A gold 2021 Chevy Trailblazer is shown from the side parked in front of a lake.

Chevy Blazer and Trailblazer: What Are The Differences?

The Chevy Trailblazer and Blazer share a very similar name, but they are very different vehicles. Sure, they have several common traits, and they are both quality SUVs from an iconic manufacturer but don’t think for a moment that they are basically the same product. Taking a closer look at both models, one might conclude that the main difference is size; after all, the Blazer is a midsize SUV while the Trailblazer is a subcompact crossover. But it’s not like the Blazer is the Trailblazer’s big brother; it’s more like a distant cousin, to be more accurate. Head to your local Chevy Trailblazer dealer and test drive each model; it will become quite clear that these are two completely different SUVs.

Size Isn’t Everything

One of the obvious differences between the Blazer and Trailblazer is size; the Blazer is a midsize SUV with the ability to seat five comfortably, while the Trailblazer is a subcompact crossover very suitable for commuting purposes. If you were to inspect the entire lineup of Chevy SUVs, the Trailblazer would fit right in between the Trax and Equinox as far as size is concerned. The Trailblazer isn’t the smallest SUV in the lineup, but it’s a close second.

The Blazer is about the same size as the Chevy Traverse, which is also a midsize SUV but seats seven. The Tahoe and Suburban are the full-size SUVs in the lineup. As we mentioned before, the Blazer is quite roomy and seats five. The Trailblazer is also capable of seating five, but the smaller cabin offers a little less space to stretch out.

As far as cargo space, the larger Blazer will offer about ten more cubic feet of space, give or take, depending on the model year. Still, this does not mean that the Trailblazer doesn’t have sufficient cargo space. In fact, the 2021 model offers just over 54 cubic feet of cargo space, with the rear seats folded down.

A red 2021 Chevy Blazer RS is shown driving on an open road.

Checking Under The Hood

The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer comes standard with a 1.2-liter three-cylinder turbocharged engine with 137 horsepower, which is great for zipping around town. Obviously, such a small engine delivers a very thrifty ride. You can opt for a 1.3-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine with 155 horsepower, which also includes all-wheel drive. Again, the Trailblazer is a better fit for commuters, where you don’t need the power of a full-size SUV.

On the flip side, the 2021 Chevy Blazer offers up three engine choices. Let’s start with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder, a powerful little engine with 193 horsepower found on the L and 1LT trims of this model. The 2LT and 3LT offer a more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with 227 horsepower. The RS and Premium models boast a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 308 horsepower. Since the Blazer is a bigger SUV, it makes sense to have more powerful engines.

Favorite Trim Levels

The 2021 Trailblazer is offered in five trim levels as well as a few special editions. Even the basic L trim comes with a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and plenty of advanced safety features. Our favorite model is the Trailblazer ACTIV, and it’s the choice for those who crave off-road adventure. In addition to the enhanced suspension and tires, the ACTIV model features a two-tone roof and leatherette seat trim.

The base 2021 Blazer model is the L, and it is just as loaded as the Trailblazer L trim and includes an eight-inch touchscreen, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and heated power outside mirrors. However, if we had to choose, we think we would be quite happy with the RS trim. In addition to all of the features found in lower trim levels, the RS also includes the RS signature grille, a heated steering wheel, and 20-inch aluminum wheels. So really, it’s the right choice.

Fun Factor

It’s fairly evident that the Blazer was inspired by the iconic Camaro. But they are similar in more ways than just the style. Get behind the wheel of a Chevy Blazer, and you will crave adventure. It’s just something that happens when in a sporty SUV with power. The size of the Blazer is perfect for adventure as well. Obviously, nothing can compare with the Camaro, but the Blazer is quite sporty and stylish.

The Trailblazer is also fun and stylish, and it also has a few advantages over the Blazer. For starters, the Trailblazer is easy on the pocketbook, and you are sure to enjoy the low starting price. Another advantage is fuel economy; the Trailblazer is undoubtedly the choice for those who will be using their SUV for commuting purposes. Finally, the Trailblazer is smaller, easier to maneuver, and you won’t have any problem slipping it into a tight parking spot.

Let’s not forget that the Trailblazer might be small and offers less powerful engine choices than the Blazer, but this does not mean it isn’t a capable SUV. The available all-wheel drive gives the Trailblazer the ability to hold its own when the paved road ends. And while the ACTIV trim is specially built for off-road performance, the other models also do quite well.

Yet another perk you get with the Trailblazer is the ability to tow. This might come as somewhat of a surprise, considering there is a three-cylinder engine under the hood. And while you aren’t going to have the ability to tow massive loads, you can still haul light trailers weighing up to 1,000 pounds. Of course, if you do want a pull a boat to the lake for the weekend, the midsize Blazer can manage towing up to 4,500 pounds.

A red 2021 Chevy Trailblazer RS is shown from the front parked on a city street.

Exterior Style and Interior

Taking a closer look at the Trailblazer and Blazer, both have stylish angular headlights, low rooflines, and dashing grilles, which are all characteristic of the muscle cars of days gone by. And while the Blazer looms large and strong, the Trailblazer looks edgier and stands poised to pounce.

As far as style, it’s a draw. The model you choose will be based mainly on your preference. Of course, you will find yourself in a dilemma should you like the style and look of the Trailblazer but prefer the size of the Blazer. You might need the bigger SUV to haul your canoe and tow your camper, but you prefer an SUV with excellent fuel economy.

On the inside, both SUVs offer bucket seats that are heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and folding rear seats. The higher trim levels of the Blazer offer perforated leather and suede microfiber accents, but the Trailblazer offers ten-way power-adjustable seating, which is just slightly better than the Blazer’s eight-way power seats. Inside the Trailblazer, you will find ten airbags compared to seven in the Blazer. Both models enjoy a rear vision camera, forward collision alert, and plenty of other standard safety and convenience features.

Two Great SUV Options

We could go on, but we think you get our drift. These are both fine choices, but you will find it difficult to choose between them. However, just know that whichever SUV you choose, you are still getting a quality Chevy product.

Chevy enthusiasts were thrilled with the return of the Chevy Blazer in 2019, and as such, it was well-received. When the Trailblazer returned to the market in 2021, Chevy enthusiasts were just as tickled. Whichever model catches your eye and heart, know that they both offer a great driving experience and all of the features that make driving a Chevy an extraordinary experience.