If there’s one thing Chevy does well, it’s road-oriented SUVs. When you’re looking for a higher ride height, more cargo space, and back seats that can transport tall adults, the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer is a good option if you plan to stick to the roadways. Let’s face it: there are SUVs for every brand of lifestyle at this point, with SUVs all but replacing sedans in our daily driving routines. Hardly anyone wants a car when you can have the space and utility of an SUV, and Chevy fills a niche of providing buyers with comfortable, spacious, well-designed SUVs like the Trailblazer so you have a vehicle that still drives like a car but can handle bad weather with all-wheel drive.
The Chevy Trailblazer design is inspired by the Camaro, and elements of the Camaro show up in the bold front end with the grille and headlights, dual round chrome exhaust tips in the back end, and in the flat-bottom steering wheel in the interior. Each of these design elements comes a little more alive in the sport-tuned RS trim, which comes with red stitching on the seats and steering wheel, and adds red details to the shift knob, door inserts, and dials in the instrument cluster. A two-tone paint job lends itself well to the sporty vibe and is standard for the RS. Don’t mistake the Trailblazer for a Camaro in terms of capability, or you’ll be disappointed, but if you’re willing to forego any attachment to wishing for more power when you hit the gas, you can have a fun little ute that drives with some extra zip with the upgraded engine.
Under the Hood and On the Road
If you buy the entry-level or lower-level trims, you get the standard 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine. It’s not much of a power plant with only 137 hp, but it might surprise you with the kick it manages to provide when you hit the gas. In entry-level territory, you can’t have all-wheel drive or a more powerful engine, but in all other trims, you can at least choose to add all-wheel drive so you have it for inclement weather conditions. For the RS trim, you get the 1.3-liter turbocharged three-cylinder EcoTec engine. It generates 155 hp with 174 lb-ft of torque, and when you use the sport mode function, the Trailblazer supplies more torque to your performance.
All-wheel drive is also standard for the RS trim, and it can be selected whenever the driver feels the need for extra assistance on the road. If you want to use the sport mode and all-wheel drive at the same time, the steering will offer better control when you’re getting the extra torque from the sport mode function. Having all four wheels engaged makes for improved control all around, though you save more fuel when you drive with the front wheels only.
The engine does have variable valve timing and a stop-and-start feature (which can be disengaged if you prefer), each of which gives the Trailblazer improved fuel economy. With the RS, you get up to an estimated 29 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway with front-wheel drive. Larger 18-inch wheels raise the ground clearance to a formidable eight inches, which is great for driving through snow.
Tech and Safety
Chevy gives fairly good technology to the 2021 Trailblazer with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard across all trims, plus connected services that can be accessed free to keep track of vehicle health and maintenance schedules, and you can utilize the convenient Marketplace feature. Every 2021 Trailblazer comes with the capability to add OnStar services, which also allows access to WiFi with a subscription. Aside from the standard seven-inch touchscreen and Bluetooth streaming, the RS trim only adds an amplifier to the sound system for improved sound quality, but this is not a bad thing. Because the Trailblazer is already loaded with tech, you won’t feel cheated.
Safety features for driver-assist tech are also very generous across all trims, with Chevy Safety Assist as the standard suite of included features. The suite has six specific features, some of which include Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, and IntelliBeam Auto High Beam Assist. An electronic parking brake and Teen Driver are two features that come standard outside of the driver-assist features in the safety suite, and Chevy offers OnStar as an option to add emergency services to help in case of accidents. There are additional tech and safety options that can be added as well.
Conveniences and Interior Space
Though the Trailblazer is inspired by the Camaro, the RS trim has the interior that most resembles the muscle car styling. As mentioned in the introduction, the red stitching and details are part of the design that makes the RS stand out, but unlike the Camaro, the Trailblazer can accommodate far more cargo and has better space for passengers. Buyers will find that the more expensive Camaro has more convenience features, but the Trailblazer is no slouch. The RS trim, in particular, comes with a few extras that make it more comfortable and convenient than other trims.
If you happen to drive long distances, having powered seats with lumbar control is a boon, and the RS trim provides this feature, though only for the driver. Sorry, passengers. Manual seats for you. Heated front seats, however, may make up for the lack of powered functioning. While we’re on the subject of seats, the trim is cloth with leatherette inserts, but the steering wheel and shift knob are leather-wrapped. Other conveniences like remote starting, keyless entry, and push-button start also come standard for the RS trim. Interior space is fairly comfortable for five passengers, even in the rear seats, where 39.4 inches of legroom is allotted.
Cargo space offers up a decent amount of room behind the second row, with 25.3 cubic feet in the rear trunk area, including a moveable cargo floor that drops down a couple of inches for more space. Additionally, the front passenger seat folds down so you can fit long items up to 8.5 feet. Take your surfboards, kayaks, or even lumber for a DIY project when you fold down the front passenger and one side of the back seat. In case you need the whole back seat, you can have up to 54.4 cubic feet of cargo space total. Not bad for a compact SUV.
If you happen to want a few extra conveniences, the RS trim has the option to add a powered programmable liftgate which can be opened with the key fob or buttons either in the driver’s area or on the liftgate itself. A hands-free gesture can open it as well. It comes in a package with a panoramic sunroof, so if you want one feature, you get the other. There is no option to add only one of these features alone. Otherwise, you could also add features like a Bose sound system or automatic climate control, among several other options available for the RS.
Pricing and Packages
Starting prices for the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer begin at a surprisingly affordable $19,000, though springing for the RS trim does take you up to $25,500 without any extra options or packages added. Adding packages can be worth the money if you’re willing to tack on an extra few hundred to the base price of the RS. For optional safety features like Rear Park Assist and Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, you pay about $495. The Convenience Package costs $620 and includes a number of handy options like automatic climate control, the larger eight-inch touchscreen, extra power and charging outlets, and a Sirius XM three-month trial.
For the tech-minded crowd, the Technology Package is the higher-priced choice at $1,620, but it gives you a lot of perks. Adaptive cruise control is great for highway cruising, you get LED headlights, and the HD rearview camera in the larger eight-inch screen all improve on safety. You also get the Chevy Infotainment 3 Plus system which opens up the SiriusXM with 360L trial subscription and the Bose premium audio system. Wireless charging is included, among other options, which makes this package worth the price.
Whether you add a few extras or take the RS as it comes, the sportier performance of the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer is the best way to get the most out of this compact SUV.