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Buick Envista and Chevrolet Trax – TWO FOR THE ROAD

Car Reviews

Buick Envista and Chevrolet Trax – TWO FOR THE ROAD

Buick Envista and Chevrolet Trax


There was a time – many decades ago – when automakers designed vehicle platforms for each specific model.  Eventually they figured out that it was far more economical to design a platform that could be used across a wide range of vehicles.  Now, OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) engineer platforms that can be stretched and widened to save big bucks.  It’s not unusual to see sedans, crossovers, minivans and even unibody trucks sharing the same platform, modified to fit each of these vehicles.  It’s just a sensible business practice for the OEM, and typically makes no difference to the end consumer.

Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to test drive two GM vehicles back to back; while sharing the same platform, they seemed familiar and yet felt different.  The two cars were the 2024 Buick Envista and the 2024 Chevrolet Trax.  My colleague, David Boldt, wrote a terrific in-depth review of the Envista that you can find on the txGarage site at  

I’m going to compare and contrast the two models since they share so many important components and yet feel quite different in their appeal to distinct consumers.  It’s a great exercise in how automakers can take one platform and make it different depending on their market and consumer.  Both vehicles have the same powertrain, a front-wheel drive, 137 hp, 1.2 liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.  EPA estimated fuel economy ratings for both vehicles are 28 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.  It’s the exterior, interior and the driving dynamics that make the two cars so different.  

I first test drove a 2024 Ocean Blue Metallic Buick Envista Touring that sported a $29,215 MSRP price tag, about $6,000 more than a base model.  Envista is a new model for the Buick line, priced to entice buyers into the near-luxury brand.  Advertised as a vehicle with a long wheel base, low roof and sleek profile, Buick hopes that buyers will see it as a premium crossover with the riding dynamics of a sedan.  And it does come across as a crossover masquerading as a sedan.  It features all the driver assistance that new car buyers demand.  

I next test drove a 2024 Fountain Blue Chevrolet Trax 2RS that came with a $27,080 MSRP price tag, about $5,500 more than a base model.  This is an all-new Trax for this model year, and it’s larger and roomier with more safety features and technology, the stuff that most new car buyers are looking for in their next purchase.  The Trax is advertised as a SUV and it definitely looks the part, sitting much taller and beefier than the Buick Envista. 

The Trax is also an entry vehicle into the Chevrolet lineup. But it gives the impression of a more rugged crossover, one more designed for off-road adventures.  This all-new Trax has an athletic, muscular design that shows off design cues from its bigger cousin, the Chevrolet Blazer.  But, looks can be deceiving – I wouldn’t take it farther off-road than a dusty ranch road or field.  This ain’t no rock-crawler.

The Trax offers two RS trims, both of which show off a sporty design with additional exterior trim accents, as well as a unique grille with an embedded RS badge. The 1RS trim includes unique 18-inch aluminum wheels while the 2RS, the trim that I test drove,  features 19-inch aluminum wheels.  The 2RS trim also features red accents on the seats and a racing-inspired flat-bottom steering wheel.

Both the Trax and the Envista have nearly identical instrument panels and eleven-inch infotainment screens and they share interior layouts.  However, the Buick gives off a more elegant feel while the Trax goes for a sportier feel.  And, both were pleasant to drive although neither are capable of winning a speed contest.

Chevy Trax or Buick Envista? Both have their appeal, although I did enjoy the Trax a bit more; it felt more sporty while maintaining a suitable level of comfort.

Steve is a veteran automotive journalist and former head of Ford Public Relations in its South Central region. He’s a native New Yorker who fell in love with a Texan (and Texas) over 20 years ago. Steve’s been living here happily ever since. His current automotive ‘want’ is an early 3-Series convertible, while his daily driver is a 2006 Toyota Tacoma.

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