One of the latest entries in the overloaded subcompact SUV category is the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer. Designed to slide in between the smaller Chevy Trax and the slightly larger Equinox, the Trailblazer is looking to make a comeback to its former glory and popularity.
It’s been out of the picture since 2009, and Trailblazer fans were enthusiastic about its reboot. But the critics, like CNET, are weighing in, and upon the first look at this comeback SUV, some are suggesting Chevy didn’t do enough to make the splash it was hoping the Trailblazer would make.
Meet the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer
The Trailblazer of yesterday was boxy, beefy, and a workhorse with its formerly available V8 and rear-wheel drive. But the 2021 Trailblazer is venturing away from its rugged past.
Today, it is a gentler version of its old self. Choose from four available trims, including the LS, LT, Activ, and RS, and ride on the same platform as the Buick Encore. Under the hood, the Trailblazer offers a 1.2-liter turbo I3 married to a continuously variable transmission. Or you can select the 1.3-liter turbo I3 with either the CVT or the nine-speed automatic transmission.
The new Chevy Trailblazer gets plenty of details right
The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer’s style is ringing true with critics. Many like the dual-port grille and sculpted hood. The performance is sporty and effortless, especially with the 155 horses pumping from that 1.3-liter I3. Fuel efficiency is maximized with today’s engine configurations, with EPA combined ratings of 28 mpg.
The Trailblazer gets the safety and tech right, too, including the standard Chevy Safety Assist package that brings must-have driver aids like lane-keeping assist, front pedestrian braking, and forward-collision warning. In most reviews offered so far, no one contends that the Trailblazer isn’t an overall subcompact SUV contender. But some aspects of the new crossover certainly lack the wow-factor.
Not impressive enough to separate from the pack
In the CNET review of the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer, the critics point out a few notable areas of mediocrity. For example, some driver assistance features like adaptive cruise and blind-spot monitoring are only available as add-on packages.
Those come standard with competitors like the Kia Seltos and the Toyota CH-R. The Trailblazer’s engine is peppy for sure, but some reviews say the downshifting can be slow.
The sentiment from Car and Driver is that looks and style will only carry a vehicle so far. The Trailblazer is meeting the basic necessities of today’s subcompact buyer, but it may not be enough to win enthusiasts away from their other brands.
Pricing ranges will help make your decision
The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer is priced within the ranges of others in the space. It starts at $19,995, making it quite affordable. But to get the features you need, you’ll have to bump up trim levels and start adding on packages with price tags.
The LT starts at $25,600 and can turn into well over $28,000 when tacking on extras. At those rates, consumers might be better off finding a Nissan Kicks or Honda HR-V for the same equipment and thousands to spare.
The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer won’t disappoint, and there’s something special about the looks, feels, and driving dynamics. But it may not be enough pizzazz to win everyone over. And there’s plenty of subcompact SUVs from which to choose, as the segment is continuously being crowded with worthy contenders.
You might find a better value in one of the Trailblazer’s competitors. But in the end, it will depend on what you need from your crossover. And you may just absolutely adore its new look enough to park one in your garage this year.