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Chevy Trailblazer returns in new, more compact form Featured

Posted On Monday, 19 July 2021 23:30 Written by
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The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer is another compact SUV offering from the automaker, one that is affordable and well-designed. The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer is another compact SUV offering from the automaker, one that is affordable and well-designed. Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

If there’s one thing Chevy does not lack for, it’s SUVs.

From the tiny Trax to the massive Suburban, there’s a grand total of seven offerings in their SUV range, so they have something at literally every size and capability level.

One of the newer entries in that list brings the return of a familiar nameplate — the Trailblazer.

No, it’s not the same as the old TrailBlazer, which was a larger SUV from 2001 through 2008, which eventually morphed into the Traverse model.

More than a decade later, the name is back (minus the capital “B”), but this time as another compact SUV option. It slots in between the smaller Trax and larger Equinox in the Chevy lineup, and I recently got the chance to spend some time in a Trailblazer to see how it stands up in today’s crowded vehicle marketplace.


The 2021 Trailblazer offers the typical, short-but-cute yet slightly aggressive design of many modern compact crossovers. My test vehicle was highlighted by an attractive scarlet red metallic paint scheme, and some sharp sidelines that added to its profile. I wouldn’t call it a beauty pageant winner vs. the competition, but it would advance to the later rounds.

Exterior highlights on my test vehicle included: 18-inch high gloss black machined aluminum wheels (NOTE: 16, 17 and 18 inch wheels are offered); LED tail lamps; Outside heated power adjustable mirrors, manual-folding; Dual exhaust outlets;  LED daytime running lamps; and RS lettering and black ornamentation.

The interior was jet black with red accents, and featured an attractive seating design and red trim throughout to maintain a theme.

Inside the Trailblazer, you get mostly a spacious cabin for the segment, though the back seat is a bit tight. Decent quality materials are used throughout, and it offers an easy-to-use setup for all the center screen and steering wheel controls. Max cargo volume is 25.3 cubic feet; 54.5 cubic feet with rear seats folded.

Interior highlights include a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a 40/60 split folding rear bench for storage versatility. I was a bit disappointed in the adjustability of the front seating, which didn’t seem to do much.


The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer I tested featured a 1.3-liter, turbo three-cylinder engine, paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission, that featured 155 horsepower and 174 lb.-ft. of torque. Base model gets a 1.2-liter turbo three-cylinder engine with 137 horsepower and 162 lb.-ft.

All-wheel drive is offered with the 1.3-liter engine, while only FWD comes with the 1.2-liter option.

Trailering is an option, but you can only tow up to 1,000 pounds, which isn’t much.

The driving experience in the 2021 Trailblazer is its weakest point. This little ride is slow to get up to speed, going well over 9 seconds for its 0-to-60 time. This makes merging onto the freeway or passing other cars a bit of a challenge.

On the positive side, once you are moving along, the ride in the Trailblazer is quite smooth and comfortable, though i would recommend Chevy upgrades the engine offerings if it keeps the Trailblazer around long-term in its SUV lineup.

The small Trailblazer is quite nimble, handles decently and corners and brakes well. But the lack of power will turn off some potential buyers. 


GM vehicles tend to compete well in the technology sector, and the Trailblazer is no exception to that rule. Overall, the Trailblazer offers a strong infotainment system that reacts exactly as it should to both voice and touch commands.

It’s quite easy to connect your phone to the vehicle for streaming music and calls to the vehicle, and there is wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability for phone mirroring.

Keyless entry and keyless start are featured, and OnStar services can make your night easier or get you out of a jam. 4G LTE WiFi service is also available.

The Technology Package in the Trailblazer features an 8-inch color touchscreen, wireless charging, adaptive cruise control, a 7-speaker Bose premium audio system, HD Rear Vision Camera and more.

There are also an impressive amount of safety features for a compact SUV, which will help keep you and your family safer.

The optional but very affordable Driver Confidence package, for example, will get you Rear Park Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert.

The Chevy Safety Assist package, which is standard, will get you: Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, and Forward Collision Alert. Also standard is the Tire Pressure Monitor System.

Also, the Trailblazer features excellent government safety ratings, with a 5-star overall rating that is rarely achieved.

Teen Driver System, another option, helps to monitor driving habits of your young drivers even when you aren’t with them. It’s an innovative feature that families with young drivers will appreciate.


Official fuel mileage numbers on the AWD Trailblazer, with the 1.3-liter engine, are 26 city/30 highway/28 combined. In my real-world testing, I averaged around 26 mpg, which is quite efficient for this size vehicle — which competes against the likes of the Mazda CX-30, Hyundai Kona and Kia Seltos, among many others.

As far as the other powertrain offerings, fuel mileage with the FWD version of the Trailblazer is 29 city/33 highway with the 1.3-liter engine, and 28 city/31 highway with the 1.2-liter engine.


My trimmed-out RS model test vehicle was priced at nearly $31,000; but the base price starts at a much more affordable $20K, which is pretty hard to beat. I would recommend landing somewhere in the middle, so you’re not getting the most bare-bones offering but also aren’t shelling out for features you may not need.

Warranties include a 3-year/36K-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty, a 5-year/60K-mile powertrain limited warranty, roadside assistance and courtesy transportation. 


A celebrated nameplate returning in a new and more compact form, the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer is yet another compact SUV option for people looking for something affordable in this popular segment. 

While it doesn’t knock your socks off in terms of power, there’s enough to like about the Trailblazer’s design and its tech/safety features that will keep it on the list of options for compact SUV shoppers.

----- can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2021 Chevy Trailblazer 
  • Price as tested: $30,730 (starts around $20K)  
  • Best feature: Attractive design, strong tech features, affordability  
  • Rating: 3.5 out of five stars   
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Compact SUV buyers seeking a strong, affordable domestic option. 
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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