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We’re getting into the all-new Chevy crossover with the not new name. Let’s see what our first impressions are of the Trailblazer.
The Trailblazer slots between the smaller Trax and larger Equinox. It’s a two-row not quite compact but not quite a subcompact SUV.
If you’re looking for others in this tiny tweener segment, check out the Nissan Rogue Sport Mazda CX-30 or new Kia Seltos.
When it comes to the interior, the center stack is simply designed but well laid out. Materials feel pretty cheap, even on this sporty RS trim I’ve got, but Chevy is marketing this as a youthful and inexpensive car, so cutting cost in here makes sense.
It does come with some great extras though, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard on the base trim. And there’s a wireless version of those with wireless charging available in the Tech Package upgrade.
My first impressions of the seats are that they are decently comfortable, though on the firm side, but I find them a bit small in the actual seat. Not sure how a large man might fare on one of these for a while.
As for rear seating, it’s not bad for a little guy. I wouldn’t put three folks back here for long hops, but when these seats go down (54.4 cu.-ft./8.5-feet length) the Trailblazer gets some surprisingly useful cargo space.
The Trailblazer gets either a 1.2- (137 hp/162 lb-ft torque 28 mpg city/31 mpg hwy) or 1.3-liter (155 hp/174 lb-ft torque 29 mpg city/33 mpg hwy) 3-cylinder turbocharged engine. And both of those are mated to a CVT but a 9-speed automatic is optional on the 1.3L.
The 1.3L engine isn’t actually bad. Thanks to that turbo, it’s got some pep and energy. I’m going to call it spirited.
But the CVT doesn’t do it any favors, especially in the noise department.
Add to that steering that’s effective, if a bit light and overly electronically assisted and you’ve got a driving experience that more than adequately does what it’s supposed to do, meaning get you places.
The base Trailblazer starts just under $20,000 (~$19,995) including destination charges. For those of you interested in not crashing, all Trailblazers come standard with a comprehensive list of dynamic safety features including lane keep assist with lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking.
Optional AWD can be had on the LS trim with power goodies and cruise control showing up on the LT. The RS (~$27,900) is one of the Trailblazer’s top trim levels. This gets Chevy’s sporty embellishments including 18-inch wheels, a performance-inspired grille, and a front splitter.
The Trailblazer can be had in the ACTIV trim, which gives it improved ground clearance, upgraded tires, and shock tuning and includes a plastic piece upfront that looks like a skid plate, but it’s really not. The Trailblazer can handle gravel roads, but not serious rock crawling, but most of these enhancements are for appearance only.
For the AWD ACTIV version, you’re also going to pay a little under $28,000.
Like its big cousin, the Blazer, the 2021 Trailblazer inherits some of its family looks from the Camaro including the signature Chevy dual-port grille with integrated squinty headlights. The sculpted body and front fascia introduce some sharp, sporty personality into a rather blob-like small crossover segment.
The Trailblazer won’t do what the previous generation did, but you sure do get a lot of car for a reasonable price.