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First Impression – 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer

At the 2019 LA Auto Show, General Motors [GM] took the wraps off an all-new midsize Crossover Utility Vehicle [CUV] with a familiar name: the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer.

The Trailblazer is a handsome CUV with styling more in line with what I was expecting for Chevy’s new Blazer. The styling is decidedly conventional, with a near vertical retro styled windshield, and, unlike the new Blazer’s pinched roof look, the Trailblazer features a traditional roof line that ends in an upright “D” pillar. Speaking of the roof—it’s painted in a stylish contrasting color and can be fitted with a panoramic moonroof as well.

Alameda Post - 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer ACTIV front headlight
2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer ACTIV front headlight detail. Photo courtesy General Motors.

The lighting is the highlight of the front clip. The upper front lights house the markers, turn signals and daytime running lights. The headlights are down below, à la Nissan Juke, Jeep Cherokee, and Hyundai Kona. The LED headlights look high-tech.

The Trailblazer is positioned between Chevy’s Trax and Equinox, in size, content and price. It’s at the upper end of the “B” segment. It is larger than the Trax but smaller than the Equinox. I was expecting Chevy to make a move like this after they killed off the Chevrolet Cruze. CUVs are big sellers so it’s not surprising the Cruze would be reincarnated as a CUV. But, the Trailblazer has little in common with the Cruze and even less in common with its SUV body-on-frame namesake sold between ’01 and ’09. And, don’t hold your breath waiting for the Trailblazer SS—that’s unlikely to ever happen.

The Trailblazer features a front wheel-driven unibody that shares its VSS-F platform with the Buick Encore GX, which is built by GM Korea. The Trailblazer will be powered by one of two turbocharged four-cylinder engines, either a 1.3 or 1.4 liter. I have not yet driven the Trailblazer, but I have driven other GM products with these engines. In those, I found the power adequate but a bit anemic off the line until the turbo spools up. While most Trailblazers will be front wheel drive, an all-wheel drive variant will be offered.

Trailblazer is spacious enough to seat four adults comfortably. This 6 ft. 3 in. tall reviewer had ample headroom up front, almost enough to wear a ten-gallon hat. It was a treat to find myself looking out of the middle of the windshield as opposed to the very top of the glass as is often the case in small crossovers.

Backseat headroom is fine, for most. When I sat up straight, my head touched the headliner, but it was tolerable if I slouched down a tiny bit. Legroom is excellent. A six-footer will have adequate legroom even if a six-footer is sitting up front. If you’re built like a linebacker, you’ll find shoulder room uncomfortably tight. Then again, all mid-sized GM vehicles have this same problem.

Alameda Post - 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer ACTIV
2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer ACTIV. Photo courtesy General Motors.

As you expect from any CUV, the rear seats fold flat and cargo room is generous. The rear seat is split 60/40, which offers more versatility. The front passenger seat also folds flat to accommodate cargo up to 8.5 feet long.

MSRP starts at under $20,000, making the Trailblazer a crossover value. The Trailblazer will be offered in two trim levels, RS and ACTIV. The ACTIV model shown is painted in Zeus bronze, a color introduced on the new mid-engine C8 Corvette. It’s one of my favorite new GM colors, it adds considerably to Trailblazer’s gotta-have-it factor.

John Berg is a contributing writer for the Alameda Post.

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