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Holden locks in Trax compact crossover

Making Trax: Holden will get a contender in the fast-growing small SUV segment from next year.

GM Trax global small SUV gets Holden input and Australian release around mid-2013

Holden logo7 Jun 2012

By MIKE COSTELLO

HOLDEN’S powertrain engineers will be responsible for tuning Australian and overseas versions of the new Barina-based Trax small SUV, which was this morning confirmed for an Australian launch next year.

Although the Trax has been designed overseas for 140 markets worldwide, Holden senior manager of product communications Kate Lonsdale told GoAuto that the company will contribute “powertrain and transmission calibration for other markets”.

The company has not confirmed which overseas markets will get versions of the Trax with Australian input, but Holden said a number of the vehicles would be seen on local roads in the near future as its engineers complete their development work.

Officially, Holden is saying only that Trax will debut in 2013 after its public debut at the Paris motor show this September as a Chevrolet, but GoAuto understands that the smallest Holden SUV will be here just after mid-year.

Local versions will feature the familiar Holden grille design grafted onto other Chevrolet-sourced models like the Captiva, and will get Australian-specific suspension tuning.

The car will give the lion brand a competitor to Ford’s forthcoming Fiesta-based EcoSport, as well as existing models such as the Nissan Dualis, Mitsubishi ASX and Subaru XV in the hotly contested small SUV segment, sales of which are up 57.3 per cent this year.

13 center imageFrom top: Chevrolet Trax Buick Encore Opel Mokka.

Holden claims the Trax – which shares components with the previously revealed Opel Mokka and Buick Encore – offers plenty of room for five passengers, high levels of cargo space and class-leading levels of technology.

The car is stylistically differentiated from these other GM sub-compact SUVs by its more angular and rugged styling, including flared wheelarches front and rear.

Holden sales, marketing and aftersales executive director John Elsworth said the Trax would be an important addition to its SUV range, which comprises the Captiva 5 and 7, as well as the forthcoming Colorado 7 – a seven-seat off-roader based on rugged ute underpinnings.

“Trax will deliver the flexibility, great fuel economy, advanced safety features and car-like handling that more and more customers are looking for in today’s SUVs,” he said.

“This is another great example of Holden bringing the best new vehicles from GM’s global portfolio to Australia. With cars like Trax we continue to deliver world-class vehicles that meet the changing needs of customers.” Holden powertrain engineering director Simon Cassin said the company was “well recognised within the GM world for our expertise in engine and transmission calibration and we are very pleased to be involved in the development of this important vehicle”.

Holden will not announce any more mechanical details on the Trax until closer to launch, but its Opel Mokka sibling will be offered in Europe with 1.6-litre naturally aspirated and 1.4-litre turbo-petrol engines plus a 1.7-litre diesel, combined with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions, and driving through the front or all four wheels.

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