2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer Review: Perfect for One Kind of Driver

I understand that as someone who reviews cars for a living, I am a bit spoiled. I get it. However, with that said, I do tend to have a decent finger on the pulse of the market and, as such, where most vehicles fit into it. After a week of Driving the 2022 Chevy Trailblazer, It started as a shapeless, mild, and unremarkable crossover that didn’t seem to have a place in the market. Crossovers by this description number in what feels like the trillions these days. However, upon further rumination, I might have been wrong.

2022 Chevy Trailblazer on long country road
2022 Chevy Trailblazer | MotorBiscuit: Peter Corn

I’m not saying it’s bad. It isn’t. In fact, it’s probably ok, or maybe even good. However, as previously mentioned, I am a spoiled blowhard. So, I had to sit and think about it without my snobby hat on. And, friends, I am pleased to report that I figured it out. Like Ariana Grande – or whatever the young people are into these days – I don’t have to love the 2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer to see the value it has. Again, like Ariana Grande, I think the 2022 Chevy Trailblazer is probably great for young drivers. 

Is the 2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer a good car? 

A few 2022 Chevy Trailblazer models parked next to one another. Choosing the best trim is easy with the LT model.
2022 Chevy Trailblazer | Chevrolet

The 2022 Chevy Trailblazer is one of those vehicles that the old folks like myself will simply have to keep their mouths shut about. Yes, it shares a name with the beloved (and very different) Trailblazers of decades long ago, but that will just have to be ok. Things change.

Consumer Reports named it the third-best subcompact SUV. It ranked perfectly on predicted reliability, high for fuel economy, and it’s safe. In those ways, the new joint is a massive improvement on the older, cooler Trailblazers.

The point is, without the old Trailblazer’s shadow looming, the 2022 Trailblazer is a fine crossover and frankly reminds me a lot of the ‘90s cars that my friends and I grew up driving. Once I started looking at it through that lens, I suddenly stopped fussing about the Trailblazer and instead saw a friendly little box with four wheels that needs nothing more than windows that roll down, a loud stereo, and enough room for friends. 

What is a good SUV for young drivers? 

Can the 2022 Chevy Trailblazer actually blaze trails? Is this subcompact SUV capable of driving off-road?
2022 Chevy Trailblazer off-road | Chevrolet

There are only two aspects of a car that really matter for new drivers; safety and fuel economy. New drivers don’t often have the skill and awareness of seasoned drivers; as such, they might benefit from having a safer car. Fuel economy is also key for young drivers who are eager to cover ground but may not have the fat pockets to cover it in a V8.

The 2022 Trailblazer not only received a Top Safety Pick Plus from IIHS but also comes with some helpful driver assistance features. 

Forward collision warning and city speed automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection are standard. Blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic warning are available in an option package. Owners can even pay a monthly subscription of $24.99/month for OnStar Crash notification. 

What’s a cheap SUV for teen drivers? 

Finding a cheap car or SUV is nearly impossible these days. The days of grabbing a ‘99 Honda Civic with 40,000 miles for $4,000 are long gone. Seeing as how the used car prices have skyrocketed, you might as well entertain the idea of a new car. 

As far as new SUVs go, there isn’t much to be had under $20k these days. The world has moved on, but given the situation we have, the 2022 Chevy Trailblazer is one of the better options that still falls into the modern version of “cheap.” 

The 2022 Trailblazer starts at $21,800 and tops out at $27,400. The interior is just as plain as you could ever want to see. The seats are covered in a sort of practical synthetic fiber mixture, the dash and door inserts have a slight splash of style, and the dash is vast and blank. All that said, the 200-mile round trip I took from NYC to Peekskill and back was far more comfortable than the interior looks.

For a 40-year-old commuting to work every day, this car might, as it did for me, become boring to drive. However, for a young teenage driver, there is no such thing as a boring car. The evidence is piling up. 

Is the new Trailblazer fast? 

I want to be quite clear on this point; no. The Trailblazer’s 155-hp 1.3-liter turbocharged engine is certainly nervous-parent-approved. It will take 9.5 seconds to go from 0-60 mph. However, it is a good engine. It accelerates smoothly, it’s not too noisy, and it only sips fuel. Just don’t expect too much when you put your foot down. If that 1.3-liter powerplant is still, somehow, a little snappy for your young one, Chevrolet would like to present you with an even friendlier 137-hp 1.2-liter turbo pot. Even though the engine options are not exactly fun, they are efficient. The 2022 Trailblazer gets a combined 27 mpg. That’s that, “we’re goin’ drivin’ on a Friday night” gas mileage.

However, the handling could use a little tweaking. Again, in a model like this, expecting sharp handling probably isn’t realistic. The handling feels a bit mushy, but the body remains stiff at the same time. It isn’t the best feel, but the young drivers might be better off having a crossover that requires slower cornering. That said, it tested well with Consumer Reports from emergency handling and braking.

Should you buy your teen a 2022 Chevy Trailblazer?

Buying your child’s first car is a big decision. There are many factors at play, all deserving equal weight. Research is the best way to find the right fit for you and your family, but the 2022 Chevy Trailblazer is a good place to start the hunt. It’s a little mundane, unremarkable in most ways mechanically, and not super thrilling to drive. However, more importantly, the Trailblazer is also safe, reliable, spacious, easy to drive, and cheap(ish). 

As much as I disliked driving the Trailblazer as a stuffy adult, I still regularly miss bopping around with all four windows down and Zapp and Rodger on the CD player in my pal’s 1993 Honda Accord. Like the Trailblazer, it was unremarkable in every way on paper. However, if you were to ask any one of us at the time, it – along with my ‘95 Toyota Camry – may as well have been Ferraris. As far as we were concerned, they were the most remarkable cars in the universe because our parents let us have them.

In 20 years, I won’t be surprised to find plenty of middle-aged folks who occasionally fantasize about their “old” Chevy Trailblazer; windows down, buddies piling in, and blasting Ariana Grande, or whatever. 

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