2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer: SUV Carries Torch for Past, Fired Up for Future

chevrolet-trailblazer-activ-2021-01-angle--brown--exterior--front.jpg 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer | Manufacturer image

Competes with: Hyundai Kona, Nissan Rogue Sport, Subaru Crosstrek, coming Kia Seltos

Looks like: Chevy Blazer meets Hyundai Venue

Powertrain: Turbocharged 1.2-liter or turbocharged 1.3-liter engines with up to 155 horsepower; continuously variable automatic transmission or optional nine-speed automatic transmission; front or selectable all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Spring 2020

Chevrolet has found an unfilled niche in its lineup twixt Trax and Equinox, and it’s filling it with a new small SUV bearing the retro Trailblazer badge used until 2009 for rugged truck-based SUVs. But this is not that — the new 2021 Trailblazer unveiled at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show is a car-based, city-size SUV that Chevy says will start “under $20,000.”

Related: More 2019 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

Shop the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer near you

2019 Chevrolet Blazer Premier
27,107 mi.
$28,700 $800 price drop
Great Deal | $1,548 under
2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS
44,035 mi.
Good Deal

That is likely to mean over $20,000, including a destination charge, for the base model and push into the mid-20s or higher for nicer trim levels. The new SUV also is aimed to be a younger, sportier and more upscale urban SUV than the humble Trax. But that space is getting more crowded with such small SUVs as Hyundai’s Kona, the Nissan Rogue Sport and the new Kia Seltos, along with SUV-like hatchbacks without all-wheel drive such as Toyota’s C-HR. Chevrolet offered only sparse details on the coming Trailblazer, but said more spec and pricing information would be offered closer to the expected launch in the spring.


The new Trailblazer picks up some style cues from the Camaro-influenced mid-size Blazer SUV, particularly with the two-level grille and front end. And Chevrolet describes the rear end as “sports-car-inspired.” Like the Blazer, it seems designed more for sportiness than SUV-ness.

Chevy is promising trim packages in both sporty and adventurous flavors, however. It says that the Trailblazer will get one of the brand’s RS performance appearance trim levels with a mesh grille and a sportier bumper, as well as a two-tone roof. But there also will be a new Activ (its spelling, not ours) trim level with its own front and rear bumpers, chunkier tires and a two-tone roof.


Like the Blazer, the Trailblazer has a dual-cockpit-style dashboard, and the center console is configurable for different storage needs. The multimedia touchscreen is powered by Chevy’s latest system, and smartphone integration and satellite radio capability are standard.

The backseat has a 40/60-split, folding seatback. Cargo room behind the rear seat was not specified, but Chevy says space with the seatbacks folded is a competitive 54.4 cubic feet. A hands-free power liftgate will be optional.

Under the Hood

Chevrolet has not provided details on the engines except to say that Trailblazer will offer a turbocharged 1.2-liter or turbo 1.3-liter with “up to 155 horsepower.” Both engines are paired with a standard continuously variable automatic transmission. A nine-speed automatic is optional for Trailblazers with the 1.3-liter engine and all-wheel-drive options.

As with the bigger Blazer and Traverse, the Trailblazer uses a selectable all-wheel drive that the driver can choose to engage or not. And all Trailblazers offer Normal, Snow and Sport drive mode settings.


Still unusual for Chevrolet but increasingly common with other brands, all Trailblazer trims will have standard safety tech that includes a front collision system with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, and a rear-seat reminder. Available as options are adaptive cruise control and a blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Photo of Fred Meier
Former D.C. Bureau Chief Fred Meier, who lives every day with Washington gridlock, has an un-American love of small wagons and hatchbacks. Email Fred Meier

Latest expert reviews