Small SUVs began out as off-road-capable seaside cruisers. However because the smallest automobiles die out, the little SUV has taken on the entry-level function in lots of showrooms. Since they’re changing automobiles, it is smart that they drive, deal with, and act extra like automobiles and fewer like, say, a Geo Tracker.
Maybe you are questioning the place the $19,995 Trailblazer will slot in a Chevrolet showroom that already has the Trax. Good query. The Trailblazer is barely bigger than the Trax however has a decrease base worth. Nonetheless confused? Nicely, because the smallest-SUV class grows, manufacturers have began to double dip within the phase, successfully splitting it. Buick has the Encore and Encore GX, Hyundai sells the Venue and the Kona, and Mazda throws the CX-Three and the CX-30 on the identical phase.
We drove the highest two trim ranges: the Activ and RS, and each examples carried an identical $30,580 worth tags which are far past the very primary base Trailblazer. They’re additionally way more fashionable than the bottom model and its wheel covers. Activ is meant to convey a rugged vibe, and the RS is meant to be the sportier different. Each come customary with 17- or 18-inch aluminum wheels and an 8.0-inch infotainment show. Each of our check automobiles got here outfitted with the $1720 Expertise package deal, which provides wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an inductive smartphone charging pad, adaptive cruise management, and LED headlights.
Improve to a Three
Beneath the hood of each Trailblazer is a turbocharged three-cylinder engine. There should be some disgrace in a three-banger since Chevy has gone to nice lengths to clean all mentions of the phrase “three-cylinder” from its press and advertising and marketing supplies. Consumers will not even discover that phrase on the Trailblazer’s dealership window sticker. Base variations get a turbocharged 1.2-liter that makes a meager 137 horsepower, whereas a 155-hp turbocharged 1.3-liter three-cylinder serves because the improve. A constantly variable computerized transmission (CVT) comes customary with each engines. Choosing all-wheel drive means stepping as much as the 1.3-liter, and that mixture swaps in a nine-speed computerized for the CVT.
We examined an all-wheel-drive RS mannequin and might each subjectively and objectively conclude that the Trailblazer is sluggish. The turbo-three presents an honest quantity of low-end grunt, nevertheless it rapidly offers up as revs climb and speeds improve. The a 50-to-70-mph merge onto a freeway is a 7.0-second affair, loads of time to gesture to your fellow motorists to please allow you to in.
Hitting 60 mph takes a leisurely 9.four seconds, and the quarter mile passes in a yawn-inducing 17.1 seconds. These numbers aren’t the worst we have recorded within the subcompact-SUV phase—that dishonor belongs to the Toyota C-HR and its 10.9-second zero-to-60-mph time—however they’re disappointing. On the different finish of the efficiency spectrum, the equally sized Kia Seltos’s turbocharged four-cylinder motivated it to 60 mph in simply 6.6 seconds. And remember: The 1.3-liter is the improve engine.
A downsized three-cylinder engine theoretically improves gasoline economic system, however the Trailblazer’s mpg scores aren’t significantly better than many four-cylinder rivals. The Trailblazer managed a thrifty 31 mpg in our 75-mph freeway fuel-economy check, however the Seltos returned 30 mpg, and the Subaru Crosstrek achieved 32 mpg.
The Trailblazer RS’s exterior could be impressed by the Camaro and its huge brother, the Blazer, however its strikes are something however. Fast steering offers it an agile feeling round city, however the RS and Activ fashions we drove had been darty at freeway speeds. It takes some getting used to, significantly on the freeway when making an attempt minor course corrections to maintain the Chevy on observe. The short steering is extra appreciated on a twisty street, however the Trailblazer does not impart a sense of eagerness in the identical means that the sportier-feeling Mazda CX-30 does. What’s extra, the Trailblazer RS’s 18-inch wheels result in a tough journey. And we did not discover the Activ’s 17-inch wheels and taller tire sidewalls to offer rather more compliance.
Consolation and House
The Trailblazer shines as a individuals mover and presents over 5 extra cubic toes of inside house than the Trax. There’s loads of house inside and good rear-seat legroom, and 4 adults match comfortably beneath its excessive roof. The 25 cubic toes of cargo house behind the second row is seven cubes bigger than the Trax, and the cargo ground may be adjusted to create a flat floor when the rear seats are folded. The entrance passenger’s seatback also can fold ahead, permitting the Trailblazer to accommodate longer gadgets.
The Trailblazer is among the best-looking automobiles in its class. However whereas the design inside and outside hits the mark, the three-cylinder engine lets down the driving expertise. We are able to see why Chevy seems to wish to hold quiet about it. There’s additionally the matter of the excessive as-tested costs of the Activ and RS trim ranges. A extra highly effective engine would definitely make us extra forgiving of the excessive as-tested worth. Rivals just like the CX-30 and Hyundai Kona supply a superior driving expertise and higher worth.
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