WHEELS has sprung a top-secret update for the Holden Trax compact SUV on Melbourne roads, hiding a fresh-look front and rear that will help it fight the likes of the upcoming Toyota CH-R, the hot-selling Mazda CX-3, the Mitsubishi ASX and the Honda HR-V.
We’ve spied a TJ Series II prototype on the road near the company’s Fishermans Bend HQ, well ahead of an Australian launch scheduled late this year or early in the first quarter of 2017.
As the heavy nose and tail cladding suggest, Trax’s changes will mirror that seen on the latest version of the US-market Chevrolet Trax revealed at February’s Chicago motor show.
This includes a substantially more horizontal headlight and split-level grille arrangement in line with GM’s latest international design philosophy, as well as reprofiled bumpers, a new-look air intake, and squared-off tailgate featuring revised tail-light lenses.
It’s all change inside as far as the completely overhauled dashboard is concerned, with the Holden odds-on to adopt the Trax’s cleaner and more flowing fascia, boasting classier instruments, a comprehensive multimedia update (including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity), and higher-quality materials. There won’t be any more cabin space, though.
Similar to its American cousin, the 2017 Holden Trax is expected to carry over the Opel-developed 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine and six-speed automatic transmission combination, though most models are expected to use a variation of the long-serving 1.8-litre four-cylinder atmo unit. Only front-wheel-drive configurations are mooted at this stage.
With test mules running around Holden’s Lang Lang Proving Ground south-east of Melbourne, the facelifted Trax will continue with Australian-specific steering, suspension, and noise-reduction tuning, helping to address some of the criticisms levelled at the current, three-year-old version.
Other advances for the 2017 Holden Trax could add advanced driver assist systems such as a rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-departure warning tech, on top of the multitude of airbags and reversing camera already offered on the popular small SUV.
The Holden Trax’s sales have fallen well short of the market-leading CX-3, at 1682 versus 4527 registrations year-to-date. That said, Trax sales are up 30 percent compared with the first quarter of 2015, and considerably ahead of the segment’s 6.1 percent growth.
Consequently, don’t expect prices to vary too far from today’s Trax, which kicks off from $23,990 plus on-road costs for the well-specified base LS manual, extending to $28,890 for the 1.4 Turbo auto.
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