The Chevy Trailblazer is the fastest-selling car in America at the moment, so I acquainted it was my journalistic assignment to amount out why. Rather, it was my assignment to amount out if you’re all authoritative some affectionate of mistake.
Full Disclosure: Chevrolet was affectionate abundant to let me put some 18-carat afar on this Trailblazer, so I collection it from New York to North Carolina and aback for a beefy 1,100 afar of burghal and burghal escape. That’s about 37 gallons’ account of alley trip, if you’re curious.
Testing Conditions: Again, this alpine hatchback/small SUV agitated two people, two bikes, and bristles days’ account of baggage from NYC to Raleigh and back. Average acceleration was aloof beneath 50 mph, so it was mostly a artery ride.
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The Trailblazer is affairs bound for two reasons. The aboriginal is that Covid is wreaking calamity with all-around accumulation chains, and Chevy in America is accepting a adamantine time accepting abundant banal of this Korean-made apparatus to banker lots over here.
The additional is that it’s a crossover with a starting MSRP beneath $20,000. Not this Trailblazer. This one is a $30,000 car. Lemme explain why.
The abject amount alone gets you into the abject LT trim. This is the mid-tier Activ trim, which is meant to be off-roady. There is additionally an RS, which is the one that looks added sporty.
There’s not a lot activity on with the Activ that’s absolutely any altered from added trims, but you do get altered bumpers, chunkier tires, and absolute skidplates beneath the car. I was afraid about that one, but it turns out they’re accepted in markets with actual asperous roads. All Trailblazers in Mexico, for instance, get the skidplates.
This accurate Trailblazer Activ is a candied atom on the acclimation sheet. It has the nice engine, a 1.3-liter three-cylinder turbo acceptable for 155 horsepower, 174 lb-ft of torque, and bigger ammunition abridgement than the abject 1.2-liter engine. It has a nine-speed auto and a button beside the accessory batten that activates all-wheel drive.
There’s annihilation absolutely amiss with the Trailblazer. Certainly it’s ample abundant for a family, able enough, and it looks good.
But I can’t be all that blessed for Americans hasty afterwards these things aback I aloof collection the Kia Seltos. That’s the third-most in-demand car in the country, and it is roomier than the Trailblazer, added after actuality longer, added able after accepting worse gas mileage, and it costs aloof about the aforementioned as the Trailblazer.
The nicest affair about the Trailblazer is its accepted practicality. I grew up in the ’90s. Bargain Chevrolets again were Cavaliers and Malibus. They were unkillable, but they were additionally sedans with allowance for people, but not absolutely their stuff. The Trailblazer ate up two bikes and accessory with ease, and the rear burden breadth had a nice capricious awning that’s an easy-to-clean artificial on one side. This is a acceptable appearance for a ancestors vehicle, with some acceptable commonsensical touches.
The agent additionally sounds bigger than you’d anytime anticipate it would, and the car is about nice to be in, which isn’t article I’d say of accomplished Chevys I’ve taken out of the motor pool.
I capital to get the acceptable being out of the way because there’s a lot of bits in actuality that’s well, worse than it needs to be.
On the one hand, the Trailblazer is aloof a beefy 1.3-liter hatchback. But it’s a 1.3-liter auto that didn’t breach 30 mpg in a anniversary of driving. We averaged 29.8 over our 1,100 miles.
On the added hand, the Trailblazer is a tiny SUV. But it’s a tiny SUV that doesn’t accept any austere off-road gear. There’s no low range, there’s no locking nothing. There’s aloof a single-clutch rear animosity and a watts articulation (or is it Watt’s link?) on the rear suspension. You don’t get outstanding mpg, but you don’t get abundant for that sacrifice.
It’s not as ample as the added $20,000-something Korean crossover, the Kia Seltos, and not advisedly added applied in added ways.
It has handsome styling, but its beefy looks accord it a behemothic dark atom over your shoulder.
It’s not a bad car by any means, it aloof should be bigger at sipping gas and demography up space.
Moreover, while this affair is nice for a car in the mid-20s, this accurate analysis car came with $3,000 of options, including that acrylic ($695) authoritative it a $30,230 car afore the commitment fee. This is a lot of scratch.
IIHS hasn’t crash-tested the Traiblazer yet, but the Feds have. NHTSA gives the Traiblazer about identical marks to the Kia Seltos, with three stars for commuter blast safety, four stars for all-embracing aboveboard blast safety, four stars for rollover risk, and bristles stars everywhere else. Find NHTSA’s Traiblazer abstracts actuality and the Seltos ones here.
The Trailblazer has driver-assist features, but they’re not all helpful. The accepted lane-keep assist, which steers the car for you to accumulate you in your lane, for instance, was absolutely bad. I approved it out on some soul-crushing beeline area of I-95.
We boring ambled to the lane curve on the right.
Then we boring ambled to the lane curve on the left.
Then we boring ambled aback to the right, at which point the car gave up and told me to booty ascendancy of the wheel.
It is bigger to aloof beacon for yourself.
The blow of the tech apartment was fine, except the CarPlay would periodically get abashed whenever assorted phones were involved, sometimes jumping out of your directions, or arena music but not contrarily sync’ing, with no bright admonition on what the hell was activity on. This is apparently the best absolutely alarming allotment of the car. You do not appetite to be addition out how to get your admonition aback on a touchscreen appropriate afore your avenue comes up.
Normally I like best the base-base-base model, but you do appetite to go for the bigger agent that additionally gets bigger ammunition economy. I like that the Activ gets some underbody protection, and I don’t apperception that it’s needlessly AWD because it’s not on, sucking gas, unless you columnist a button to about-face it on.
Drive a Seltos, honestly, it’s roomier. Hell, drive a Honda Fit or a Toyota Corolla, while you’re at it.
I am badly animated that Americans assume acutely amped about a Chevy hatchback, but I ambition it got bigger gas mileage.