The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer is a stylish and a unique entry into the small crossover market. That name might conjure up images of a truck-based SUV boxing out a Ford Bronco or Mitsubishi Montero but those days are long gone.
The 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer returns as a small crossover styled after another comeback kid, the Blazer. The five-seater fills out GM’s expansive lineup of crossover SUVs between the smallest Trax and slightly larger Equinox. And it shares its turbocharged 3-cylinder engines with the 2021 Buick Encore GX. Yet the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer looks good, is priced right, and offers plenty of space.
Styled after the larger Blazer, the baby Blazer wears rounded black cladding over the wheel arches and along the bumpers and rockers. Engineers pushed the wheels to the corners like a large sedan, yet the broad nose and steep front fascia looks like a truck. Add integrated fog lights and the suggestion of a front and rear skid plate then ruggedness be thine, Trailblazer. Narrow LED headlights give it a menacing look and wrap around to a body line that drops at the rear door into the rear wheel. Integrated roof rails and integrated rear spoiler box off the rear like an SUV.
The subcompact crossover comes in L, LS, LT, Activ, and RS trims. Activ trim enhances the image of a versatile off-roader, even if it isn’t. The RS trim blacks out the 18-inch wheels and other elements for a sportier vibe. Otherwise the broad and steep nose of the Trailblazer give it a truck-like face, and the profile gets sporty on its own with wheels pushed to the corners.
Getting behind the wheel of either the 1.2-liter or 1.3-liter turbo-3 dispels any notion of sportiness. The 1.2-liter pairs with a continuously variable automatic transmission in front-wheel drive; opting for all-wheel drive comes with an effortless 9-speed transmission and 1.3-liter only. Those little overachievers tend to the loud side on the highway, and they hit 60 mph eventually. With 31 mpg combined at best, the small turbo-3s are no more efficient than competitors’ larger, punchier turbo-4s.
But the Trailblazer is also roomier than other smalls, with excellent rear leg room and a cargo area with as much volume as mid-size crossovers. The rear seats can be thin, the front seat bottoms short, and it isn’t until the mid-grade LT trim that the driver gets a power-adjustable seat, so comfort comes on a case-by-case basis.
Clever packaging and storage nooks keep it smart and good standard safety features such as automatic emergency braking project a value for the $20,000 subcompact crossover. That projection is short-lived. Beyond a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, the standard features don’t add up to a value. Even on the top trims nearing $30,000, features such as an 8.0-inch touchscreen or adaptive cruise control cost extra.
The 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer is packed with style, space, and value; just what buyers want. The edgy styling and unique powertrains make it a standout among a field of mediocre players. In this case, the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer is a hit and won’t break the bank in doing so.