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There are many advantages to owning a subcompact SUV. These vehicles are perfect for first-time drivers or commuters who want a little extra space during their travel time.  They are affordable, easy to handle, and generally deliver impressive fuel economy. The 2021 Honda HR-V and the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer are somewhat popular choices in the segment, especially with the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer debuting this year. There isn’t much to hate about this class of vehicles, except for one thing. 

The subcompact sector is incredibly overcrowded. So much so that it’s challenging to sift through the noise to find vehicles worth the test drive. How does one even begin to choose between so many different offerings of seemingly similar models? In the case of the 2021 Honda HR-V and the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer, the proof is in the value. 

What makes the 2021 Honda HR-V and the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer stand out among the crowd? Let’s take a look at what these models have to offer, deciphering whether these SUVs are worth the cash. 

Does the 2021 Honda HR-V stand out from the pack? 

A blue 2021 Honda HR-V driving in the city
The 2021 Honda HR-V in action | Photo via Honda

The HR-V is a very typical subcompact SUV, as it fits most of the stereotypes of its class. It has a relatively lackluster four-cylinder engine, making only 141 hp. However, it achieves impressive gas mileage, rated at an EPA-estimated 30 MPG city/highway combined.

The 2021 Honda HR-V also fails to stand out in a crowded parking lot. It has a reasonably safe and reserved design, unlike the bolder 2021 Chevy Trailblazer. The HR-V’s appearance won’t put off most buyers, but they won’t be mesmerized by it, either.

Meanwhile, the 2021 Honda HR-V is affordable, making it a desirable option for frugal shoppers. But its low cost comes at a price. It lacks features that come standard in many competing vehicles, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

And unlike most Hondas, its base trim is devoid of notable driver-assistance features aside from a rearview camera. Instead, you must upgrade to the mid-tier EX trim level, which has a starting MSRP of $24,220, to gain access to the Honda Sensing package. This assortment of tech includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and much more.

Does the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer have what it takes to be a breakout star? 

A red 2021 Chevy Trailblazer parked in a driveway
The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer on display | Photo via Chevrolet

The all-new Trailblazer has some potential. But like with most new products, the manufacturer has to work out the kinks. The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer comes standard with a 137-hp 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, which gets an EPA-estimated 29 MPG combined. Its available 1.3-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine isn’t much more powerful, only generating 155 hp. But it does increase the fuel-economy rating to 31 MPG combined, according to the EPA.

Some drivers may be disappointed that this subcompact SUV only offers three-cylinder engines. However, that’s not its most significant issue. Instead, their focus should be that the Trailblazer is quite loud, which could be off-putting to some drivers.

If you can get past these drawbacks, you’ll be treated to a pretty well-equipped vehicle. Unlike the 2021 Honda HR-V, the Trailblazer is decked out with standard driver-assistance technologies. These include forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, a teen driver system, and more. Plus, the Trailblazer comes standard with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot to boot.

The final verdict

There are so many subcompact SUVs to choose from, so it can be difficult to make the right choice. Those who are dead set on buying either the 2021 Honda HR-V or 2021 Chevy Trailblazer will likely be better off with the latter, as its standard safety systems are too important to ignore.

However, most buyers would be better off choosing one of the segment leaders, such as the Hyundai Kona, Kia Soul, or Mazda CX-30.


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