Road test | Chevrolet Trailblazer: a new (small) actor with a well-known name

With the Chevrolet Trax presented as an argument, Chevrolet was never really in the game in the subcompact crossover category. The brand with the bow tie was therefore satisfied for a few years with a role of figuration in front of Japanese and South Korean competition which understood the strategic value of the segment. Now comes the Trailblazer, a brand new model with a household name, to spark interest.

Design

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This small crossover manages to stand out stylistically from its horde with an expressive Camaro-inspired grille.

We can bet that the Trailblazer of your memories does not have the physique of this 2021 vintage. The SUV offered during the 2000s was not only bigger, but relied on the strength of its ladder frame to convince. Of course, its descendant – indirect – offers a design that can recall its distant utilitarian roots, but the parallels come down to this single fact. The small crossover, however, manages to stand out from its horde stylistically with an expressive Camaro-inspired grille. The colors are original and the possibility of painting the roof in a different color adds a degree of customization that many rivals do not have. This Trailblazer is also well proportioned with its picked up profile. So there is material to rejuvenate the audience.

On board

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The assembly is generally very acceptable, but we perceive this Trailblazer set back against the Mazda CX-30, among other things, when we look at the nobility of the materials.

The freshness of the body design, however, does not translate so clearly into the interior. Admittedly, the assembly is generally very acceptable, but we perceive this Trailblazer set back against the Mazda CX-30, among other things, when we look at the nobility of the materials. There is also a slight lack of refinement in the aesthetic rendering, which gives the impression of being a little more dated compared to certain competitors who favor a more refined approach with horizontal lines and instrumentation pouring into the digital. In terms of interior space, the small crossover is doing quite well, placing itself in the good segment average. The rear seats can easily accommodate adults of average height. The trunk is rather spacious with 716 L of volume and has a large opening to swallow objects.

Under the hood

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The Chevrolet Trailblazer engine is a turbocharged three-cylinder engine with displacement ranging from 1.2L to 1.3L, depending on the chosen livery.

Barely a few hundred meters are enough to see that the Trailblazer is driven by a mechanism that contrasts with the four-cylinders that abound in its category. The serious sound, similar to a V6, reminds us that it is a three-cylinder that activates at the front, a turbocharged engine whose displacement varies from 1.2 L to 1.3 L, depending on the chosen livery. The larger volume version fitted the tested version with 155 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. We undoubtedly like the different approach taken by Chevrolet here, but this engine, which exists primarily for the Asian markets which tax strongly according to the displacement, presents a certain harshness. In cold start, the vibrations are marked; ditto when the gearbox (nine gears) forces this engine to run at low speed at low speed. We feel too marked a compromise here, while an atmospheric four-cylinder would undoubtedly have done a better job.

Behind the wheel

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The chassis of the Trailblazer provides sufficient driving pleasure, but rolling noise would benefit from being better isolated from the passenger compartment to polish its refinement.

While the mechanics hardly impress the driver, the crossover is more persuasive when it comes to handling. A little firmer in its damping than its cousin, the Buick Encore GX, the Trailblazer has precise steering. Cash movements are also well contained. Its chassis therefore ensures sufficient driving pleasure, but rolling noise would benefit from being better isolated from the passenger compartment to polish its refinement. When we analyze its behavior, we perceive that the rear suspension, with a rigid axle, displays a slight tendency to wiggle in a bend when a bump occurs, which is essentially only perceptible without greatly affecting the handling in the turn. . General Motors (GM) should also ignore the key to activate all-wheel drive, while all the competition uses systems that adapt to the level of grip.

Embedded technologies

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Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Wireless are offered at no cost, as is the Teen Driver feature.

The crossover is offered as standard with a full battery of active safety elements, which is to be welcomed and which democratizes technical advances in this area. The cruise control is however optional on the basic LS livery, a curious omission. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Wireless are also offered free of charge, as is the Teen Driver feature that allows you to monitor what your teen is doing while driving. A cell phone app is also standard equipment. The multimedia system used by Chevrolet remains one of the good proposals among general manufacturers. It’s easy to use, plenty of time to process orders, and offers a readable presentation that isn’t too distracting when driving. The optional Bose audio system completes it all with great sound quality.

The verdict

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The Trailblazer is a much more successful effort than the Trax, which is also still offered in the Chevrolet lineup.

There is no doubt that the Trailblazer is a much more successful effort than the Trax, which is also still offered in the Chevrolet range, despite its identical positioning. This new creation from GM’s South Korean division is already more popular than GM, which makes a lot of sense. That said, the mechanics of this Trailblazer serve it more or less well with its harshness and fuel mileage being too close to compact SUVs. Too much hard plastics are also used in her interior assembly, contributing to a somewhat drab look that contrasts with the refreshing expressiveness of her outer dress. All in all, a good progression, but it is not yet enough to hope to dislodge the best of its highly competitive group.

Notebook

The fuel consumption argument

Using a smaller displacement should in theory reduce fuel consumption. Unfortunately for the Trailblazer in all-wheel drive livery, its fuel consumption of 8.4 L / 100 km on average is higher than that of the Toyota RAV4 and that of the Subaru Forester, among others, despite the larger dimensions of the latter.

Accessible all-wheel drive

Cog is a $ 2,000 option that also lets you get your hands on the more powerful version of the three-cylinder, a choice that however increases fuel mileage by almost 1 L / 100 km.

The most “SUV” of the Trailblazer

The Activ version of the Trailblazer comes with a different layout that highlights its slightly better off-road capabilities thanks to more biting standard tires with thicker sidewall (Hankook Sport Terrain) and different damping settings.

Have the internet almost everywhere

Like all GM products, the Trailblazer comes with an independent 4G LTE hotspot available through a monthly subscription.

Good ergonomics

The Trailblazer takes care of the ergonomics of its controls with cleverly placed buttons, some of which are accessible behind the wheel. So you don’t have to let go of the steering wheel to increase or decrease the volume of the radio.

Technical sheet

Model under test: Activ

Engine: L3 DOHC 1.3L Turbocharged

Horsepower: 155 hp @ 5,600 rpm

Torque: 174 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm

Transmission: Nine-speed automatic

Engine architecture: Front transverse engine, all-wheel drive

Consumption (EnerGuide): 8.4 L / 100 km

Price (with options, transport and preparation): $ 37,478

Competitors: Buick Encore GX, Ford EcoSport, Fiat 500X, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Jeep Compass, Kia Seltos, Mazda CX-30, Mini Countryman, Mitsubishi RVR, Nissan Qashqai, Subaru Crosstrek, Toyota C-HR and Volkswagen Taos (2022)

New in 2021? : New model

To know more : https://www.chevrolet.ca/en/suvs/trailblazer

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