Holden Trax: Make Trax in town and county
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Picking up this sporty-looking Holden Trax on a rainy Friday afternoon, a suppressed desire rises within me to go shopping.
My usual modes of transport in Auckland are my trusty Suzuki moped or whatever brand of bus I'm catching, so this is a good opportunity to collect a few things on my need-to-buy list.
And on this midwinter day when we are being subjected to a bone-chilling southerly gale, the Holden Trax is a warm, comfortable shopping basket on classy 18in wheels.
It's an easy-to-manoeuvre, easy-to-park SUV as I pop into a few stores in Newmarket and throw the shopping bags in the back. I even get the kids' style approval later for a funky jacket I pick up in Newmarket. Not too expensive, mind you. More a sassy budget buy like the Trax I'm driving.
The SUV is easy to spot in busy car parks with its Boracay Blue standing amid predominantly grey vehicles. There's a geography lesson thrown in for free later when I google the source of the colour's name and photos pop up in my browser showing the same blue in the sky above the palms and sand of Boracay, an island in the central Philippines. (Note to editor: perhaps I should go there to check out the authenticity of the colour's origins?)
I put my depleted debit cards back in my wallet and return to negotiating Auckland's streets. This is where the reverse camera and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are handy for getting out of tight spots and hill-stop assist stops roll-back on hills waiting for the lights to change.
Blind Spot Alert helps when changing lanes on the motorway. I get a thrill out of watching the orange decals light up any time a car is passing me on the motorway as I stick religiously to 100km/h in the left lane.
The next morning, we begin our trip up north, opting to bypass the toll road as we nip into Orewa for breakfast. The storm has passed and the day is calm. The beach is peppered with people walking, making the most of the change in weather.
After finishing breakfast, we keep on tracking in the Trax. It's a firm ride and it keeps us honest as this is a vehicle where 100km/h feels comfortable. It's all about the journey as well as reaching the destination. A warm trip, too, with heated front seats.
We pop open the sun roof for ventilation on the slower parts of the journey (the Brynderwyns bends, the 80km/h restrictions in Dome Valley, and the queue when traffic narrows to one lane and we're stuck behind all the drivers signalling to turn right at Warkworth, I'm assuming, for the Matakana farmers' markets).
The good thing about having no DVD is that rather than screen time, they get our time and we head off on a walk to explore the waterfront at Onerahi. It's fun looking for crabs and seeing who can throw rocks the furthest into the water.
Whangarei's waterfront makes a great backdrop, too, for a few photos of our star vehicle, with our granddaughter happily adding her frame for a sense of scale.
On the Sunday, we return to Auckland. We tire of being in a line of slow-moving traffic whenever we approach towns so take the alternative route to Auckland via Helensville. We have the made the right choice. Great rural scenery, far less traffic and some nice twisty hill climbs to test how the Trax handles.
It doesn't disappoint, feeling stable on the tightest turns. Right on track, you could say if you were prone to puns. DAB+ digital radio and Auto phone technology don't distract driver or navigator, with headlights automatically coming on as the daylight hours draw to a close.
Helensville ... the Northwestern motorway ... and then Auckland. Mission accomplished.
The Trax strikes me as being ideal for daily city driving with enough oomph, comfort and the option of Active Select on longer trips. There's plenty of room for four adults, or two adults and the three kids. Oh, and a boot that can easily accommodate the weekly grocery shop as well as a couple of impulse buys.
Holden Trax LTZ
Engine: 1.4L DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder iTi petrol engine, 6-speed automatic transmission with Active Select