HOLDEN is considering a sportier manual version of the just-released Trax turbo.
While the forced-induction 1.4-litre iTi four-cylinder petrol engine is currently limited to the range-topping LTZ auto, Wheels has learned that the company has already homologated the engine with a six-speed manual gearbox.
It is not known whether the RS badge that currently serves the mechanically related Barina hatch would migrate to the small SUV, though Holden’s marketing department is keen to exploit the Trax’s strong youth appeal.
The manual’s other application could be to lower the entry price of the 1.4 iTi drivetrain, since the LTZ auto is currently retailing at $29,990 plus on-road costs.
Meanwhile, Holden has decided not to offer a diesel Trax variant in Australia for the time being.
“The 1.4-litre turbo is economical enough,” Holden’s vehicle development manager for the small SUV, Jeremy Tassone, told us, adding that the market for diesels at this end of the spectrum is almost non-existent.
He also revealed that Australia is currently leading powertrain calibration and chassis tuning duties for both the 1.4 iTi and ageing naturally aspirated 1.8-litre Ecotec unit.
In Europe, the Chevrolet Trax is available with a 96kW/300Nm 1.7-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel in either six-speed automatic front-wheel drive or six-speed manual all-wheel drive guises.
The all-paw Trax configuration is also unlikely to see the light of day in Australia.
Click here to read the full range review of the Holden Trax