2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer: 7 Things We Like (and 4 Not So Much)

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Going cross-eyed over the number of crossovers on the market these days? Well, here’s one more: the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer.

Related: 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer Review: Hitting the Sweet Spot

In Chevy’s vast SUV lineup, the Trailblazer slots between the smaller Trax and the family-size Equinox. It competes with a host of other small SUVs, including the new Kia Seltos and the Hyundai Kona. It looks like ’em, too, from the “floating” roof down to the plastic cladding framing the wheel wells. The look may not exactly be blazing new trails, but the Trailblazer still has a few tricks up its sleeve.

For all the ins and outs, click the related link above for the comprehensive review by Cars.com’s Aaron Bragman. Or, peruse this quick-hits list below of pros and cons for a hotter take on the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer:

Things We Like

1. Fun to Drive

The pleasant driving experience comes down to the lively engine. Despite its modest output — 137 horsepower and 166 pounds-feet of torque out of the standard turbocharged 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine — the Trailblazer is great for zipping around the city. The car itself feels controlled, steering is responsive and the brakes are strong without being too aggressive.

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer

2. Gas Mileage

The 1.2-liter turbo gets an EPA-rated 28/31/29 mpg city/highway/combined. If you opt for the turbo 1.3-liter engine with the continuously variable automatic transmission, mileage tops out at 31 mpg combined. These numbers are on par with other SUVs in this segment, such as the Kia Seltos and the Honda HR-V.

3. Good Looking Exterior

Just because we think it looks like just about every other small SUV on the market doesn’t mean to suggest that it’s ugly. The squared-off shape, squinting headlights and rugged-look cladding are part of a design formula that is popular these days, and there’s a reason for that: It makes for a pretty attractive SUV.

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer

4. Cabin: Small but Comfy

The Trailblazer may not be big, but it utilizes the space it has pretty well. Legroom is plentiful, especially for the passengers in the back. Up front, the seats are smallish and somewhat firm, but still comfortable.

5. Safety No Longer Optional

The Chevy Safety Assist system comes standard, and it includes several features that were previously optional or only available in more expensive models. The standard system includes forward automatic emergency braking with front pedestrian detection, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, and a forward collision alert system.

6. Modern Multimedia Conveniences

The standard multimedia system comes with a 7-inch touchscreen. On upper trims, you can upgrade to an 8-inch screen and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer

7. Competitive Starting Price

The base Trailblazer L starts at $19,995 (including the destination fee), a sum similar to most of its competitors. For less than $20K, you get the 1.2-liter engine, a CVT and front-wheel drive.

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Things We Don’t

1. Hit-or-Miss Interior Materials

There is a lot of hard plastic in the cabin, but that’s not unusual for an SUV at this price point. Where Chevy did attempt to add some design flourishes, however, the intent is better than the execution: The dash and doors get molded “stitching” that’s supposed to look like sewn-in leather, but the fake stitches look a little uneven. (It should be noted that this quirk was present in an early model we drove and may be worked out as production advances.)

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer

2. Ride Quality at High Speeds

When you hit highway speeds, ride quality starts to drop off commensurately. Hitting anything but smooth pavement can be jarring.

3. Temperamental Transmission

The behavior of the optional nine-speed automatic transmission varies wildly depending on what Trailblazer you’re in. In one test vehicle, it seemed like it was tuned well to the small engine, and even its frequent shifting wasn’t that bothersome … but in another test vehicle, the same transmission felt slow to kick down, really cutting into the driving experience.

4. Not Worth It Fully Loaded

While the Trailblazer has an attractive starting price, as you start to climb up the ladder of trims, the value starts to dissipate. A lot of competitors are cheaper in the upper trims, and the optional engines you get in those models are more powerful than what the Trailblazer offers.

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