Base price for a 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer is $23,798 in Canada, $19,995 in the US.
It slots between the Trax and Equinox in Chevy’s lineup.
This is another case of not judging a book by its cover.
The story with the all-new Trailblazer echoes that of the recently reviewed Buick Encore GX. When it was leaked that Chevrolet was bringing back the Trailblazer name, most fans of the brand thought of a big 4×4. When it was officially revealed a little over a year ago, more head-scratching ensued.
Getting over the name is important especially if you are considering a new small urban assault vehicle. As small or subcompact SUVs go, GM’s got a pair of exceedingly interesting propositions in the Buick Encore GX and Chevrolet Trailblazer. Between the two, I would not hesitate to jump on the bowtie.
The main reason, as I outline in my video, is styling. The 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer Activ, as tested, is loaded with character, unique and family-related cues that serve to turn up its charm. The Blazer and Camaro flashbacks built into the Trailblazer’s looks work well – frankly, it is more attractive than the Blazer itself.
The Activ trim, which starts at $30,498 with included AWD, adds unique 17-inch alloy wheels that are paired to sport terrain tires, roof-mounted side rails, titanium chrome-plated accents, all in the name of a more rugged look. My tester was painted Zeus Bronze with the white roof and that seals the deal.
The illusion that it’s bigger than it is
The cabin is familiar Chevrolet/GM fare which has properly evolved for this generation of GM products. The standard 7-inch display can be upgraded to an 8-inch touchscreen as is the case in the tester with the Technology package. Either way, the vehicle includes Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Plus which is a very user-friendly system. Fit and finish are quite good and points are awarded to the Trailblazer Activ for the extra contrasting interior touches and accents.
Despite the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer’s reduced exterior dimensions, the cabin is considerably airy, especially up front. The boot isn’t exactly as spacious as the 715-litre rating (25.7 cubic feet) suggests but it’s very accessible. The rear bench will easily accommodate two adults or baby seats. Front passengers are treated to what can only be called an illusion – the impression of space is equal to that of a larger SUV. Given who is likely to purchase this SUV, empty-nesters and young adults, this appearance of being in a bigger vehicle can be very comforting.
Healthy driving experience
And given where the Trailblazer is most likely to circulate, the turbocharged 1.3-litre 3-cylinder engine’s 174 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,600 rpm once more deliver the impression that there’s far more to the vehicle. With 155 horsepower also on tap, the Trailblazer handles itself admirably well in urban settings.
Let’s not think for a moment that it is inadequate on the highway. The included 9-speed automatic transmission is generally brilliant, shifting seamlessly however it is incredibly slow to select reverse for some reason – this was also the case with the Encore GX. Expect returned fuel mileage to hover around 8.5L/100 km or 28 mpg.
Another impressive detail about the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer, which also applied to the 2020 Buick Encore GX, is its impressively civilized on-road behaviour. Not only is the 3-cylinder engine reasonably quiet but its chassis tuning borders on cushy even though the Activ is endowed with an “off-road” suspension. I suspect that the Activ’s larger sidewalls play an important role in this case.
The all-new Chevrolet Trailblazer joins an increasing number of small crossovers and SUVs looking to usher consumers out of their compact cars. Along with the Buick Encore and Encore GX, and the Chevrolet Trax, players such as the Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-3 and CX-30, Honda HR-V, Toyota C-HR, Ford Ecosport, Nissan Kicks and Qashqai are all vying for your attention. And we mustn’t forget the Hyundai Venus and Kona, and Kia Niro, Seltos, and Soul.
Considering all of these vehicles, it would almost be easier to point out which ones to avoid. What I can say is that the new Chevrolet Trailblazer is an impressive product that sits in the middle for space and performance but stands out for styling, character, and value. It certainly has caught my attention.