2021 Kia Seltos vs. Chevy Trailblazer: Small SUVs Get Ready To Rumble

Auto producers that haven’t entered the subcompact SUV class are lacking out on the fastest-growing phase within the automotive business. This can be a class that appeals to all kinds of customers starting from younger folks to the younger at coronary heart, and anybody searching for a cargo-friendly inexpensive automobile with that must-have SUV look. Heck, some automakers are so giddy over gross sales that they provide two entries within the class to present consumers extra choices. Living proof: Kia and Chevrolet. Each already provide the Soul and Trax, respectively, however they not too long ago added the marginally bigger 2021 Kia Seltos and Chevrolet Trailblazer to their lineups.

These two are on the bigger finish of the subcompact SUV spectrum, so-called ‘tweener automobiles which are larger than their rivals however are nonetheless too small to be thought of one-size-up compacts, which is the following dimension up. Most often, placing a automobile in between segments brings with it a number of compromises. So the query is: Do these two newcomers fall into that entice, or are they sturdy contenders? Most vital, which one is best?

Kia Seltos vs. Chevrolet Trailblazer: Dwelling Area

Not like most subcompact SUVs, which extra intently resemble barely lifted compact hatchbacks, the Seltos and Trailblazer are tall and upright. Each have raised seating positions and a commanding view of the highway. The sightlines are much like these in bigger SUVs, and the view out is great because of massive home windows—not less than within the Seltos. The Trailblazer’s rear and rear facet home windows are barely smaller because of the gigantic C-pillars.

As a result of they’re barely bigger than your common subcompact SUV, the Seltos and Trailblazer provide beneficiant seating up entrance and within the rear. Two 6-foot adults can sit behind one another. Even the middle place can accommodate average-sized adults on brief journeys. These in entrance, nevertheless, will seemingly discover the facet help missing within the Trailblazer due to the flat, slim seat backs. Each the Seltos and Trailblazer are sensible for his or her dimension. The latter provides additional flexibility by way of a fold-flat entrance passenger seat, whereas the previous is best packaged with its squared-off cabin that gives extra usable house when the rear seats are up. The Trailblazer’s sloping rear window cuts into the cargo space, limiting the kind of gadgets you possibly can carry when you’ve greater than two passengers.

The Seltos’ match and end is a step above the Trailblazer’s. Aside from the armrests, exhausting plastics are in every single place. That might be superb if our Trailblazer check automobile value round $25,000 as a substitute of $32,350, a big $2,865 greater than the Kia. The Seltos’ cabin is a reasonable inside performed correctly. You discover a good mixture of exhausting and delicate surfaces, however none of it feels low-cost or chintzy. Editor-in-chief Mark Rechtin describes them as sturdy supplies that can have the ability to endure each day use. Quibbles? Each SUVs undergo from extreme quantities of exterior noise coming into the cabin. Nonetheless, the Trailblazer’s inside is the louder of the 2 due to an excessive amount of tire slapping and wind buffeting.

Kia Seltos vs. Chevrolet Trailblazer: Tech and Security

Subcompact SUVs are filled with user-friendly tech to broaden their attraction. Each the Seltos and Trailblazer get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility as normal together with 8.0- and a 7.0-inch touchscreens, respectively. You possibly can improve the Seltos’ show to a 10.3-inch unit within the SX Turbo mannequin like our tester and the Trailblazer’s to an 8.0-inch one. Sure variations of the Trailblazer, like our RS AWD check automobile, get wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Sadly, they stored slicing out whereas we have been utilizing them. The Seltos nonetheless requires cords if you would like Google or Siri to take over multimedia duties, nevertheless it makes up for this with clearer graphics and better responsiveness. Though each the Seltos and Trailblazer can be found with a Bose audio system, the previous’s is clearer and distributes sound extra evenly all through the cabin. The model within the Chevy is biased towards entrance occupants and doesn’t immerse the cabin in music.

Chevrolet has made some collision prevention applied sciences normal. Ahead collision warning, pedestrian detection, entrance automated emergency braking, lane preserving help, and automated high-beams are included even in probably the most fundamental model of the Trailblazer. Kia requires you to decide on the FWD Seltos S to get those self same options. The LX, which has AWD normal, doesn’t get any lively security tech. If you need blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise management, you should select one of many increased trims on each automobiles and add an elective package deal within the case of the Trailblazer.

Kia continues to show its mastery of worth by taking the identical driver help applied sciences within the Telluride and placing them within the smaller, extra price-sensitive Seltos. Adaptive cruise management presents spectacular ranges of accuracy, leaving simply the correct quantity of distance between you and the automobile forward, one thing the Trailblazer’s system doesn’t do. Rechtin complimented Kia’s lane preserving help, which works extra like a lane centering system and even provides you an early warning so as to add extra steering enter if the automobile can’t full the flip by itself. As compared, the Trailblazer’s older system bounces you backwards and forwards between the lane strains.

Kia Seltos vs. Chevrolet Trailblazer: Highway Manners

A superb driving expertise is essential to a well-rounded automobile, even inexpensive ones like subcompact SUVs. The Trailblazer, with its Camaro- and Blazer-inspired appears to be like, screams “I’m enjoyable.” When you drive it, you instantly notice it’s not. The 155-hp turbocharged 1.3-liter inline-three-cylinder engine struggles to encourage the Trailblazer.

“The engine doesn’t really ship energy commensurate with all of the growling it’s making,” Rechtin stated. “I might really feel very nervous passing someone going uphill because of the lack of energy.”

Though the nine-speed automated is responsive, it all the time desires to go to the best gear, continuously kicking the engine out of its slim powerband. On the check monitor, the shortage of pace turns into most evident. The Trailblazer hit 60 mph in 9.Three seconds and the quarter mile in 17.Zero seconds at 80.5 mph.

The Kia Seltos boasts superior efficiency, because of the 175-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder and seven-speed dual-clutch automated, the Seltos hit 60 mph in 7.Four seconds and the quarter mile in 15.9 seconds at 86.9 mph. Going up a hill and passing on the freeway are a breeze because of the peppy engine. The gearbox, although smoother than earlier than, nonetheless hesitates barely at low speeds. Affiliate on-line editor Nick Yekikian additionally complained that the transmission holds gears too lengthy.

When it’s time to cease, the Seltos halts from 60 mph in 117 ft, Four ft shorter than the Trailblazer. Good pedal really feel provides the motive force confidence throughout exhausting braking within the Seltos.

Superior trip and dealing with traits additional separate the Seltos from the Trailblazer. “Honey, I shrunk the Telluride!” Rechtin proclaimed, referring to Kia’s bigger mid-size three-row SUV and 2020 MotorTrend SUV of the Year. Snug and composed, the Seltos exudes assured highway manners. Along with communicative steering, good physique management, and agile dealing with, you get a well-rounded subcompact SUV. That is mirrored on the restrict, the place the Seltos generated 0.82 common g of lateral grip on the skidpad and lapped the figure-eight course in 27.Four seconds at 0.63 common g. The Trailblazer’s uneven trip tosses you round over highway imperfections and growth joints. Additional ruining the Trailblazer’s driving expertise are sloppy dealing with and poorly calibrated steering, which Yekikian discovered tended to snap out of your arms and again to middle.

Kia Seltos vs. Chevrolet Trailblazer: The Verdict

Though the Trailblazer is an enchancment over Chevrolet’s earlier effort, the Trax, it hasn’t totally found out the subcompact SUV system but. Too many shortcomings stop the Trailblazer from turning into a category chief in a subcompact house, which is occupied by automobiles from automakers which have been within the phase longest. Kia is one in all them, and the expertise reveals once you drive its newest SUV.

The Kia Seltos prevailing in opposition to the Chevrolet Trailblazer shouldn’t shock anybody. Higher inside packaging and high quality, nice highway manners, and superior tech options reveal the Seltos to be the stronger entry. You don’t sacrifice a lot by going to a smaller automobile; you get all the pieces you need after which some. Even should you go for a midlevel S or EX mannequin, you continue to get a beneficiant record of normal gear, together with normal all-wheel drive, and the bottom 146-hp 2.0-liter engine nonetheless presents good energy. The truth that Kia has managed to maintain the value tag in examine is simply the cherry on high.

2nd Place: 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer RS AWD

A greater second effort from Chevrolet, full with a throwback nameplate. Sadly, it doesn’t drive that effectively, and the supplies high quality may very well be higher, particularly for the as-tested value.

1st Place: 2021 Kia Seltos SX Turbo AWD

One of the vital well-rounded subcompact SUVs, providing house, energy, agreeable highway manners, and wonderful tech options at an important worth.

POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer RS AWD 2021 Kia Seltos SX Turbo T-GDI
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Entrance-engine, AWD Entrance-engine, AWD
ENGINE TYPE Turbocharged I-3, alum block/head Turbocharged I-4, alum block/head
VALVETRAIN DOHC, 16 valves/cyl DOHC, Four valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 81.6 cu in/1,338 cc 97.1 cu in/1,591 cc
POWER (SAE NET) 155 hp @ 5,600 rpm 175 hp @ 6,000 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 174 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm 195 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm
REDLINE 6,800 rpm 6,500 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 21.6 lb/hp 18.5 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION 9-speed automated 7-speed twin-clutch auto
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.17:1/1.97:1 4.63:1 (1st, 2nd, 4th, fifth), 3.61:1 (third, sixth, seventh, R)/2.58:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; torsion beam, coil springs Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar
STEERING RATIO 15.4:1 12.8:1
BRAKES, F; R 11.8-in vented disc; 10.4-in disc, ABS 16.0-in vented disc; 15.0-in disc, ABS
WHEELS 7.5 x 18-in forged aluminum 7.5 x 18-in forged aluminum
TIRES 225/55R18 98H (M+S) Hankook Kinergy GT 235/45R18 94V Kumo Majesty 9 Solus TA91
WHEELBASE 103.9 in 103.5 in
TRACK, F/R 60.9/61.Three in 62.0/62.Four in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 173.5 x 71.2 x 65.7 in 172.Zero x 70.9 x 63.6 in
GROUND CLEARANCE 7.7 in 7.Three in
APPRCH/DEPART ANGLE 17.8/27.7 deg 28.0/28.Zero deg
TURNING CIRCLE 37.Four ft 34.Eight ft
CURB WEIGHT 3,349 lb 3,243 lb
WEIGHT DIST, F/R 60/40% 59/41%
TOWING CAPACITY 1,000 lb Not rated
HEADROOM, F/R 38.3/36.Eight in 40.0/38.Four in
LEGROOM, F/R 40.9/39.Four in 41.4/38.Zero in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 55.4/53.Eight in 55.5/54.7 in
CARGO VOLUME BEH F/R 54.4/25.Three cu ft 62.8/26.6 cu ft
0-30 2.9 sec 2.7 sec
0-40 4.4 3.9
0-50 6.7 5.6
0-60 9.3 7.4
0-70 12.5 9.9
0-80 16.9 13.1
0-90 21.9 17.2
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 5.3 3.9
QUARTER MILE 17.Zero sec @ 80.5 mph 15.9 sec @ 86.9 mph
BRAKING, 60-Zero MPH 121 ft 117 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.80 g (avg) 0.82 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.Three sec @ 0.57 g (avg) 27.Four sec @ 0.63 g (avg)
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,750 rpm 2,000 rpm
BASE PRICE $27,995 $29,010
PRICE AS TESTED $32,350 $29,485
AIRBAGS 10: Twin entrance, f/r facet, f/r curtain, entrance knee 6: Twin entrance, entrance facet, f/r curtain
BASIC WARRANTY Three yrs/36,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles 10 yrs/100,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles
FUEL CAPACITY 13.2 gal 13.2 gal
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 26/30/28 mpg 25/30/27 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 130/112 kW-hrs/100 miles 135/112 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.70 lb/mile 0.72 lb/mile
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded common Unleaded common


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