures slightly less than three inches narrower than the RAV4, when it comes to urban and suburban runabout use—slipping in and out of parking spaces and navigating traffic—the Chevy’s slimmer physique proves to be an important plus. The RAV4 sits higher than the Trax. Unlike the SUVs of yesteryear, however, compact crossovers are commute and family vehicles, so lofty ground clearance is not the must-have it once was. While the RAV4's greater interior volume also confers more storage space, capacious cargo room has dropped a few notches on the consumer wish list in recent years. Back in the day, old-school SUVs were expected to haul lots of stuff. 2016 drivers, however, may well find the maneuverability and svelte profile of the Trax more relevant to today's lifestyle than boxy storage capacity.
Savings Now And Later
Fuel economy looms ever larger as buyers look to optimize efficiency and reduce operating costs. The Chevrolet Trax is powered by an inline 140-horsepower 4-cylinder that delivers 24 to 26 miles-per-gallon on the road and 31 to 34 miles-per-gallon in town. That’s 17 percent less fuel consumption in the city and 19 percent less on the highway than the four-cylinder included in the RAV4. Over years of operation, and increasing fuel prices at the pump, the savings add up to a big bonus for daily drivers. In addition, you’ll get more torque and slightly faster acceleration, going from 0 to 60, from the Trax, as well as marginally higher top-end speed, as well.
Networks In Motion
On the subject of speed, Chevrolet is the first automaker to bring state-of-the-art high-speed Internet connectivity to cars, trucks and SUVs. Technology exclusively incorporated in Chevy’s fleet outshines competitors, including Toyota’s RAV4. Because speed limits on the road don’t apply to Internet access, the Trax is a rolling 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot that accommodates up to seven connections at once. We’re talking about the gold standard of high-speed connection for demanding applications such as streaming movies to make the miles pass faster and serious online access for passengers who need to get some work done. In addition, high-speed connectivity extends up to 50 feet away from the vehicle for outdoor entertainment, too.
A Star For Safety
Safe drivers will stay even safer in the new Chevy Trax. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s New Car Assessment Program has awarded the 2015 Trax a five-star overall vehicle score. It’s the highest rating possible and makes a loud and clear safety statement, particularly compared with four-star alternatives like the RAV4. The design and engineering of the Trax incorporates a protective cage surrounding the passenger compartment, most of it composed of special high-strength steel positioned strategically for optimum crash protection. In addition, the Trax comes standard with ten air bags and a rearview camera. Chevrolet now boasts more vehicle models than any other brand sold in the U.S. to receive the NHTSA five-star rating.
Chevy's Trax may be the new kid on the block, but it's a new block as well. Compact crossovers are rewriting the rules for an emerging category of vehicles and changing consumer expectations. Compare and contrast, then make your own decision. Start with a test drive of the new Chevy Trax at a nearby Valley Chevy dealer.