It’s not generally that a agent arrives to me like it’s allotment of a dark aftertaste test, but in the case of the very, absolute new Chevy Trailblazer, its actualization on my doorstep was absolutely the aboriginal time I’d alike apparent the vehicle. So I started off as you ability during the Pepsi Challenge — no preconceptions, no stats sheets, no Car and Driver reviews — and had a appealing absolute experience.
If you went on stats abandoned with this all-new baby crossover, you ability go into it with some misconceptions. The 2021 Trailblazer brings a reintroduction of a name aboriginal apparent as an flush adaptation of the Chevy S-10 pickup, afresh the almost popular, beyond antecedent of the accepted Traverse.
If I said that this was instead now a small, Korean-built, three-cylinder agent agent — sorta tiny Toyota FJ Cruiser meets Mini Cooper Countryman — would that beating your socks off? Probably not. Would an access amount of about $20,000 change your mind, because that Chevy’s Bolt all-electric agent retails for $20,000 added than that?
As I said, I didn’t alike apperceive that aback I aboriginal arrested out its small-but-not-that-small presentation, including absolute contemporary, Camaro-sourced grille and fascia looks, a curl of abnormal bronze-colored chrome trim and a absolute FJ/Mini-styled white roof and mirror caps.
And yes, on aboriginal startup, an absolute three-cylinder agent did not aftermath the best blowing of sounds, nor was I decidedly captivated by what seemed to be an badly aflutter ride on some array of bisected off-road tires, abnormally on bad pavement.
But afresh I went abounding auto TV appearance on the Trailblazer — in this case, the Activ archetypal as against to the added urban-styled RS or acceptable LS or LT trims — and collection it up an absolute steambed, over head-sized boulders, all the way up to about 12,000 feet. I banged the active hell out of it. And it was fun. It absolutely did bonfire trails. Who knew?
I apperceive that best drivers never, ever, anytime accountable their new cartage to backcountry ache tests, but if a ($30,580, as tested) smallish, Korean-made Chevy can amble forth like a abundance dupe and still appearance itself to accept abiding on-highway poise, I’m appealing impressed.
The Activ archetypal does get appropriate abeyance tuning, hardly bigger arena approval and added able-bodied underbody bank than the added models, which was accessible as I bounced forth on backwoods anchorage abutting Rollinsville to Central City, the absolute brittle aback way. Hankook Dynapro action area tires with chunkier sidewalls additionally fabricated the biking easier, appearing absolute adjustable aback I hit the artery again, by allegory to my aboriginal drive.
It still comes with either a 1.3-liter turbo engine, authoritative 155 application and 174 pound-feet of torque, or a 1.2-liter, stepped bottomward to 137 horsepower. I collection one with a nine-speed automated transmission, admitting a CVT automated is alternative or the accepted affair on the abate engine.
And as continued as I did not try annoyance antagonism on the freeway, those 155 horses seemed appealing affable here, abnormally as Trailblazer is alone 3,275 pounds, with all-wheel drive and the bigger engine. Bigger yet, it got me a absolute constant 30 mpg, admitting the computer said addition had managed 56 on a antecedent drive. That’s OK by me.
Large it is not — my perceptions added skewed as I had the new Miata anchored abutting to it — but with a 103.9-inch wheelbase and 173.7 inches of all-embracing length, it’s not minuscule, either. Total burden accommodation with the second-row seats alone is a admirable 54.4 cubic feet, and the aback bench absolutely offered appealing appropriate space, as able-bodied (though super-thin advanced seatbacks additionally accord to some of that room). You can additionally bend the advanced commuter bench absolutely collapsed to bandy an 8.5-foot-long grandfathering alarm inside.
At this agent amount point, it was additionally acutely abbreviate on the offroading buttons and accoutrement you see in best beyond SUVs these days. All-wheel drive and traction-control buttons were absolutely it, hidden in advanced of the shifter, additional a multimode drive selector, dialing up a buzzier action mode.
But I did not absence acropolis coast control, agent bend displays or the area knobs best drivers absolutely avoid in their added big-ticket vehicles. Basic, solid offroading was easy, and in town, the admixture of ability and admeasurement was altogether fine.
It’s absolutely stylish, with that multilevel face (featuring Camaro-styled active lamps up top, absolute ablaze abridged headlamps in the average and baby fog lamps at the bottom). The autogenous is additionally an access of surfaces and levels, with chestnut black inserts, denim-styled actual central the doors and on the bench edges, and chrome highlights elsewhere.
Andy Stonehouse’s cavalcade “Mountain Wheels” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Stonehouse has formed as an editor and biographer in Colorado back 1998, absorption on automotive advantage back 2004. He lives in Greeley. Contact him at [email protected]