By Allyson Harwood and Jason Fogelson
Trailblazer name returns on an all-new subcompact SUV
Available all-wheel drive, up to 155 horsepower
Automatic Emergency Braking and Lane Keep Assist both standard
Scheduled to go on sale in Spring 2020
Prices start under $20,000
Chevrolet is expanding its SUV portfolio with the addition of the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer, a new subcompact sport-utility vehicle. The new Trailblazer will join the smaller Trax and compact Equinox at the entry end of Chevy’s SUV lineup.
The model name has been used before on a Chevrolet SUV, most recently on a midsize body-on-frame model that was sold in the U.S. from 2002 to 2009. On that vehicle, the name used a capital letter “B” — TrailBlazer.
How much will the new Trailblazer cost?
The 2020 Chevrolet Trailblazer will have a starting sticker price of less than $20,000, according to Chevy. For reference, 2020 Chevrolet Trax prices start at $22,295, and 2020 Equinox prices start at $24,495.
When does it go on sale?
The new Trailblazer is scheduled to start arriving at dealerships in early 2020.
Stylish subcompact SUV offered in at least two trim levels
The new Trailblazer made its global debut at China’s 2019 Auto Shanghai exhibition. At the time, Chevrolet said the new SUV was inspired by the FNR-CarryAll concept vehicle, which established the brand’s new generation SUV design language.
“The Trailblazer’s great design enables more personalization,” said Steve Majoros, director of Chevrolet passenger car and crossover marketing. “Trailblazer is a continuation of the design language for Chevy’s crossover family and extends our momentum into one of the industry’s fastest-growing segments.”
Chevrolet gave the upcoming Trailblazer styling that was inspired by the bold, sporty lines of the larger Blazer, but gives the Trailblazer an added twist. As Stuart Norris, the design director of global Chevrolet compact SUVs explained, “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. Its design is bold, confident and full of personality.”
The Trailblazer will be available in an RS trim with a standard two-tone roof, one example of the personalization to which Majoros referred, and as was recently announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show, will also be offered in Activ trim.
Activ trim level has off-road aspirations
While the Trailblazer Activ may not be ready for hard-core rock crawling, it will offer some features that make the Trailblazer better prepared for rougher roads. This trim level is differentiated from the RS with a unique front and rear styling, a dual exhaust setup with trapezoidal exhaust tips, and different suspension tuning. The Activ model’s shocks are designed to improve ride comfort and performance on gravel roads. In addition, the Activ will come equipped with 17-inch Hankook Sport Terrain all-season tires, which feature a more aggressive shoulder design than on other tires.
Engine and transmission choices
Buyers will have a choice of a 1.2- or 1.3-liter engine, both turbocharged, with up to 155 horsepower. In front-wheel-drive form, the engines are backed by a Continuously Variable Transmission with defeatable stop/start capability.
All-wheel-drive Trailblazers will come with a 9-speed automatic transmission. As is the case with the Blazer, selectable AWD is available. This feature allows the driver to shut off the all-wheel-drive system when it’s not needed, or turn it on when the weather gets rough. Front-drive models have Normal, Snow and Sport drive modes, and AWD models offer more low-speed rear-wheel torque, which comes in especially handy on unpaved and steeper terrain.
Functional, well-connected interior
The Trailblazer’s interior is designed as a dual-cockpit setup, and each trim level comes with unique materials and stitching. Storage can sometimes be an issue with subcompact vehicles, but in the case of this Chevrolet, the solution is a versatile center console, which can accommodate up to 3.5 liters of open storage space, a 4.4-liter cubby under the armrest, and dual cupholders.
To stay connected while on the road, the Trailblazer will allow two phones to be paired via Bluetooth at the same time. The audio system will have available wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatability. In addition, optional SiriusXM with 360L will offer commercial-free music and exclusive content, and can take advantage of both satellite and streaming content.
The second row uses folding 40/60-split seats, and when this row is down, the Trailblazer can carry items that are up to 8.5 feet long—a smaller surfboard could fit inside with the liftgate closed. With that second row folded, total storage space is rated at 54.4 cubic feet. There’s also an available hands-free liftgate.
Active safety and driver assist features
Many active safety features will be standard on the new Trailblazer, including Front Pedestrian Braking, Automatic Emergency Braking and Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning. Available safety and driver assist features like Adaptive Cruise Control, Rear Park Assist, and a High-Definition Rear Vision Camera, can be added to Trailblazer models.
This story originally ran on KBB.com .