The compact utility vehicles have been very successful in India. The commanding position with respectable ground clearance gives them an advantage on the ‘Indian roads’. Also most these vehicles have monocoque chassis offering driving dynamics of sedans. But the most important reason for their success is that they are lot cheaper than their full-sized counterparts and ideal for small families.
The Renault Duster, Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and the Mahindra Quanto are few examples of successful utility products in 2012. The Ford EcoSport is the next in line and will be launched early next year, followed by few others including Mercedes-Benz GLA in the premium segment.
Chevrolet has already lined up the Enjoy MPV for early 2013 to take advantage of the growing segments, but will also launch a compact SUV as part of their India aggressive strategy. The new compact SUV will be the Trax that was unveiled at the 2012 Paris Motor Show.
The Trax has a very typical Chevy styling with looks similar to the Captiva. The massively flared wheels arches, typical Chevrolet bow-tie and butch stance gives the compact SUV aggressive look. GM has plans to introduce the Trax in over 140 countries around the world and we India is expected to be one of first destinations in Asia.
The Trax measures 4.2 meters in length, which is more than the Ford EcoSport and marginally less than the Renault Duster. The crossover will be available with two petrol engine options – 1.4-litre turbocharged and 1.6-litre naturally aspirated; and a diesel mill mainly for the European market with 1.7-litre displacement. The company will also offer all-wheel drive option for the 1.4 petrol and the 1.7 diesel. All models will get manual gearboxes, with the automatic option only available for the 1.7 litre diesel.
On the inside, there will seating for five persons. Chevrolet has also placed many small cubby holes across the interiors, greatly increasing utilitarian value of the vehicle. The top end variants are expected to come with many safety features including electronic stability control and Hill Descent Control.
The Trax will be launched in Europe in early 2013. As for India, Chevy has its hands full at this moment with the launch of Sail sedan, Enjoy MPV and the Beat facelift still in pipeline. We expect company to provide further details about the SUV next year during the launch of the Sail sedan, with launch by end of year or early 2014. The prices of the petrol version should start around Rs 8 lakh, with diesel; top-end costing around Rs 15 lakh.