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Trax poised to debut idle-stop at Holden

Making Trax: The Chevrolet Trax will go in sale in Australia under Holden badges in mid-2013.

GM’s Trax mini SUV to get fuel-saving idle-stop in Europe – and Australia

16 Aug 2012

ONE of the smallest vehicles in the Holden range might be the first to get fuel-saving idle-stop technology if Holden product planners tick the box for the feature on the local version of the Trax mini SUV when it lands in local showrooms in mid-2013.

General Motors has announced that the Chevrolet Trax – to be revealed publicly at the Paris motor show in late September – will have idle-stop on all models equipped with manual transmissions.

No Holden vehicle presently has idle-stop, which switches off the engine when the vehicle comes to a standstill at the traffic lights and the driver slips the gearshift into neutral. It restarts when first gear is selected.

Holden powertrain engineers are working on engine and transmission calibration for the Trax and – GoAuto believes – its Opel Mokka twin, for global markets.

Several Trax and Mokka vehicles have already arrived in Australia for testing at Holden Engineering in Port Melbourne and at Holden’s proving ground at Lang Lang.

GM also has confirmed the Barina-based Trax will get all-wheel drive, although Holden is likely to offer two-wheel drive locally.

The all-wheel-drive system is likely to be one of the drivetrain systems now being put through the wringer at Lang Lang and, if Holden engineers follow usual practice, the Flinders Ranges region of outback South Australia.

13 center imageFrom top: Chevrolet Trax Holden Trax Opel Mokka testing.

The AWD system is said to be “on demand”, which means the default mode is front-wheel drive but the rear wheels are engaged when slippage is detected through sensors on the front drivetrain.

One upcoming new Holden model that might gazump the Trax as the first Holden-badged vehicle to get idle-stop is the mid-size Malibu sedan, which has the feature on its mild-hybrid Malibu Eco model.

However, Holden is yet to confirm whether that variant of GM’s Camry-fighter will get the green light for this market when the 2.5-litre four-cylinder Malibu range goes on sale locally in early 2013.

Holden might decide to give it a miss, as the Malibu Eco has been widely criticised in the United States for delivering mediocre fuel economy gains compared with full-hybrid rivals from Toyota and Ford.

Holden is yet to confirm the powertrain line-up for Trax, which will be released in Europe with a choice of three engines – a 103kW/200Nm 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder, a normally aspirated 1.6-litre petrol four, and a 96kW/300Nm 1.7-litre turbo-diesel.

The 1.4T is from the Cruze, while the 1.6-litre petrol engine is likely to be the 85kW unit from the Barina – to which Trax is closely related – although GM gives no power or torque figures for that engine in its latest Trax media release.

The 1.6 engine will be offered only with a six-speed manual transmission, while a six-speed automatic will be optional with the two premium turbo powerplants.

The Trax will slot into the Holden range below the Captiva and, from early 2013, the hard-core Colorado 7 large SUV to complete the Australian company’s SUV range.

While the Trax will make its world debut at the Paris motor show on September 27, it is unlikely to appear at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney the following month.

GM Holden senior product communications manager Kate Lonsdale told GoAuto that Holden was still finalising its model line-up for the show, but that Trax was unlikely to be one of the vehicles because of vehicle unavailability.

Built on GM’s Gamma II platform that has already spawned the Barina/Aveo and Barina Spark, among others, the Trax is 4248mm long, making it longer than the 3595mm Barina hatch but shorter than the 4310mm Barina sedan.

However, it sits on a longer wheelbase than both Barina variants (2555mm versus 2490mm) and is both wider and taller.

GM claims the five-seat Trax will deliver car-like handling while also enabling off-road capability when needed.

“Inside, Trax delivers a message of clean sophistication that is complemented by useful convenience features such as an instrument cluster combining digital readouts with analogue displays,” Chevrolet says.

The Trax gets a 358-litre boot – bigger than the 220 litres of the Barina hatch but smaller than the 400 litres of the sedan – but also gets further stowage under the cargo area floor, at least in Europe.

For Australia, Holden might be tempted to fill that space with a spare wheel for off-road security.

Interior flexibility includes a front passenger seat that can fold flat for long loads, along with a 60/40 folding rear seat.

Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system will be standard on up-spec models in Europe, offering advanced connectivity, including a navigation app that can be downloaded to a smartphone and then projected onto a seven-inch screen on the dash.

Announcing the appearance of the Trax at the Paris show, Chevrolet Europe president Susan Docherty said Chevrolet has been known for its dependable and capable SUVs for decades.

“Trax will deliver on all of the traditional Chevrolet values and more,” she said. “It is a modern, highly versatile yet fuel-efficient small SUV, offering car-like handling and all-wheel drive.

“Trax is the modern expression of one of Chevrolet’s core competencies, which is building and selling great SUVs.”

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