Nimble, easy to maneuver, and the perfect size, subcompact SUVs have been steadily winning over drivers everywhere. From navigating through jam-packed city streets to fitting effortlessly into tight parking spots, the subcompact SUV is the answer to many drivers’ pleas for a manageable and spacious SUV. Two top options in the subcompact SUV segment are the Ford EcoSport and the Chevy Trax, and when it comes to performance, as well as interior and exterior design qualities, these two showstoppers sure know how to draw a crowd. When comparing the 2022 Ford EcoSport vs 2022 Chevy Trax, it’s evident that both bring many benefits to your ride, but one far outshines the other, especially when it comes to overall quality and value.
The EcoSport has an interesting history, emerging onto the scene as a part of Ford’s Project Amazon in the Brazilian market. As SUVs were quickly becoming the go-to vehicles in Brazil, it just made sense to offer a compact and easy-to-handle model that would appeal to European travelers. That’s how the EcoSport was born, and it hasn’t slowed down yet. New for 2022, the EcoSport says good-bye to its front-wheel drive 1.0L engine in favor of standard all-wheel drive capabilities in its 2.0L four-cylinder.
Although the Trax doesn’t have quite the unique history that you’ll find with the EcoSport, emerging in the U.S. market in 2013, it still delivers a pleasant ride and desirable features. There aren’t many changes for the 2022 model year, except for a slight boost in power in its 1.4L four-cylinder. So, the big question remains, can the European-inspired EcoSport claim the top spot when going up against a Chevy favorite?
Beneath the smooth curves of the lively 2022 Ford EcoSport lies an engaging engine that’s just waiting to impress you. The EcoSport’s 2.0L four-cylinder offers a delightful ride, with 166 horsepower to drive it forward, while 149 lb-ft of torque delivers the power it needs to tow up to 2,000 lbs, which is much more than many of its rivals. In addition to a dynamic performance, you can also expect satisfying fuel efficiency, as the EcoSport is able to get an average 23 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway. Pair this engine with an agreeable 6-speed automatic transmission, and you’ll be in for an agile ride that will take you anywhere you need to go with confidence.
The 2022 Chevy Trax comes equipped with a 1.4L EcoTec turbocharged four-cylinder, which experiences an increased 155 horsepower this year, making for a more exciting ride. It, too, is paired with a smooth operating 6-speed automatic transmission, allowing it to share very similar features with the EcoSport. Unfortunately, even its boost in horsepower doesn’t stack up to the power you’re able to experience in the Ford favorite.
Perhaps what really places the EcoSport ahead of the pack is the fact that all-wheel drive comes standard, which really amplifies its appeal to drivers. Now, navigating through bad weather road conditions and bumpy streets is easy inside this controlled and stable SUV. Moving up the trim levels to its more alluring Titanium model will allow you to experience an even smoother ride quality by way of an enhanced suspension system, and with its favorable power, you’ll be in for a fun and lively ride.
The Trax, on the other hand, comes with your choice of front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. Its responsiveness and handling allow it to offer a confident ride; however, if you’re searching for more excitement in your travels, the lack of acceleration will prove to be fiercely disappointing. It’s also been reported to be quite noisy on the highway, which can be a deal-breaker for many drivers.
Inside the carefully designed cabin of the 2022 Ford EcoSport lies an experience that exhibits excellence, with available ActiveX seating material, a heated steering wheel, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and upscale touches throughout. Four trim levels are available to help you get the EcoSport you desire, from its affordable S trim, which features modern everyday appointments, to its upscale Titanium, which pulls out all the stops when it comes to a luxury experience. Opting for the high-level Titanium trim will also allow you to take advantage of more tech, including a premium Bang & Olufsen audio system, voice-activated navigation, and smartphone integration. No matter what you’re searching for, the EcoSport has a model designed for virtually any driver.
You’ll find that the Trax also showcases its own favorable features, like stitched dashboard inserts, comfortable appointments, and an airy feel about it, thanks to its high stance. As you take a closer look, though, you’ll notice that even in its more expensive trim, cheap plastic pieces litter its interior, and less refined elements are haphazardly thrown into the mix. It’s also unfortunate that the Trax is only offered in two trim levels. We wish there was more of a selection here, which makes the interior styling of the Trax anything but appealing.
The EcoSport makes good use of its compact stature, offering ample space to handle both passengers and their belongings. Providing plenty of ways to stow your gear, with 50 cubic feet of cargo space available, the EcoSport impresses many drivers who are under the impression that subcompact SUVs don’t offer enough room inside. Loads of legroom for front and rear passengers allow the EcoSport to showcase a comfortable ride for all on board, which is especially helpful if you’re looking to use this vehicle for carpool duty or you’re loading it up for a weekend road trip.
Despite the Trax’s high stature, it doesn’t offer as much cargo space as the EcoSport, and it tends to feel quite cramped, especially in the back row. Although you’re able to configure its seats four unique ways, with 60/40 split-folding second-row seats and rear flat-folding seats, the Trax still only offers up to 48.4 cubic feet of cargo space, which is less than its competitors. Legroom both in the front and the back of the vehicle is beyond disappointing, which places the Trax behind many others like it. All in all, the Trax leaves us wanting more when it comes to its interior space. With better options out there, like the EcoSport, it’s no surprise that drivers are looking past the Trax and opting for something better suited to their driving needs.
Not only is the EcoSport easy on the eyes, it’s also pleasantly versatile, allowing it to be a go-to option for drivers who prioritize functionality in their vehicle. From signature LED lighting and halogen quad-beam projector headlamps to ample athleticism radiating around it, the EcoSport does a fantastic job of stopping you in your tracks. What’s especially appealing about the EcoSport is its rear swing gate with a hideaway latch on the side, as opposed to the top, which allows the gate of the EcoSport to open just like a car door. This makes for effortless loading and unloading of your vehicle. It’s so unique that it can’t be found in the competition.
The Trax is much taller than many of the other subcompact SUVs on the road, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Although it does offer better visibility than most rivals, it’s a bit cumbersome with its overly vertical stance. You’ll find that you’re able to boost the Trax’s style a bit, however, by opting for special editions, like the Midnight Edition, for 18-inch gloss black aluminum wheels and dark accents throughout. LED lighting, roof rails, and more stylishly functional elements can be found on the Trax, but if you’re looking for a swing-out tailgate, unfortunately, the Trax doesn’t offer that.
The Trax’s tall stature and lack of specialized features don’t always jive well with subcompact drivers. This type of driver is looking for an easy-to-handle option that offers the right amount of style coupled with the right amount of functionality to deliver the experience they’re looking for during any journey. Fortunately for the EcoSport, you’re able to take advantage of upscale features, as well as an effortless way to load up your cargo hold with its exclusive swing-out tailgate. This is why the EcoSport remains our pick when it comes to exterior features in a subcompact SUV.
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