Driven: The 2021 Trailblazer Solves Chevy’s Goldilocks Problem

There’s a dizzying array of entry-level crossovers, however many make important compromises in alternate for reasonably priced pricing.

Some are front-wheel drive solely, whereas others are just too small. These aren’t the one points as “low-cost” can be utilized to explain greater than their price ticket.

Nevertheless, the phase is increasing to incorporate barely bigger and higher outfitted fashions. They price just a little greater than true entry-level crossovers, however they’re much more spacious and sensible.

The most recent member of this group is the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer which begins at $19,995 together with the vacation spot cost. That considerably undercuts rivals such because the Kia Seltos which begins at $23,110.

A Trendy Crossover With A number of Personalities

Whereas the earlier Trailblazer was massive and obtainable in a seven-seat configuration, the 2021 mannequin is considerably smaller and extra fashionable. The entrance finish is dominated by a dual-port grille which is flanked by LED daytime working lights and enormous halogen headlights.

Additional again, there’s plastic physique cladding and wheels ranging in sizes from 16- to 18-inches. The mannequin additionally has a blacked out A-pillar and a trendy C-pillar which causes a large blind spot.

Prospects searching for a extra distinctive look can go for the ACTIV or RS trim seen right here. The previous provides the crossover a extra rugged look because the mannequin is supplied with a two-tone roof, trapezoidal exhaust ideas and a singular entrance fascia which supplies further floor clearance. There are additionally extra useful adjustments together with underbody shielding, uniquely tuned dampers and 17-inch wheels wrapped in Hankook Sport Terrain tires.

The Trailblazer RS goes in a unique route because it has a “performance-inspired mesh grille” which is flanked by fake intakes which reside beneath the headlights. The mannequin additionally has black accents and a sportier rear finish with spherical exhaust ideas.

Whereas styling is all the time subjective, we predict the Trailblazer seems to be okay – particularly in ACTIV trim. The RS seems to be prefer it’s attempting too onerous, however the black exterior helps to reduce that.

A Surprisingly Spacious Inside

Getting into the cabin, drivers are greeted by an easy inside with numerous onerous plastic. That shouldn’t be shocking given the worth, however a lot of the plastic is top of the range and appears pretty good.

Talking of fine seems to be, the Trailblazer is supplied with steel accents and so they add just a little pizzazz to the cabin. Nevertheless, the true eye-catchers are RS’s flat-bottom steering wheel and crimson accents.

The Trailblazer additionally incorporates a 7- or 8-inch infotainment system with wi-fi Android Auto and wi-fi Apple CarPlay. The bigger show is included within the Comfort Bundle – on the LT, RS and ACTIV trims – and it’s quick and straightforward to function. The bundle additionally provides an assortment of different goodies together with an computerized local weather management system, USB charging ports, a 120-volt energy outlet and an auto-dimming rearview mirror – amongst different issues.

The mannequin can be outfitted with plenty of options you sometimes wouldn’t discover on an reasonably priced crossover. Amongst them are adaptive cruise management and a panoramic glass sunroof.

The mannequin additionally has a number of normal security options together with Computerized Emergency Braking, Entrance Pedestrian Braking and Lane Hold Help with Lane Departure Warning. They’re joined by Ahead Collision Alert, IntelliBeam Headlights, a Rear Imaginative and prescient Digicam and a Rear Seat Reminder.

Prospects can get further driver help methods together with the aforementioned adaptive cruise management. Different choices embrace Rear Park Help, Rear Cross Visitors Alert and Lane Change Alert with Aspect Blind Zone Alert.

Given the Trailblazer’s compact dimensions, the seats are just a little slim however in any other case comfy. Nevertheless, the large information is the roomy rear bench which might simply maintain two adults.

The rear seats supply a powerful 39.four inches (1,001 mm) of legroom and that’s loads of area for this 6’2” reviewer even with out transferring the entrance seat ahead. The mannequin additionally gives loads of headroom, even with the elective panoramic roof.

The sizable dimensions lengthen to the cargo compartment as there’s 25.Three cubic toes (716 liters) of room behind the second row. When folded down, there’s 54.four cubic toes (1,540 liters) of baggage room. Talking of folding seats, the entrance passenger seat could be folded flat and this permits the Trailblazer to haul gadgets which can be as much as 8.5 toes (2.6 meters) lengthy.

Small Crossover, Even Smaller Engines

Three-cylinder engines are fairly uncommon in america, however the Trailblazer gives two of them. The entry-level unit is a turbocharged 1.2-liter that produces 137 hp (102 kW / 139 PS) and 162 lb-ft (219 Nm) of torque. It’s related solely to a repeatedly variable transmission which sends energy to the entrance wheels.

Larger-end variants and all-wheel drive fashions come outfitted with a turbocharged 1.3-liter engine that develops 155 hp (115 kW / 157 PS) and 174 lb-ft (236 Nm) of torque. On front-wheel drive fashions it’s paired to a CVT, whereas all-wheel drive variants use a nine-speed computerized.

We drove a Trailblazer outfitted with a turbocharged 1.3-liter three-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive and a repeatedly variable transmission. The engine feels succesful sufficient round city however, with solely 155 hp (115 kW / 157 PS), you must hold your expectations in verify.  That being mentioned, the dearth of energy isn’t too noticeable till you merge onto the freeway.

Whereas we didn’t get an opportunity to check the entry-level 1.2-liter engine, you’ll in all probability wish to skip it. Regardless of the seemingly small energy distinction of 18 hp (13 kW / 18 PS) and 12 lb-ft (16 Nm) of torque, Chevrolet mentioned fashions outfitted with the bigger engine are “almost” two seconds quicker to 60 mph (96 km/h).

The bigger engine doesn’t have a lots on the pump both because it returns an EPA-estimated 29 mpg metropolis, 33 mpg freeway and 31 mpg mixed with front-wheel drive. That’s barely higher than the entry-level 1.2-liter engine which is available in at 28 mpg metropolis, 31 mpg freeway and 29 mpg mixed. After all, all-wheel drive variants are the thirstiest as they’re rated at 26 mpg metropolis, 30 mpg freeway and 28 mpg mixed.

Whereas repeatedly variable transmissions are sometimes appeared down upon, Chevy’s CVT operated seamlessly and with out fuss.  After all, should you’re useless set towards it, you may get all-wheel drive and a nine-speed computerized.

The crossover’s cease/begin system isn’t as unnoticeable because the gearbox, but it surely stops the engine to assist to save lots of gas. It rumbles again to life pretty rapidly, however isn’t precisely the smoothest or quietest affair.

Crossovers aren’t sports activities automobiles and that’s mirrored within the driving expertise. The Trailblazer is comparatively nimble as a result of its small measurement, however driving it isn’t significantly rewarding. The dealing with is protected, safe and predictable, however there isn’t a lot sense of sportiness.

The identical could be mentioned of the steering which is a bit lifeless. Nevertheless, there’s a sport mode which adjustments the steering effort and shifting for a “sportier really feel and response.” It’s joined by regular and snow modes, with the latter offering a “extra progressive throttle enter for improved car acceleration on snow- and ice-covered roads.”

When it comes time to cease, the Trailblazer has a succesful braking system with 4 discs that measure 16 inches (300 mm) entrance and 15 inches (264 mm) rear. They initially felt a contact grabby, however they’re tremendous after a fast studying curve.

One among few disappointing issues concerning the Trailblazer is its lower than stellar journey high quality. In most conditions, the crossover is comfy however even reasonable street imperfections make their presence identified.  That being mentioned, Michigan roads are removed from supreme and the expertise isn’t too harsh.

A Good Mixture Of Dimension And Worth

Whereas the world in all probability doesn’t want one other crossover, the Trailblazer solves Chevrolet’s Goldilocks downside. The mannequin isn’t too small or too massive, however good. The crossover additionally gives good gas financial system scores, a spacious inside and upscale options.

Throw in a beginning value of lower than $20,000 and it’s straightforward to see why the Trailblazer is so interesting. After all, there are some tough spots however they’re largely forgivable given the worth.

Talking of prices, our tester stickered at almost $31,000. Nevertheless, you may get a well-equipped mannequin for round $27,000. That’s not precisely low-cost, however that’s the purpose of the Trailblazer within the first place – being reasonably priced with out making too many compromises.

Image credit: Michael Gauthier for Carscoops

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