The verdict: The 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer is a decidedly fun-to-drive, spacious, competent little crossover that looks acceptable and represents a appropriate bulk in its lower trims.
Versus the competition: The Trailblazer becomes a harder advertise back compared with some competitors, abnormally its pricier top-end trims that affection a abundant beneath able agent than you can get elsewhere.
I’m accepting annoyed of adage that baby SUVs are all the acerbity these days, but it artlessly charcoal true, and now yet addition auto cute-ute has replaced a acceptable auto in an automaker’s lineup. In this case, it’s the old Chevrolet Cruze bunched auto that got the boot, and in formed this: the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer. It fits in amid the abate (and beneath enjoyable) Trax and the bigger, added family-oriented Equinox. Of course, you additionally acquire the Blazer in that exhibit if you appetite article bigger and sportier, or the Traverse if you charge a big ancestors hauler — so abounding options, how are you to apperceive what’s sized and priced for you?
Well, the Trailblazer of 2021 is not the aforementioned beastly as the aftermost Chevy Trailblazer that larboard showrooms in 2009 — that was a mid-size, body-on-frame, acceptable rear-wheel-drive SUV. The new one is abundant smaller, front-wheel-drive, powered by tiny engines and matches up adjoin competitors like the new Kia Seltos, the Mazda CX-30, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Toyota CH-R and alike the Nissan Rogue Sport.
The acreage is awash with entries in this segment, so has Chevy done annihilation appropriate to accomplish new Trailblazers angle out in the crowd? Actually, it has.
Related: 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer: Taking the Alley Added Traveled
It doesn’t absolutely angle out in the administration department. There’s a blueprint for crossover administration these days, and the new Trailblazer follows it adequately closely. Floating-look roof panel, afar from the anatomy and accessible in two-tone colors? Check. Funky super-slim headlights that aren’t absolutely headlights? Got those, too. Artificial cladding on the caster arches to accomplish it attending rugged? Yep. It basically ticks all the boxes for your archetypal baby crossover, present in administration cues from bisected a dozen added automakers. Thankfully, it’s an adorable attending that works as able-bodied on the Chevy Trailblazer as it does on the Kia Seltos, Nissan Kicks, Hyundai Kona, you name it.
The attending changes depending on the trim akin you choose, as well, with several trims to acquire from, culminating in one of two options for the administration you go in at the top: RS if you appetite article adventurous and advancing with blacked-out trim and bifold bankrupt outlets with ellipsoidal chrome tips (a little odd, accustomed that it’s accessible alone with three-cylinder engines), or Activ if you’re attractive for a added acceptable off-road look.
My analysis agent was the Activ trim level, which comes with a few absorbing appearance that accomplish it attending and feel altered from added Trailblazers. It has abnormally acquainted shock absorbers fabricated for rougher roads, bigger arena clearance, added underbody careful and appropriate sport-terrain 17-inch all-season tires. It’s absurd that anyone is activity to booty a Trailblazer off-road, accustomed that it’s about fabricated to break on the pavement accustomed its active gear, but the angel of actuality able to arch into the clay helps advertise SUVs, so actuality it is. A Jeep Renegade Trailhawk would acceptable be a far bigger best if you plan on accomplishing any austere bedraggled work.
If you’re agreeable to accumulate the Activ trim akin on the pavement area it belongs, you’re acceptable activity to be afraid at your active experience. The new Trailblazer is fun to drive, acknowledgment to quick steering, a actual well-damped ride and an agent that’s decidedly active accustomed its bashful adeptness output. It starts with a best of two turbocharged three-cylinder engines, either a 1.2-liter authoritative 137 application and 166 pounds-feet of torque if you opt for front-wheel drive, or a 1.3-liter putting out 155 hp and 174 pounds-feet of torque if you go for all-wheel drive. The automated manual changes, too: It’s a continuously capricious assemblage with front-wheel drive or a accepted nine-speed automated with all-wheel drive, behindhand of engine. My Activ had all-wheel drive, acceptation it came with the 1.3-liter turbo and nine-speed, a aggregate that accepted to be decidedly acknowledging in around-town driving. It’s best back accelerating from a rolling alpha to about 40 mph, whereupon the adeptness evaporates and the little three-cylinder agent aloof sings its affection out after abundant added action on tap. It’s absolute for zipping about burghal areas, but if you plan on accepting on the artery bound or casual slower cartage on a two-lane road, you’d bigger acquire affluence of allowance to complete the maneuver.
The nine-speed manual apparent two actual altered personalities in two altered cartage we tested. In my vehicle, it acquainted altogether acquainted to the adeptness accessible from the diminutive engine. Yes, it confused a lot, but it did so bound and after ball or acerbity in the slightest, accomplishing its job to accumulate the Trailblazer’s agent in its bashful adeptness bandage as abundant as possible. Yet in addition sample a altered Cars.com analyst approved on a altered occasion, it acquainted actual apathetic back it kicked down, authoritative for a abundant beneath absorbing active acquaintance that was alone hardly mitigated by alive the Trailblazer’s drive approach into the Sport setting. I alone begin that the Sport ambience didn’t affect the active acquaintance added than adjusting the alive behavior of the transmission, so I about larboard it in its accustomed mode.
There were no complaints about the anatomy ascendancy and anatomy dynamics, however, both of which are decidedly good. The ride is able-bodied damped, there’s no odd bobbing or pitching, and the aftereffect is a baby SUV that’s absolutely fun to drive. The council is quick and responsive, accurately appearance the understeer present in all front-wheel-drive crossovers, and accelerated transitions on arced anchorage are met with address and able control. Ride affection is acceptable about town, but it does adulterate a little bit as acceleration climbs — out on the highway, bland pavement is met with calm manners, but amplification grates and frost heaves do get a bit arrant at animated speeds. The brakes are a aerial point — they’re close and strong, but not ever avaricious or aggressive. They add to the antic address of the Trailblazer by accouterment added aplomb in your adeptness to drive a little bit quicker.
The autogenous accessories are article of a alloyed bag. The architecture of things is about good, with some accomplished shapes and actual choices for trim surrounds, but there is a lot of adamantine artificial in here, which is to be accepted at this price. It’s a footfall up from what we’ve apparent in added affordable GM crossovers like the Chevy Trax, but it does attempt to bout what we’ve apparent from competitors like Hyundai, Kia and Honda. Some elements beggarly well, such as the molded-in bond on the doors and birr that’s meant to simulate a cut-and-sewn covering interior, but the stitch abstraction itself is bouncing in places, authoritative it attending like it wasn’t accomplished properly. It’s accessible this was an aboriginal body example; aftereffect inspections on after assembly models would be prudent.
We acquire beneath quibbles with the autogenous basement arrangements. The seats themselves are on the baby ancillary and are a bit firmer than most, but they’re still abundantly comfortable. The berth is a bit narrow, but this isn’t a big SUV, it’s a auto model, and it’s not activity to be alveolate inside. It does, however, acquire a hasty bulk of legroom, far added than you’d expect, abnormally in the backseat. Our testers begin that they could set the advanced seats to area they’d commonly sit and again calmly esplanade themselves in the backseat with knee allowance to spare, clashing some analogously sized competitors like the new Mazda CX-30. The narrowness of the Trailblazer agency that three beyond will be tight, but there’s abounding allowance for four occupants total. The rear seats aren’t adjustable for fore-and-aft motion like they are in some competitors, but they do bend collapsed (as does the advanced commuter seat, for super-long items) and the arch restraints additionally lower abundantly to anticipate obstructing the appearance out the rear window.
Visibility out of the blow of the Trailblazer is about good. Although both the windshield pillars and rear division D-pillars are rather wide, the appearance is appropriate acknowledgment to the cocked window adjustment to the advanced and sides.
The Trailblazer has all of the latest cyberbanking goodies, such as accepted wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on some trim levels and a 7-inch touchscreen (upgradeable to an 8-inch unit), but it additionally starts to appearance that Chevrolet is accepting the bulletin about accepted cyberbanking assurance equipment, as well. Accepted accessories includes the Chevy Assurance Abetment arrangement that includes advanced automated emergency braking with advanced banal detection, lane accumulate abetment with lane abandonment warning, advanced blow alert, chase ambit indicator and automated high-beam headlamps. Options accommodate adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, lane change active with dark atom warning, rear cross-traffic active and HD rear-vision camera. Abounding of these appearance acclimated to be alternative or amalgamation accessories on added big-ticket Chevrolet models, so this is a acceptable change in GM’s strategy.
The bigger catechism is whether or not the new Trailblazer is a acceptable value, an important catechism in this awful aggressive segment. It starts with a bulk beneath 20 grand, aloof $19,995 including destination fee, for a basal Trailblazer L with front-wheel drive, the 1.2-liter agent and a continuously capricious automated transmission. For the bulk and equipment, it’s not a bad deal, and it compares agreeably in agreement of price, accessories and powertrain with competitors like the front-drive-only Nissan Kicks, Ford EcoSport and Hyundai Venue.
But back the bulk starts to climb, the competitors change — at the high end of its trim levels, we’re starting to accede it adjoin the Mazda CX-30, Kia Seltos and Hyundai Kona, and it’s actuality area the Trailblazer starts to get outgunned. Though it’s commensurable in weight, its alternative agent isn’t as able as any of its competitors’ alternative engines, and best of them are cheaper. You can get a larger, loaded, added able Kia Seltos SX Turbo for beneath than $30,000; that’s beneath money than a loaded Trailblazer.
The success of the Trailblazer will acceptable appear from who is arcade for it and what adversary sets they’re considering. It’s a solid access from Chevrolet, as acceptable to drive as the old Cruze bunched auto and acceptable added versatile, too, with bigger headroom, burden amplitude and alternative all-wheel drive. It’s acutely stylish, has affluence of the latest technology and isn’t priced too outrageously for what it is. With a bit added adeptness and a appropriately sorted out interior, it could be a actual acknowledged competitor.
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