|26 / 31||Fuel Economy (city/hwy mpg)||27 / 29|
|92.8||Passenger Volume (cu.ft.)||91.1|
|7||Base Screen Size (in)||4.2|
When you want a compact SUV, you don’t want to give up features for space. Two of the biggest SUV manufacturers continue to offer a wide range of vehicles of every size, including the extra-small variety. Chevy and Ford have a lot of history with building great SUVs, so how do their smallest SUVs compare? The 2021 Chevy Trax vs 2021 Ford EcoSport will make for an interesting look at what each SUV has to offer buyers who want convenience, safety, and technology without having to purchase a behemoth vehicle you can’t park on city streets. At first glance, the two vehicles are similar in terms of pricing, cargo space, and fuel economy, but a closer look will reveal which vehicle has the chops to keep passengers safe and connected through the technology options available.
Both the Trax and EcoSport have all-wheel drive available on any trim level, which is good news for drivers who may need to travel in wintery conditions. The standard 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine in the EcoSport is unlikely to offer much in the way of power compared to the standard 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine in the Trax. Chevy’s Trax gets slightly better fuel economy at 26 MPG city and an impressive 31 MPG highway, while Ford’s EcoSport gets 27 MPG city and only 29 MPG highway. These two models may be similar, but there are some excellent differences between them to be explored.
When you drive a small vehicle, safety is even more important when you contend with larger vehicles on the road. Being able to trust the strength of your vehicle’s structure, having peace of mind with passive systems that will protect you, and having active driver-assisted safety features are all part of what keeps you and your passengers safe in case of an accident. While the hope is that accidents won’t happen, it’s better to be prepared in case they do. Let’s take a look at whether the Chevy Trax or the Ford EcoSport will keep you safer.
Starting with the Chevy, the 2021 Trax was awarded five out of five stars for overall safety from the NHTSA. The structure of the vehicle is made from a high-strength steel cage to withstand impacts; however, for accident prevention, active safety features like the standard rearview camera and Stabilitrak electronic traction control will assist the driver at all times. Available side blind-zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking assist actively warn the driver in case of potential impacts, and if an impact occurs, a system of ten airbags can deploy to cushion the passengers. Once the Chevy Connected system detects an accident, OnStar will call emergency services to assist you on the scene, even if you aren’t able.
Active safety features that come standard on the 2021 Ford EcoSport are emergency braking, which applies brakes more heavily when the driver depresses the pedal suddenly, and a seatbelt reminder. Available driver-assisted safety features are limited to a blind-spot monitoring system, roll stability control, and rear parking sensors. In case of an impact, there are six airbags and a service to contact authorities in case you aren’t able to. When it comes to safety, the 2021 Chevy Trax has more airbags and more available safety equipment. While both vehicles have LATCH systems for child seats, rear door locks, and tire pressure monitoring, the Trax has better safety features as standard equipment.
Now that almost every adult in America owns a smartphone, it makes sense to own a vehicle that can pair up to that technology. Beyond just the smartphone, a vehicle today should deliver on the types of technology we find in smart homes and offices. Both Chevy and Ford have similar technology available for their compact SUVs, but is the Chevy Trax or the Ford EcoSport better equipped for a modern lifestyle? We compare the standard tech options that come with every trim level for both 2021 vehicles.
The 2021 Trax comes standard with a generous amount of tech, starting with the Chevy Infotainment 3 system. The infotainment touchscreen is seven inches and is loaded with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, WiFi, Sirius XM, and Chevy Connected access. Each of these technologies utilizes your smartphone to allow the driver to activate voice commands for the audio system and allows streaming of content from your phone. The Chevy Connected system, however, offers conveniences like vehicle diagnostics and Marketplace, which can also be accessed remotely through your phone.
When using the Marketplace, you can locate places to get fuel or find a restaurant, and then pay ahead for services before you arrive. Imagine the convenience of being able to drive up to a gas station, fuel your vehicle, and drive away without having to pull out your credit card or cash. This is standard access for all trims, but the system also includes the ability to remote start, lock, and check on fuel levels of your vehicle from anywhere through the app on your phone. Through this same service, you gain the safety of OnStar in case of emergencies, and you can even locate your vehicle if you can’t remember where you parked.
Ford includes its own Sync 3 system for infotainment, which is a user-friendly platform. Unfortunately, the standard touchscreen is only 4.2 inches in size, which may make it difficult to see the information on the screen. Loaded onto the system is the standard FordPass connectivity, which incorporates similar features to Chevy’s, such as WiFi, Bluetooth, and remote access to vehicle diagnostics and remote starting. There is a feature through FordPass which allows for Fuel delivery and repair services, but it’s not comprehensive like Chevy’s Marketplace. You will have voice-command pass-through to the audio system, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t standard, nor is Sirius XM. Overall, the better standard tech is found in the 2021 Chevy Trax, including the on-board access to special services through the connected apps.
When car manufacturers compete, they often have a few features that make them stand out from the crowd. Such features can make a difference in the comfort or convenience your vehicle affords while you drive. Often, the best features available are found on the most expensive trim, but not always. With the 2021 Trax, an air filtration system is standard on all trims, ensuring that exhaust from other vehicles is filtered before it comes through the ventilation of your climate control system. Solar-absorbing glass is also standard equipment, a feature that everyone will appreciate in hot summer months when the sun beats down on your vehicle. The solar-absorbing glass keeps the temperature down.
More standard features on the Chevy include an acoustic laminated windshield to cut down on exterior noise in the cabin and the option of three separate choices of packages to make your Trax really stand out in a crowd. With any of the three choices of Midnight, Redline, or Sport Editions, you gain larger 18-inch wheels for better performance. Each edition offers a set of appearance features, and the Sport Edition offers front and rear skid plates to protect the undercarriage of your vehicle.
For buyers who prefer privacy in the rear seats, the option of tinted windows is available on all trims. Finally, Chevy makes the most of the interior with clever cargo spaces. A fold-flat front passenger seat allows for up to eight feet of space from front to back for long items, and a removable cargo floor in the rear can stow small valuables out of sight.
Ford offers several of its own stand-out features, such as a moonroof and ambient lighting for the uppermost trims, though none of the trims offer an air filtration system or skid plates, not even for the top trim. The EcoSport does offer a sport-tuned suspension and 17-inch wheels for that trim, though it is the most expensive trim available and will cost more than the uppermost trim of the Chevy, even with the special edition options.
Other stand-out features like rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry, and push-button start are only for upper trims. One feature that comes as standard is the rear swing gate that opens to the side instead of overhead, which can be convenient in certain parking situations. Otherwise, Ford also offers a laminate windshield and rear privacy glass as standard for all trims.
In terms of the standard versus optional features, Chevy leans toward the usefulness of its space and offers more thoughtful choices for daily life needs. Whether you consider the temperature and air quality of your interior climate, or the usefulness of the interior space, the Chevy has more options for moving larger objects and keeping the interior air cleaner and more comfortable. Chevy also offers more options for improved performance with larger wheels on three of its special edition packages and skid plates for underbody protection with the Sport Edition.
While Ford may offer options for fun extras like the moonroof or the convenience of rain-sensing wipers, it simply can't compare to the Trax. When considering a compact SUV, you want to know that the size of your vehicle won’t determine how safe you’ll feel when you’re on the road. And if you travel with little ones, having small conveniences like the Marketplace to help you order food and pay for services so you won’t have to spend that time when you arrive may make all the difference for a better road trip.