Competition crams the small SUV segment. And of all the contenders, the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer and 2021 Jeep Compass aren’t exactly at the top of their class. But if you had to choose between these two subcompact crossovers, you might find one is better than the other.
And if you look past these two models, you might discover several others that could satisfy you more.
What the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer does better
Right off the bat, the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer does a better job with fuel efficiency than the Jeep Compass. With the 1.2- or 1.3-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, the latest Trailblazer models get more miles per gallon than the Compass.
But with the Trailblazer’s 1.2-liter engine, you’re stuck with front-wheel drive. However, it gets 28 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. The 1.3-liter engine gets 29/33 mpg with FWD but slides back to 26/30 mpg with all-wheel drive, MotorTrend reports.
The Compass, which has a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, gets 22/31 mpg with FWD and 22/30 mpg with AWD.
The Chevy has the edge in cabin quality too. Though it might not look roomy from the outside, the interior is surprisingly spacious. The Trailblazer has more headroom in the front and more legroom in the second row than the Compass. However, the Chevy doesn’t have storage spaces throughout the cabin for personal items, nor does it have as much cargo space as the Compass.
The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer is more attractively priced. It starts at only $19,995. You can even move up a trim level to the LS for $22,595 and still pay less than you would be the base-model Compass, starting at $23,915. And in the higher trims, the Trailblazer still offers a better price, making it overall less expensive of the two.
What the 2021 Jeep Compass does better
Neither of these SUVs would win the Baja 1000. But the 2021 Compass is a Jeep, so it offers at least light off-roading capabilities. The base model won’t help you much off the pavement, but the Trailhawk edition packs the equipment for the occasion.
The Compass Trailhawk model offers an array of off-roading features. They include all-terrain tires, off-roading modes, a low-range setting for the transmission, and a suspension lift. As the MT team points out, the other Compass models with AWD also handle low-traction situations quite well. While the Trailhawk can go off-pavement, it’s not the best choice if you want an SUV for that purpose.
The Trailblazer may have the edge with a better interior. But the Compass offers more space for cargo. It has 27.2 cubic feet of space behind the second row, MotorTrend reports. With those seats down, cargo capacity increases to 59.8 cubic feet.
The 2021 Jeep Compass offers a better-quality ride. It’s not as stiff as the Trailblazer and better insulates its occupants from road imperfections. As a result, the Compass also has less noise in its cabin.
Other small SUVs to consider
But at the end of the day, neither the Jeep Compass nor the Chevy Trailblazer is best in class.
If you want a great all-around subcompact SUV, consider the 2021 Hyundai Kona or 2021 Mazda CX-30. U.S. News ranks the Kona first in its class for its high-quality cabin, composed ride, impressive standard features, and great infotainment system.
U.S. News‘s reviewers also like the 2021 Mazda CX-30 for its space and abundant standard tech and safety features. They also appreciate that it’s fast and fun to drive.
And if you’re bent on getting a Jeep and want better off-roading chops than the Compass, consider the 2020 Renegade, starting at $22,375. U.S. News ranks the Renegade Trailhawk model among “The Best Off-Road SUVs in 2021.”
And, finally, if you have the budget, you could go the luxury route with the subcompact Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, starting at $42,650. It gives you a choice of two potent four-cylinder engines and one a mild hybrid configuration. With a carefully considered wading depth and ground clearance, along with a four-wheel-drive setup and various terrain-driving modes, the Evoque can tackle many surfaces. It also has a surround-view camera with enhanced visibility for whatever situations you encounter.