By Larry Lark, contributor
Chevy’s 2021 Trailblazer is an entry-level, compact SUV geared toward younger buyers with an entry point starting around $20,000.
Trailblazer slots between the Trax and Equinox, in General Motors’ pantheon of vehicles, delivering a bold front fascia, sports car-inspired rear design, and seating for five. The expressive exterior also includes a dual-port grille, taut body lines, sleek roofline, and bold hood shape.
“The Trailblazer doesn’t simply let customers express their personal style. It encourages it with uniquely styled trims that allow buyers to select a vehicle that reflects their lifestyle,” said Stuart Norris, design director of global Chevrolet compact SUVs. “Its design is bold, confident and full of personality.”
Trailblazer comes in five trim packages: ACTIV, L, LS, LT and RS (my tester).
The high-end RS model was powered by a small but efficient ECOTEC 1.3-liter, three-cylinder, turbocharged engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The combination generates 155 horsepower, 174 lb-ft of torque, and is rated at 30 miles per gallon down the highway be the EPA.
Mine came with all-wheel drive, making it a functional and versatile ride any time of year. The driving experience surprised me. Around town the Trailblazer engine and steering were equally responsive, and produced a well-damped ride. On the open road, the engine peaks out quickly, and will keep you in the two right lanes.
Inside, the Trailblazer features a driver-focused, dual-cockpit interior design with an integrated center stack. High-quality finishes and stitching are customized to allow for different appearances at each trim level. The center console provides several storage options with up to 3.5 liters of open storage and 4.4 liters of storage under the armrest, as well as dual cupholders.
The RS features Chevy’s latest infotainment system, providing the ability to use two Bluetooth-paired phones concurrently, allowing passengers in the vehicle to use their cellphones hands-free or the driver to use multiple phones hands-free.
The audio system has available wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and available SiriusXM with 360L, featuring exclusive content, including commercial-free music, interviews, shows and performances. The Trailblazer features 40/60 split folding second row seats, which enables the vehicle to accommodate objects up to 8.5 feet long. Overall storage capacity is rated up to 54.4cubic feet with the second row folded flat.
My tester included an optional technology package ($1,620) and convenience package ($520). Upgrades included a rear vision camera, adaptive cruise control, Bose premium audio system with seven speakers, wireless charging, air conditioning, USB and 120-volt charging ports, and auto-dimming rearview mirror.
All Trailblazer trims come with a comprehensive list of standard active safety and driver
assistance features including: forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, IntelliBeam headlamps, lane keep assist, teen driver, and rear seat occupant reminder.
All things considered, Trailblazer qualifies as a commuter, around town driver. But I wouldn’t wander too far off road.
Base Price: $28,395
Price As Driven: $32,150
Destination charge is included in base price. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.