Trucks & SUVs

Why the New Chevy Trailblazer Won’t Rival the Jeep Wrangler or Ford Bronco

Details have emerged about the new 2021 Chevy Trailblazer which will be available this spring. With a name like Trailblazer, you might expect an SUV with real off-road prowess that can run with Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler. But the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer is not what its name suggests.

History of the Chevy Trailblazer

The Chevy Blazer goes back half a century. Debuting in 1969, it was in production and loved by many until the arrival of Chevy’s Tahoe in 1995. Chevrolet resurrected it in 2002, renaming it Trailblazer. For the next seven years, it enjoyed great popularity until it was again replaced, this time by the Chevy Traverse.

The new Trailblazers will show up in showrooms sometime in the spring of 2020. More details about the trim levels and pricing will be available closer to time. With its wealth of safety features, new appearance, and affordable price tag, Chevy may have a contender in the small SUV segment. What can we look forward to with this new SUV?

The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer: an entry-level SUV

Consumer Reports explains that the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer will be somewhere between the Equinox and Trax. With the substantial growth in the small SUV segment, Chevy made the decision to offer another vehicle in its lineup to get in on the demand.

The Chevy Trailblazer has returned but as an entry-level SUV for the car-based small crossover segment. While folks may have expected a mid-size truck-based SUV, the new Trailblazer presents a subcompact that’s a little bigger than the Chevy Trax. And it has a starting price of under $20,000.

The Trailblazer will offer two turbocharged three-cylinder engines like it’s sibling the Buick Encore GX. The standard 1.2-liter engine gets 137 horsepower and just 162 lb-ft of torque like the Buick.

The standard 1.2-liter engine comes with a continuously variable transmission. Those models are strictly front-wheel drive. The 1.3-liter models have the option of all-wheel-drive paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The Trailblazer gets some standard driver-assist features like automated emergency braking, forward-collision warning, and lane-keeping assist. You can get adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring as options. It’s said to have 54 cubic feet with a 60/40 split with second-row seats down. 

There are five trim levels. The Activ and RS offer appearance cues from the former, larger Trailblazer like the boxy body and pinched headlights. The Activ has more of an off-road vibe with a bigger grille opening. It has distinctive 17-inch wheels, Hankook Sport Terrain tires, and unique damper tuning.

Not in competition with the Bronco or Wrangler

The new 2021 Chevy Trailblazer is a light-duty SUV better suited for city and highway driving than off-roading. It’s intended to give other small SUVs like Kia Seltos and Mazda CX-30 a run for their money. It’s simply not meant to compete against either the upcoming Ford Bronco or the Jeep Wrangler.

Repurposing the Trailblazer for the small SUV segment does allow Chevrolet to fill a gap in its portfolio. With the new Trailblazer, they have a stylish smaller SUV that’s more affordable. And even with that reasonable price tag, they were able to include several important, in-demand safety features. Chevy made the upright design efficient to make the most of the interior space and to reduce the vehicle’s footprint.

It would be an ideal vehicle for driving around big cities or university campuses. It’s also supposed to have the GM Teen Driver feature so parents can set restrictions on the car and track the behavior of its young driver. It’s said to have a rear seat reminder feature which helps ensure that children and pets aren’t left in the vehicle.