2021 Chevy Trailblazer evaluate: Reborn SUV is a hit-or-miss proposition


As soon as upon a time, the Chevrolet Trailblazer was a body-on-frame, midsize SUV. The old-school Trailblazer was a beefy factor, out there with a V8 engine and rear-wheel drive. However as buyers’ wants have developed, so have the SUVs themselves. After greater than a decade, the Trailblazer is again within the type of a kinder, gentler, subcompact crossover.

Like

  • Snappy turbocharged engine
  • Glorious styling
  • Nice infotainment tech

Do not Like

  • Bland inside
  • Can get costlier than most of its rivals

The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer is obtainable in LS, LT, Activ and RS trims. The Activ is the one pictured right here, which has a rugged-ish look, whereas the RS is slightly sportier. Just like the Buick Encore GX with which it shares a platform, the Trailblazer is accessible with both a 1.2-liter turbo I3 and a constantly variable transmission, or a 1.3-liter turbo I3 with both a CVT or a nine-speed computerized. For this evaluate, I am specializing in the uplevel 1.3T and nine-speed combo.

The Trailblazer is bigger than the Chevy Trax, however with its sub-$20,000 beginning worth, is definitely the least costly SUV within the firm’s lineup. It shares a number of its design with its massive brother, the Blazer, and to good impact. The twin-port grille and squinty headlights look nice, however do not be fooled by what Chevy calls the “simulated” skid plate down beneath. Nonetheless, I just like the sculpted hood and I’m at all times right here for a two-tone paint scheme. Personally, I believe the Trailblazer appears to be like greatest in RS guise.

The Trailblazer shares a number of its design cues with its midsize massive brother, the Blazer.


Chevrolet

Chevy’s 1.3-liter I3 is surprisingly perky. Positive, it solely makes 155 horsepower, nevertheless it’s the 174 pound-feet of torque that actually helps with acceleration. It comes on early at 1,600 rpm and stays flat till 4,000 rpm, making freeway merging virtually easy. The nine-speed computerized transmission is tuned extra for gasoline economic system than anything, upshifting early to maximise effectivity. Throughout my time with the automobile, I averaged 29.1 miles per gallon, which is on the higher facet of the EPA’s rankings of 26 mpg metropolis, 30 mpg freeway and 28 mpg mixed for this engine.

That is to not say the Trailblazer is enjoyable to drive, although. Get it on backroads and the smooth suspension and beneficiant physique roll will make you assume twice about making any fast directional adjustments, and it is easy to upset the general smoothness on uneven stretches of pavement. Then once more, nothing on this small SUV class is all that rewarding to drive, save for the Mazda CX-3. I believe most people will discover that the Trailblazer does an sufficient job daily, with plenty of usable low-end energy and easy-to-drive dynamics.

There’s a Sport mode within the Trailblazer, which Chevy says adjustments the transmission’s shift logic, giving the steering a heavier really feel. This additionally prompts the all-wheel-drive setting — which is one thing the driving force can activate and off with a button — although the distinction right here is difficult to really feel. The transmission holds revs a bit longer beneath aggressive acceleration, nevertheless it does not actually change the Trailblazer’s general demeanor. For those who stay in a cold-weather local weather, a Snow mode makes the throttle much less aggressive, probably leading to much less wheelspin when setting off from a cease.

The Trailblazer comes commonplace with Chevy’s Security Help bundle, which incorporates forward-collision warning and braking, entrance pedestrian braking, lane-keeping help, a following distance indicator and computerized excessive beams. Adaptive cruise management is a part of a $620 bundle and blind-spot monitoring is a part of a separate $345 bundle. That is bizarre, contemplating each these choices are commonplace on the Toyota CH-R. If you’d like extra tech like a hands-on steering help function, take a look at the Kia Seltos. No matter their worth, the driving force help options work as marketed, retaining me at a set distance from a lead automobile, warning me of different automobiles in my blind spot and producing a ding whereas gently bringing me again into the lane if I begin to drift out.

Contained in the Trailblazer, an ordinary 7-inch touchscreen runs Chevy’s Infotainment Three system, however my tester has the upgraded 8-inch display screen. It responds quickly to my inputs and I like how straightforward and intuitive it’s to make use of. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are right here, and with wi-fi connectivity in higher trim ranges. Each the driving force and passenger can join their telephones to the system with a nifty dual-Bluetooth interface. Charging is taken care of by USB Kind-A and Kind-C ports, plus a 12-volt outlet up entrance. Wi-fi charging is accessible, as are further USB-A and USB-C ports for rear-seat passengers.

The inside design is type of meh, however the infotainment tech is nice.


Chevrolet

Mother and father will relaxation straightforward with Chevy’s commonplace Teen Driver function, a black field of kinds that information driving habits when a specific key fob is used, and might even set a velocity limiter and prohibit the audio quantity from going too excessive. It is a function that my rebellious highschool self would hate, however the grumpy grown girl I’ve change into takes gleeful pleasure in realizing youthful drivers cannot be hooligans.

A lot as I just like the onboard tech, I am much less impressed by the remainder of the Trailblazer’s inside. Positive, the supplies are principally advantageous and I like how a lot space for storing is accessible, however the design lacks the spunk of the Nissan Kicks, the sophistication of the Mazda CX-Three or the quirky particulars of the Kia Seltos. What’s extra, the backup digicam high quality is middling, although drivers can go for a high-definition digicam as a part of a $1,720 expertise bundle (Come on, simply make this commonplace!). General, operate positively takes precedence over type right here.

The Trailblazer’s cargo area places it in the midst of the category, at 25.Three cubic toes behind the second row of seats, increasing to 54.Four cubes when folded. Fold down the entrance passenger seat and you’ll accommodate objects as much as 8.5 toes lengthy, like kayaks or lumber. For those who want extra space, nonetheless, it is best to take a look at the Kia Seltos, with 26.6 and 63 cubic toes respectively, or the Honda HR-V, with 24.3/58.8.

The Trailblazer is a advantageous little SUV, however a lot of its rivals are extra well-rounded.


Chevrolet

The 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer begins at $19,995 together with $995 for vacation spot. Nevertheless, my LT tester ups the beginning worth to $25,600, and as soon as the choices are tacked on, I am taking a look at $28,180 together with vacation spot. For that worth I can get a properly geared up Kia Seltos or Honda HR-V, or I can get a loaded Nissan Kicks with almost $7,000 to spare.

The Trailblazer is a pleasant addition to the subcompact SUV section with its vigorous powertrain and daring exterior styling. However contemplating how well-rounded so a lot of its rivals are, sadly for the Trailblazer, which may not be sufficient.



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