The smallest of all crossovers covers the subcompact range, one of the fastest-growing segments in the industry. That’s not too surprising as these models offer value and a place for first-time shoppers to jump in.
The Chevrolet Trailblazer is one such model, a five-passenger SUV with available off-road chops.
Chevrolet Trailblazer Reprise
Chevrolet introduced the current-generation Trailblazer in 2021, harnessing a model name from its nomenclature archives. Indeed, the Trailblazer name was last used in 2009 and ascribed to a midsize SUV. That earlier Trailblazer itself followed the Chevrolet Blazer. And the Blazer name is back too.
For 2022, the Trailblazer loses its base L trim. Other updates include now standard satellite radio. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are now included.
Chevrolet extends the 2022 Trailblazer in LS ($21,600), LT ($25,390), Activ ($26,895), and RS ($26,895) trims. All four trims feature standard front-wheel drive or, for an additional $1,500, all-wheel drive.
Add $1,195 for the destination charge. The Trailblazer supplies a pair of turbocharged three-cylinder engine choices.
2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer Review
The Chevrolet Trailblazer roughly matches the design language of the Blazer, while eschewing the look of the smaller Trax and larger Equinox. It has a boxy layout, one that rivals traditional SUVs, and a bold front end.
Equally, from stem to stern, the Trailblazer seems especially well thought out with strong shoulders, a high profile, detailed sculpting, prominent character lines, and just the right amount of body cladding.
As for equipment, the LS trim comes with automatic halogen headlamps and 17-inch painted aluminum wheels. Move up through the trim range and Chevrolet adds LED lights, including fog lamps.
Roof rails, 18-inch aluminum wheels, chrome embellishments or blacked-out trim, and a hands-free liftgate are available. A panoramic power sunroof is optional.
If you can look past the copious amounts of hard plastics, the Trailblazer’s interior is nicely designed and even comfortable. But it isn’t quiet – we can blame the optional Thule roof carrier for adding a persistent whistle, but that’s not the only issue.
Notably, while driving at highway speeds, you may find yourself wondering where the air “leaks” are coming from — is it the side windows or the liftgate? Turning up the audio simply masks the problem for this noisy interior.
The seats are comfortable all around, though firm. An average-sized adult will find the front seats adequate, but tall individuals will want more thigh and back support.
We think the Chevy Equinox is the better choice for tall folk, although the larger Blazer is simply better. As for the rear seat, let’s just say it is ideal for two. Want to fit three? You can do it with youngsters, but adults will feel cramped.
We give Chevrolet props for outstanding cargo space. It measures 25.3 cubic feet behind the second row and 54.4 cubic feet with the rear seat folded. Moreover, the front passenger seat folds down and that’s ideal for carrying long items, such as wood.
Cloth seats come standard, while imitation leather is available. Full power accessories, air conditioning, and a tilt-and-telescopic steering column are included. Among the upgrades are automatic climate control, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel. Also available is push-button start.
Robust Safety Features
Strong safety scores accompany the Trailblazer with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration assigning a 5-star rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recognized this Chevy with its Top Safety Pick award.
The list of standard driver-assist features includes forward collision warning and forward automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and teen driver all come standard.
The list of upgrades includes adaptive cruise control and rear parking sensors. Toyota also makes available blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
We’re impressed with the Trailblazer’s tech offerings. The infotainment system is user-friendly and includes a standard 7-inch or an available 8-inch touchscreen display.
The list of standard features includes a six-speaker audio system, satellite raid, Bluetooth, two USB ports, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also included.
You won’t find a navigation option, but the smartphone connectivity is an ideal substitute. Among the upgrades are a 7-speaker Bose audio system, HD Radio, additional USB ports, a 120-volt outlet, and wireless device charging. In all, the Trailblazer offers a robust assemblage of standard and available tech features.
The small SUV segment is booming. Even Chevrolet offers two models: the Trax is the other one. Among the models to consider include the Kia Seltos and the Hyundai Kona. Until recently, the Mazda CX-3 was offered, but it’s been replaced by the Mazda CX-30.
Other models in this segment include the Volkswagen Taos, Ford EcoSport, and the Subaru Crosstrek. The Nissan Kicks, Toyota C-HR, Jeep Renegade, Fiat 500X, and Honda HR-V are other models to consider.
Chevrolet supplies Trailblazer shoppers with a choice of two three-cylinder engines. That’s right…three cylinders. On paper, the standard 1.2- and available 1.3-liter engines seem too small and much too similar to make a difference. But on closer scrutiny, the two are turbocharged and produce decent levels of power.
The first engine is standard on the LS and LT. It produces 137 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. The second engine is optional with the LT and standard on the Activ and RS. This one develops 155 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque.
Another difference is that the base engine is outfitted with front-wheel-drive models only. It works with a continuously variable transmission. The upgraded engine, which powered our test Activ trim, works with a 9-speed automatic transmission. In brief, we will say the automatic works quietly and drama-free.
Chevrolet Trailblazer Activ
Our test Activ model is a slightly different beast than the other three trims. It comes with the larger of the two engines and is outfitted for a somewhat more robust off-road experience.
This one comes with 17-inch Hankook Sport all-terrain tires. Along with 8 inches of ground clearance (one inch higher than front-wheel-drive models), you might contemplate climbing rocks and whatnot.
We caution against rock climbing as the front skid plate is more for show than protection. The active dampers are a decent addition here as well. They supply better stiffness off-road and more comfort on-road. As for the tires, they are grippy and help the Activ move down dirt trails with ease.
Even so, we kept the Activ on the pavement for nearly all our drive time. This model supplies decent off-the-mark acceleration and passing power. Its steering is light to the touch and as far as handling goes, you’ll notice some body movement on twists and turns. Furthermore, we don’t recommend taking corners with abandon – go easy on it.
Is there a way for Chevrolet to improve the Trailblazer? We think so. Our suggestion would be to get rid of the base engine and make the upgraded engine standard. Then, add a turbocharged four-cylinder to the mix as this model deserves more power.
The current Trailblazer isn’t anything like the previous model. The original lived up to its name, while the modern one does not. That fact may be a showstopper for some and we understand.
On the other hand, the Trailblazer is one of the more stylish models in its segment. Most competitors look like a tall hatchback, while the Trailblazer is designed to mimic an SUV.
We give this model props for safety and technology while lauding its cargo space. If these attributes are enough, then the Trailblazer may very well be right for you.
See Also – A Look Back at the Chevrolet Monza
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