Looking at the lineup of Chevy SUVs available these days, one thing is quite clear: there are a lot of options. While some brands out there might only have seven total vehicles available across their entire lineup, Chevy has seven SUVs on offer, not including their other vehicles. So when you look at all of these options, it can be easy to wonder just who, exactly, each of them is for and why do they need so many? The 2022 Chevy Trailblazer, in particular, can seem like a somewhat underwhelming option at first glance.
It’s not the smallest model available, though it is a subcompact option, and it doesn’t have a mind-blowing engine that will leave others in your dust. What it does have, however, is the absolute best fuel economy in the entire Chevy SUV lineup – at least in terms of conventional gas engines. Even the Trax, Chevy’s other subcompact offering, can’t compete when it comes to optimal fuel efficiency and getting you where you need to go with as few stops at the gas pump as possible. Let’s take a closer look at the Trailblazer to see what it has going for it, and maybe we’ll figure out just who this model was designed for.
Two Engine Options
One thing that really jumps out at me about the Trailblazer is that it has two different engines available. This isn’t all that strange in the auto industry, of course, but for a subcompact crossover SUV, that’s really not something you see all the time. What’s more, there are also four different trim levels to choose from – all of this brings me to the conclusion that, in many ways, the Trailblazer is designed for anyone who likes flexibility.
Since you can choose between two different engines – not to mention both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are offered on every trim – you have a lot of freedom to get what you want. The standard option is a 1.2L Turbo engine that offers 137 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. If you want something more powerful, then you can choose an available 1.3L Turbo engine that delivers 155 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. You can see that the differences aren’t huge, but they’re noticeable when you’re behind the wheel, and the ability to get more power is always nice.
Both engines feature a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that provides a smooth driving experience overall. So if you like having options for how your vehicle drives on your daily commute, then this is a great way to go. In general, this kind of freedom is something I see throughout Chevy’s lineup, and I’m always impressed.
Unsurpassed Fuel Economy
If you ignore everything else I’m saying today and look at nothing else here, then this should absolutely be the one thing you focus on. Where the Chevy Trailblazer truly shines amongst the lineup of SUVs from Chevrolet is with regard to fuel economy. It is the absolute king of efficiency in Chevy’s lineup, and if you’re at all concerned about getting good gas mileage and saving money at the pump, then it should be at the top of your list.
Here are the current combined fuel efficiencies for the Chevy SUV lineup:
Trax – 27 MPG
Trailblazer – 31 MPG
Equinox – 28 MPG
Blazer – 25 MPG
Traverse – 21 MPG
Tahoe – 18 MPG
Suburban – 18 MPG
As you can see, the Trailblazer isn’t the smallest model, though it is a subcompact option, and yet it has the highest fuel efficiency by far. Some models like the Trax or Equinox can come close to it, but there are still big differences. While 3 or 4 MPG might not seem like a huge matter, when you own a vehicle for five or six years (or longer) and drive thousands of miles (perhaps hundreds of thousands), those differences will really add up.
For example, if you drive 100,000 miles with the Trax, then you’ll need about an estimated 3,700 gallons of gas – to go 100,000 miles in the Traverse, you’re looking at more than 4,760 gallons of gas. By comparison, the Trailblazer only needs about an estimated 3,225 gallons to take you 100,000 miles. The average price for a gallon of gas over the last decade has been about $3 – so choosing the Trailblazer over the Trax could save you more than $1,400 in gas over the course of 100,000 miles; while the Traverse would cost about $4,600 more in gas compared to the Trailblazer.
What I’m getting at with all of this math (my apologies) is that the Trailblazer is absolutely designed for anyone worried about fuel economy. If you want to save the most money by skipping the pump in a Chevy SUV, then nothing beats the Trailblazer. This is especially true if you primarily do a lot of city driving, as this is where it really shines above the rest of the lineup in terms of efficiency.
Surprising Features Throughout
Impressive fuel economy is great, but that’s not the only measure of the Trailblazer’s worth, nor is it the only thing to consider when deciding if this SUV is right for you. Like any vehicle, you want to take a look inside and see what it has to offer to ensure that it can deliver the right kind of driving experience. In this regard, I’m once again impressed by what the Trailblazer has to offer, and it’s clear that Chevy has designed it for a wide range of drivers.
Just looking at the starting trim with no other packages, you get a really nice subcompact SUV in the Trailblazer. It has a 7-inch infotainment display with a 6-speaker sound system and full wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. You get cloth seating with a 6-way adjustable driver’s seat and a 4-way front passenger’s seat, plus numerous USB ports and a steering wheel with mounted controls. What I really find impressive, however, is that every model comes with automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, a lane keep assist system with a lane departure warning, and a forward collision alert, along with numerous other safety features.
One surprising thing about the Trailblazer is that it essentially has two top trims: one designed for sporty style and the other for off-road capability. The RS trim has 18-inch high-gloss black wheels and a dual-outlet exhaust with polished tips. You get an 8-inch infotainment display, along with cloth and leatherette seating that includes a 10-way power driver’s seat and heated front seats. The RS also has a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel and keyless open with remote start.
If you want something a bit more adventurous, then there’s the ACTIV trim, which includes sport terrain tires for off-road grip. You also get an off-road-tuned suspension and front skid plates to help protect the underside of your vehicle on the trail. Both of the ACTIV and RS trims also have great available options like a panoramic sunroof, hands-free programmable liftgate, and a Bose premium audio system.
So Who is the Trailblazer For?
With everything it has to offer, I’d say the Trailblazer is designed for a wide range of drivers, but it’s really perfect if you do a lot of city driving and you like having freedom in picking your vehicle’s options. There are four trims available, two different engines, and all-wheel drive offered on every model, so you can really get something that best meets your needs. With its incredible fuel economy, the Trailblazer is a great choice whether you are looking for a family vehicle, prefer something for your daily commute, or are seeking a great ride to enjoy the weekend. If you want a giant SUV, then this one isn’t for you, but the unbeatable gas mileage and wide array of options make it a great fit for just about everyone else.