Are hatchbacks out of fashion, or are they just evolving? In 2021, although there aren't many conventional hatchbacks on the market, we're seeing an increasing number of subcompact SUVs like the Chevrolet Trailblazer. The Trailblazer name isn't new to Chevrolet; it was first used between 1999 and 2001 to designate a high-end version of the Blazer SUV. From 2002 to 2009, it was given to a midsize SUV with up to seven seats. Now the Trailblazer is an entry-level, city-focused, subcompact vehicle—a bit like a tall hatchback with available AWD. It's an all-new addition to Chevrolet's lineup for 2021.
The Camaro looks good, so Chevrolet used it as inspiration for the new Blazer SUV. That looked good, too, so the designers shrunk it down a bit. The result? The 2021 Trailblazer.
Styling is the Trailblazer's most Camaro-esque feature—this little SUV isn't a performance car by any means. Its turbocharged three-cylinder engine works for zipping around town but requires commitment to get up to freeway speeds—and that's with the more powerful 1.3-liter three-cylinder option. The Trailblazer's size makes it somewhat nimble, but its overall handling isn't great. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it isn't great for blazing trails, even in Activ trim.
Inside, there's a generous amount of standard technology, and the second row is impressively spacious. The available flat-folding front-passenger seat helps make the Trailblazer more practical. Unfortunately, it's not very comfortable due to the brittle ride and amount of road noise.
The Trailblazer offers head-turning looks and decent everyday usability. However, depending on the trim and options, it can get quite expensive, which combined with the unimpressive powertrain and poor handling, led to a third-place finish in our three-way small SUV comparison test.
Two tiny turbocharged three-cylinder engines are offered in the Trailblazer. The standard 1.2-liter engine produces 137 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. It's connected to a CVT automatic and is FWD only. EPA-rated fuel economy is 28/31 mpg city/highway.
The optional 1.3-liter engine makes 155 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. A CVT and FWD are standard with this engine, but the optional AWD system uses a nine-speed automatic transmission. In MotorTrend testing, an AWD Trailblazer RS accelerated to 60 mph in 9.3 seconds. Fuel economy from the EPA rates at 29/33 mpg with FWD, or 26/30 mpg with AWD.
The NHTSA gives the Trailblazer a four-star overall safety rating (out of a possible five stars). However, models built on or after July 14, 2020 earn a five-star overall rating. Standard driver-assist and active safety features include automatic emergency braking, automatic high-beams, lane-departure warning, and lane-keep assist. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control are optional extras. All trims are equipped with 10 airbags.
Behind the second-row seats, there are 25.3 cubic feet of cargo space. Folding the second row down expands cargo capacity to 54.4 cubic feet. A flat-folding front passenger seat is available to accommodate long items.
Front-row headroom measures 40.0 inches in the Trailblazer, which compares to 39.4 inches in the Hyundai Venue. Second-row headroom is 38.4 inches in the Trailblazer, a bit less than the Venue's 38.6 inches. Front-row legroom is 40.9 inches in the Chevrolet, slightly less than the 41.3 inches in the Hyundai. Second-row legroom of 39.4 inches in the Trailblazer is much more than the Venue's 34.3 inches.
A 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard, and an 8.0-inch upgrade is optional. Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Wi-Fi hotspot, and Bluetooth connectivity are included with both. The standard 3.5-inch black-and-white gauge cluster display can be replaced by a color 4.2-inch unit. Front-row USB ports are included, and higher-end trims also get USB charge ports in the second row; a wireless charging pad is available. The base trim has a four-speaker audio system; others get a six-speaker setup, and a seven-speaker Bose premium system is optional.
|$0||2.49% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48, 60, 72 Months - GM announces APR rates on select models.||06-30-2021|
|$0||2.74% Financing for a maximum term of 75 Months - GM announces APR rates on select models.||06-30-2021|
|$0||2.99% Financing for a maximum term of 84 Months - GM announces APR rates on select models.||06-30-2021|