The Chevy Trax or the Nissan Kicks: Which Pre-Owned Subcompact SUV Is Right for You?

February 2nd, 2024 by

A black 2021 Chevy Trax is shown from the front at an angle after leaving a dealer that has a used Chevy Trax for sale.

Subcompact SUVs are terrific vehicles for drivers who want the best parts of a car and an SUV. They offer increased driving height and (sometimes) all-wheel drive, giving you a bit more command over a variety of terrain, like a full-size SUV. However, they maintain small, car-like dimensions that give them great fuel economy and parking versatility. Many top manufacturers have introduced subcompact SUVs to their lineups over the last couple of decades. Chevrolet and Nissan released a popular subcompact SUV at almost the same time, with Chevy putting out the Trax in 2015 and Nissan putting out the Kicks in 2016. Since then, each model has gained recognition for a number of features. The 2021 Trax won a 5-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. The more recent 2023 Kicks won a “Best Value” award from Naturally, both models attract a lot of drivers.

As a dealership that often carries both the used Chevy Trax for sale and the Nissan Kicks, we get a lot of questions about how these two models compare. Sitting very close together in terms of MSRP, the Trax and Kicks attract many of the same customers. And while they share their compact dimensions and low price tag, these models also have some important differences to be aware of. We want to make sure our customers understand the distinct personalities of these two vehicles so you can make the right choice for your needs.

A Look at Their Similarities

We’ll first cover what you’ll find in either vehicle to set the groundwork. On the infotainment and technology front, pre-owned models from more recent model years have a standard 7-inch touchscreen; however, you can upgrade to an 8-inch one in the Kicks. They both also have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Each one also gets drivers access to advanced built-in navigation systems through an outside source. Trax drivers can get turn-by-turn navigation through OnStar; Kicks drivers can get it through NissanConnect. Drivers can easily make more room for cargo when they need it in either model, thanks to foldable rear seats. And each model has a solid standard suite of driver assist features. Fuel economy is solid in both models, too. Now, let’s look at how the two models differ.

A blue 2021 Nissan Kicks is shown from the side on a city street.

The Trax Is Adventure-Ready, While the Kicks Is City-Confident

One of the biggest differences between the Trax and the Kicks that will be a deciding factor for some drivers is all-wheel drive. The Trax has it, and the Kicks do not; models like the 2022 Trax offer it as an option, while the Kicks comes in just front-wheel drive. This surprises some shoppers. For this reason, we recommend the Kicks to drivers who mostly stay in the city. However, for drivers who tell us they travel roads that are a little less maintained than urban ones, we recommend the Trax. It’s critical to have that all-wheel traction if you drive on dirt roads. All-wheel drive is also important for drivers who spend time in remote areas; having that versatile performance is crucial.

The Trax’s adventurous spirit continues to be apparent through its LT trim, which has skid plates and a digital compass. You don’t need skid plates in cosmopolitan areas, but if you’re going to travel to destinations where you’re bound to kick up a little dirt, you’ll want this feature. And, if you go beyond the reach of cell towers, you could find your smartphone navigation app stops working, and you need that compass to keep you on track. The Trax is also slightly taller than the Kicks, offering an increased ride height for drivers. Plus, its aesthetic is distinctly more athletic compared to the sleek design of the Kicks.

Wi-Fi Is Standard in the Trax, but a Luxury in the Kicks

Another difference we like to note is the Wi-Fi hotspot. It’s available starting on the base-level trim of many more recent Trax models, but it’s only available on the top trim of the Kicks. Today, most drivers require Wi-Fi in their vehicles. Not having the option to stay connected while on the road is simply not an option for many drivers. This might be a dealbreaker for drivers looking for the most affordable model. If you want the Kicks and want Wi-Fi, you’ll be forced into that upper trim. Meanwhile, it’s available on all Trax trims from more recent model years, meaning you’re free to choose the model that works for you.

A blue 2021 Chevy Trax is shown parallel parked.

Differences in Cargo Size and Passenger Volume

The Chevy Trax and Nissan Kicks have some dimension differences worth mentioning. Let’s look at the 2021 models to give you an idea of what you’ll find on the used market. It can’t necessarily be said that one has better cargo volume than the other — it depends on how you plan on using the cargo area. If you plan on utilizing all five seats and relying on the trunk space, the Kicks has the Trax beat. The Kicks gets 25.3 cu.ft. of cargo room with the rear seats up, compared to just the 18.7 cu.ft. of the Trax. However, put the rear seats down, and suddenly the Trax has the Kicks beat, with a massive 48.4 cu.ft. of cargo room, compared to the 32.3 cu.ft. of the Kicks.

So the question comes down to: are you looking for an overall maximum cargo volume that’s bigger or a larger trunk space? If you know you can sacrifice your rear seats for luggage; you could love all the room that the Trax offers. If you know you’ll need all five seats for passengers, then the bigger trunk of the Kicks could be the model for you. As for overall passenger volume, the two vehicles are nearly identical. The 2021 Kicks has 93.9 cu.ft. of passenger volume, and the Trax has 92.8 cu.ft. The difference will not be noticeable to the driver or passengers.

Check Out Our Pre-Owned Chevy Trax Models Today

While both models offer exceptional value and features as pre-owned vehicles, the Trax offers an edge over the Kicks with its performance and interior space. Whether you’re a solo commuter or have a small family to transport, having a used compact SUV model that offers all-wheel drive and ample cargo room may be what you’re looking for in an affordable subcompact SUV. The Trax’s strength lies in its versatility, and when you’re exploring the used market for a pre-owned Trax, you’ll immediately notice there are a lot more configurations available when compared to its rival, the Kicks.

At Dan Cummins Chevrolet Buick of Georgetown, we invite you to come in and explore our great selection of pre-owned Trax models that are sure to fit your unique needs and budget. Our knowledgeable team will answer any questions you have and even take you for a test drive. Once you’ve selected the right used model for your life, our finance team will help you create a payment plan that fits your budget. Ready to get a vehicle that’s easy to drive, packed with great features, and affordably priced? Check out a pre-owned Chevy Trax today.