Just like the Geo Tracker before it, Chevrolet’s 2015 Trax an attempt at small-SUV redemption

Cobalt ignition switches aside, anyone who thinks General Motors is in trouble now should take a look at the Chevrolet Tracker. This Suzuki-based mini-ute was a portrait of automotive underachievement.

GM probably won’t encourage comparisons between the Tracker and the 2015 Chevrolet Trax, which debuted at 2014 New York Auto Show, but it’s hard not to make them. Even the name sounds similar (it’s actually taken from a 2007 concept).

Like the Tracker, the Trax was also designed with global sales in mind. It’s been on sale in Canada, Mexico, and several other markets since late 2012, and now GM has decided to bring it to the U.S.

This micro-crossover rides on the same Gamma II platform as the Chevy Sonic and Spark, and Buick Encore. So it’s better to think of it as the Buick’s working-class cousin than a neo-Tracker.

While the Trax and Encore followed different paths to U.S. showrooms, they are pretty much the same. They’re almost identical in size, and they both use the Chevy Cruze’s 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which produces 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque.

As with the Buick, the Trax comes with a six-speed automatic transmission and a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. Yet while the Buick is somewhat interesting to look at, the Trax’s Equinox-like styling won’t garner any second glances.

The interior isn’t much better, although it does feature the nifty instrument binnacle from the Sonic and Spark, plus a seven-inch touch screen. There are also plenty of available tech options, including Siri Eyes Free, Onstar 4G LTE with built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, and Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system. A rearview camera is standard.

The 2015 Chevrolet Trax goes on sale in the U.S. next year. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date. Hopefully this latest small Chevy will avoid the mediocrity of the Tracker, and make its own tracks.

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