Blog / Trax, Envista and the Renaissance of GM’s Smallest SUVs

Trax, Envista and the Renaissance of GM’s Smallest SUVs

General Motors discontinued its two smallest SUVs, the Chevrolet Trax and Buick Encore, after the 2022 model year. That didn’t last long. Both are back for 2024 looking completely transformed and putting a whole lot more emphasis on style and technology in order to appeal to young customers.

The Trax carries the same name, but the Encore has been given a new moniker—Envista. Let’s take a closer look at the pair, which will start hitting dealerships this summer.

2024 Chevrolet Trax

The new Trax is longer (+279 mm), lower (-88 mm) and wider (+51 mm) than the old one, with much more modern and athletic looks. Inspiration comes from the larger Blazer, particularly the front fascia. Each trim level gets a specific treatment. For instance, the 1RS and 2RS have a sportier appearance, while the new ACTIV stands out with a monochromatic look including titanium chrome accents, unique black wheels and a rear skid plate motif.

Inside, the wider dimensions combined with 152 mm of extra wheelbase result in a roomier cabin, including 76 mm more legroom for rear passengers. Trunk capacity is increased nearly 12 percent to about 600 litres. Of course, the centre of attention is found up front in the form of a brand new, driver-oriented touchscreen (8 or 11 inches depending on the trim) next to an available 8-inch digital instrument panel.

Unlike its predecessor, the 2024 Trax comes with front-wheel drive exclusively. There is no AWD option this time around. Consider it an alternative to the Nissan Kicks, Hyundai Venue and Kia Soul, primarily. Under the hood, the 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine is replaced by GM’s turbocharged 1.2-litre triple-cylinder, which delivers 137 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. And instead of a CVT, a simpler yet revised six-speed automatic transmission is included.

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is standard across the line, by the way. Same thing for Chevy Safety Assist, a suite of six advanced features that include Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, IntelliBeam auto high-beam control and Following Distance Indicator. All of this starts at only $24,498, freight and PDI included, and tops out at $30,798. Inflation? What inflation?

2024 Buick Envista

Over at Buick, the Envista shares many design cues with the refreshed 2024 Encore GX but features a sportier, coupe-like body style. Three trim levels are available: Preferred, Sport Touring (ST) and Avenir. The second stands out with many black accents, while the last one combines a single-tone exterior with chrome bits. All of them embody Buick’s new global design language and wear its new logo.

An available power liftgate provides access to the cargo area, which can fit 586 litres of gear. Folding the 60/40-split rear seats increases cargo capacity to 1,190 litres, or about 200 litres short of the discontinued Encore. On the bright side, the longer wheelbase results in more legroom for front and rear passengers, rivaling some larger crossovers in that department.

The dashboard design in the Envista is miles ahead of the Encore, taking a page from the 2024 Encore GX with a so-called Virtual Cockpit System. Under one sheet of glass is an 11-inch infotainment touchscreen combined with a configurable 8-inch instrument cluster, both angled toward the driver.

Just like the Trax, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is standard in the Envista, while a turbocharged 1.2-litre triple-cylinder engine provides motivation. Some drivers will probably miss the naturally aspirated 1.4-litre four-cylinder (155 horsepower, 177 pound-feet) and the optional AWD system. Fuel consumption is projected to be just under 8 L/100 km. Pricing for the Envista has not been announced at the time of writing, but expect to be pleasantly surprised.