Reintroducing the improved Chevy Trailblazer
Roseville, CA- A refresher course might be a good idea when considering this year’s new offering from Chevrolet – the Trailblazer.
One possible cause for confusion is it could easily be misidentified as the larger Chevy Blazer. Both the Blazer and Trailblazer are sport utility vehicles that were discontinued, then resurfaced. Chevy reintroduced the Blazer last year and was rewarded with sales of 58,115. It hopes for similar success with the all-new Trailblazer.
The old TrailBlazer (with a capital B) was a huge hit for a while. Debuting in 2001, it had a sales high of 283,484 in 2004. But thanks largely to the recession, by 2009 no one wanted a gas-guzzling SUV and the bottom fell out on sales – only 8,829 TrailBlazers were sold.
There are dramatic differences between the old TrailBlazer and the latest version. The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer is a lot smaller – a subcompact crossover SUV (the former was truck-based) – that looks nothing like the original. The new version also has an appealing starting sticker price of around $19,500.
The Trailblazer slots between the smaller Chevy Trax and the larger Equinox. The Chevy design team smartly built the Trailblazer with exterior similarities to the popular Camaro, giving it a cool, edgy appearance. We sampled the striking Oasis Blue-colored Trailblazer for a week and got a ton of looks from admiring observers.
Another appealing aspect to the Trailblazer is the off-road capability of the Activ trim level model. It won’t rival the extremely capable Jeep Trailhawk, yet the all-wheel drive Trailblazer Activ will deliver if taken off paved roads.
The Trailblazer Activ has an 8-inch ground clearance, comes equipped with revised shock absorbers, specialized all-season tires, and has two-toned roof rails. The towing capacity isn’t much – a maximum of 1,000 pounds.
At a Glance – 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer
- Performance: turbocharged 1.2-liter, three-cylinder, 137 horsepower; turbo 1.3-liter, three-cylinder, 155 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 28-31 mpg; 29-33 mpg
- Price estimate: $19,500 to $26,900
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 5 years/60,000; corrosion: 6 years/100,000
Available in five trim levels (L, LS, LT, Activ, RS), the Trailblazer offers a choice of two turbocharged engines – neither one is all that impressive. Although each front-wheel drive engine suffers from turbo lag and performance is lacking, especially in freeway passing situations, the good news is both engines are fuel efficient, so there is some savings at the pumps.
The standard Trailblazer engine is a turbo 1.2-liter, three-cylinder that generates 137 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, and gets approximately 28-31 mpg. The optional engine is a stronger turbo 1.3-liter, three-cylinder with 155 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. It gets an estimated 29-33 mpg and is quicker than the standard engine, going 0-60 mph in 8.7 seconds.
Being a subcompact SUV, the Trailblazer is easy to maneuver in tight spaces and overall has some nice road manners. The steering is responsive and due to its small turning radius, it gives the driver a confident feel in most situations. There is some road noise, even at low speeds. Standard safety features include forward collision mitigation, lane-keeping assist and automatic high beams.
There are a number of reasons to applaud Chevy for the Trailblazer interior. For starters, it’s upscale and roomier than most subcompacts. It has a blend of soft and hard-touch surfaces, an appealing, user-friendly 7-inch infotainment system, and offers standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
Seating is very comfortable and spacious for front seat occupants, while the back seat is more than suitable for three kids or two adults. The cargo area is above average – 25.3 cubic feet of space that expands to 54.4 cubes with the seats folded to the floor.
The all-new 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer merits checking out if shopping for a subcompact. It starts at a very reasonable price and offers lots of upside.