The Best Affordable Car from Detroit

Detroit’s Big Three automakers — General Motors, the Ford Motor Company, and the Arm of Stellantis Formerly Known as Chrysler — do a lot of things well. Pickup trucks, big SUVs, sports cars, muscle cars — the mavens of Michigan know how to build ones worthy of praise and production.

Entry-level cars, however … well, there not so much. Oh, sure, Detroit has made plenty of small sedans, hatchbacks, coupes and so forth for buyers on a budget over the years, but few of them have been worthy of high praise, especially compared to competitors from Japan and Korea. For every good one you can think of, there’s half a dozen bad apples floating in history’s barrel.

Partly as a result of this, in recent years, the Big Three have largely given up on small cars — or in many cases, mainstream cars in general. Ford no longer sells any sedans or hatchbacks in America; over at GM, apart from Cadillac’s excellent CT4 and CT5, the sole sedan on sale is the outdated Chevy Malibu; meanwhile, over at Dodge and Chrysler, all you’ll find are the equally aged 300, Charger and Challenger, all of which are leaving production in the next couple months.

Into this vacuum, however, have come some interesting, unorthodox alternatives. The most obvious example, of course, was the Ford Maverick — a compact pickup truck with a standard hybrid powertrain that went on sale for under $20,000 when it launched back in 2021. Here in 2023, though, it’s GM’s turn to reinvent the affordable American car … and while the new 2024 Chevy Trax may not be as revolutionary as FoMoCo’s baby pickup, it does so happen to be quite impressive in its own right.

2024 Chevrolet Trax: What We Think

In today’s inflation-charged era, with average new vehicle prices hovering around $48,000, the idea of any all-new car worth a damn arriving at half that is remarkable — but it’s arguably doubly so coming from Detroit. The Chevy Trax is good-looking, featured-laden, comfortable and easy to live with, all at a price that seems downright cheap these days. Whether it’s a crossover or a hatchback is up for debate — the proportions say the former, the lack of available all-wheel-drive says the latter — but what’s not up for discussion is that it’s a damn fine vehicle for the money.

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