2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer Activ AWD

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer Activ AWD

Test Drive Notes Library
  • Pros

  • Interior.

    For a subcompact crossover with a small footprint, the Trailblazer is roomier than you’d expect inside. The front feels open and airy, and even the back seats are pretty good in terms of room, if a bit firm and upright. Up front, the Trailblazer feels very much up to date with wireless charging and a configurable instrument panel.

    The modestly sized infotainment screen is bright, clear, and well-placed where the driver can see and use it easily. Like most GM cars, the hard “home” button makes navigating the screens intuitive and easy. The screen controls are logical (as are the rest of the controls in the Trailblazer). Wireless Apple CarPlay adds to the convenience. And while the materials are not high end, they are thoughtfully chosen, and don’t scream “cheap” like some cars in this class.

  • Looks. Like it or not, it’s got a distinctive look. Chevy gave the Trailblazer a fun, almost Mini Countryman-esque look, with two-tone paint, a creative front grill and lighting design, and a spunky stance. If you want something other than a jellybean crossover, have a look.
  • Standard equipment. Our "Activ AWD" Trailblazer came with most of the safety features families need, plus all wheel drive for a price of $30,580. But even if you buy the bare bones Trailblazer, which starts at around $20,000, you’ll get forward collision warning, city-speed automatic emergency braking, and lane keeping assist. For a reasonable price, you can upgrade to blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert — and you should. Our loaded test car also came with Adaptive Cruise Control, too.
  • Good fuel economy. Our trailblazer had the optional 1.3L, three-cylinder, 155 hp turbo engine (yes, that’s the bigger engine), along with a 9-speed automatic transmission. We got an average of 29.5 mpg, a lot of that highway driving. But still, that’s very respectable. Trailblazers with the standard 1.2L, 137 hp engine should do even better.
  • Easy in and out. The doors are squared off and make getting in and out of the Trailblazer easy.
  • Cons

  • Economy car feel. Believe it or not, this $30K crossover is what most people now consider an entry level car. As such, you get a rental car vibe when you drive the Trailblazer. The engine does the job and can be downright peppy once it spools up, but it’s small and sometimes loud. It’s turbo charged to the point where it can be surge-y and difficult to drive smoothly when accelerating at certain speeds. While the handling is competent, the steering is twitchy. It’s a car that gets the job done, but it’s not really a pleasure to drive.
  • Visibility. Straight ahead, out the windshield, you can see well. The windshield is large and the hood of the Trailblazer slopes down so you always know where the front of the car is. Out the front side windows it’s also fine. But there are large pillars in this car. The A-pillars between the windshield and front side windows are pretty thick, leading to blind spots while turning corners in city traffic. And the C-pillars…. Fuggedaboutit. The C-pillars on this car are larger than some smaller African countries, making the optional blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert absolute necessities.
  • Reliability? Reliability has been an issue for Trailblazers of the past. And while we can never predict future reliability with absolute assurance, the onus is on the Trailblazer to prove that it has put those issues behind it. If you buy one, stay in touch and let us know.
Test Drive Notes Library

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