As demand for crossovers heats up, automakers continue to expand their product offerings in as many segments as possible. We now have vehicles like the Hyundai Venue and Nissan Kicks, two value-oriented crossovers positioned at the lower end of the subcompact segment. With the 2021 Trailblazer, Chevy hasn’t introduced a direct competitor to either of the aforementioned vehicles. Instead, they’ve made a play to (probably) make the Trax Chevy’s value entry. Then again, this is GM we’re talking about, so who knows.
Chevy has once again revived a discontinued nameplate to slap onto one of its modern crossovers. It’s also put the Trax in an odd spot in Chevy’s lineup. Without destination, the Trax starts at $21,300. That’s about $1300 more than the Trailblazer’s starting MSRP. Not a substantial difference, but the Trailblazer is the larger of the two vehicles. What’s going on here? GM is probably going to either cut content from the Trax to keep its price in line with its size, or a redesigned model is right around the corner, which would make a similar move, just at a later date.
The Buick Encore possibly hints at what’s in store for the Trax. At the top end, the Encore lost its optional engine and some equipment. That’s due to the unimaginatively named Encore GX, which is the Trailblazer’s sibling. Like the new Chevy, the Buick Encore GX is bigger than the other subcompact in Buick’s lineup. They’re oddly named. However, these new crossovers do have room in their respective lineups for something slightly larger. The Trax/Encore measure 168 inches in length while their next largest family members, the Equinox/Envision come in at 183 and 184 inches, respectively. Most compact measure in at around 180 inches, which means GM has some additional room to play with.
The Trailblazer will offer two turbocharged three cylinder engines. Standard is a 1.2 liter turbo three cylinder rated at 137 horsepower and mated to a CVT. That’s the engine buyers receive if they opt for the $19,995 L trim, which also comes with a 7.0 inch Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible touchscreen. The 1.2 liter is exclusively front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive becomes available with the LS trim, which will net buyers a 1.3 liter turbocharged three cylinder rated at 155 horsepower. Unlike the base engine, the optional powerplant utilizes GM’s nine speed automatic transmission.
It’s probably not a coincidence that the Trailblazer’s power figures neatly match up with what’s available on the last remaining examples of the Cruze. Pricing also isn’t too far off. The Cruze Premier starts at $23,520. Notable features include LED daytime running lamps, 17 inch alloy wheels, and heated seats. Similarly, the Trailblazer LT nets shoppers LED running lamps, 17 inch alloy wheels, and heated seats. About $1,000 separates the two, but it’s more likely that Chevy will find customers perfectly willing to pay the additional cost of stepping into the new crossover, especially after the Cruze disappears from dealer lots.
In typical GM fashion, the Trailblazer is oddly positioned and even more strangely named. The slightly upmarket subcompact crossover is clearly Chevy’s attempt to mimic the Nissan Kicks and Hyundai Venue. Those are vehicles worth pursuing, but they exist at the value end of the segment, and at minimum are about $1500 cheaper than the Trailblazer. What’s also puzzling is GM’s logic in using these older names. Why is Trailblazer being applied to the smaller crossover when it would have worked perfectly for the mid-size entry? The new Blazer and old Trailblazer are very similarly sized. Trailblazer = Trailblazer seems like a pretty easy concept to grasp. What happened?
Just to recap: Next year shoppers will arrive at a Chevy dealership and immediately encounter a crossover designed to compete with the Hyundai Venue and Nissan Kicks, at least in appearance. If they already experienced those crossovers at their respective dealerships, they’ll find the Trailblazer’s price a little hard to swallow. They’ll also see the smaller Trax and be similarly turned off by the even higher MSRP on certain trims. In the same showroom are GM fans ready to trade in their 2009 Trailblazer for something similarly sized. After seeing the diminutive new Trailblazer, they decide to head next door to check out the Ford Edge, which seemed pretty similar in size to their current ride. The Blazer that would have suited their needs was out on a test drive, which is why they didn’t see it. These are not unrealistic scenarios.
Chevy’s newest Trailblazer is set to confuse shoppers in early 2020, when it arrives at Chevy dealerships nationwide.
Ok, we have Ford doing the “Mustang Inspired” Mach E, a crossover.
(Sorry, I still refuse to call it a Mustang until I actually see the production version sporting the galloping pony on its “grille”.)
Look at that second picture down. Think of an RS Camaro’s “Lexus-Like” gaping maw.
Is this Trailblazer Chevy’s answer? A Camaro inspired crossover?
Or am I just getting caught up in “design language”?
Correction: ZL1 Camaro:
I wonder what they will call it here?its certainly ugly enough to gain a Holden badge and every other incompetent CUV seems to have landed.
Calling it “Tracker” would have made more sense.
All these identical crossovers is as confusing as GMs identical FWD lineups in the 80s
Still not as much overlap as Chevy in 1987: six cars before you even got to mid-size (Sprint, Chevette, Nova, Cavalier, Beretta, Corsica).
Agreed. That was a crazy time.
The Trax/Trailblazer and Encore/Encore GX overlap puzzles me but otherwise things progress in a logical fashion.
Sprint and Spectrum were sold on separate coasts for most of the overlap due to the location of the plants and the cost of shipping. You could see them at the same dealer but it was pretty rare unless a dealer trade happened or you were dealing with a store that was on the edge of one region.
As if six isn’t confusing enough, aren’t you forgetting the Spectrum?
I was going to say that that replaced the Chevette but nope, it was sold concurrently with it for a few years.
I should have remembered that, as after all I wrote this:
If anyone thought that the switch to SUV and trucks would hobble South Korea, they were only partially correct. South Korea is doing what it did for cars – filling the market with little vehicles that have been winning over Chevrolet customers for years. Chevrolet has been getting hammered by Hyundai and Kia. Then you have Nissan and VW struggling to stay afloat and those two are selling to anyone with an address and a job at Burger King.
The US market shift from cars to SUVs put a crimp on South Korea auto makers, but it looks like after a four year cycle – those companies are doing for SUVs what they did for the little sedan market – eating Chevrolet’s lunch.
FYI the addition of the 9-speed auto (based on my impressions driving one) to the 1.3 turbo will likely make that edition WORLDS more pleasant to drive.
I am actually curious about the “off road” oriented edition of the Trailblazer that has been promised. I want to see what they do to supposedly make it more friendly to leaving the pavement.
Center diff lock, different tires, electronic trickery? Or just slap badges on it because that’s all anybody cares about anyway?
Wow…lookit that front end: twin of the current Kia Soul, separated at birth?
Resembles a Lexus to my eye also.
Aside from the badging mashup, what’s next for GM power plant development? Perhaps a joint venture with Harbor Freight to utilize their v twin with a supercharger?
I will see this car as a sort of landmark: it’s likely the first small GM car in decades that will have nothing to do with similarly-sized cars we get as Opels/Vauxhalls here in Europe.
Interesting times are coming, now that Opel and Vauxhall are in PSA hands.
I had to stop and think about that but you’re right — first in a decade, as the Aveo used a Daewoo platform before it was replaced by the Sonic on the Gamma platform shared with Opel. And of course, the Cobalt used the Delta platform shared with Opel.
Very interesting to see GM Korea’s website. No more Sonic. No more Cruze. GM outsources its small cars to Korea, but Korea will only export crossovers.
I think that now China might replace Korea as GM’s top import car destination. There already are things like the Buick Envision.
I’m waiting for this to come to Australia where it could make more of an impact than the Trax. But still no word of a RHD model.
The problem is, when it comes here it’ll be available probably with one interior colourway — black — and that frustrates me immensely. GM’s latest interiors have taken a step back from previous generation cabins, IMO. And black doesn’t make things look more expensive, it makes things look more drab. But no, black is all we get across the entire bloody range. Not even any colourful cloth trim to liven things up!
I’ll never understand how Australians have fallen in love with black interiors, especially black leather ones. Americans, you may bristle you’ve lost your colourful interiors but at least y’all can reliably get beige ones. Aussies seem to find those hideous so dealers only stock black and companies only import black.
I wouldn’t say we’ve fallen in love with black interiors, William, rather that it’s often the only colour we can get. Having once had a car with a black interior, I’d never have another. They just get too hot even in the southern Australian sun. I’ve found grey is cooler. And how energy-efficient (“green”) is it to have to use the aircon so much to cool down a hot interior, when a different colour wouldn’t heat up as much? Common sense please, people! And don’t get me started about people who buy black cars here. Perhaps the ultimate automotive oxymoron is a black Prius. Yes, I’ve seen one…
Speaking of “green” cars, why can’t you buy a green car nowadays?
For a serious SUV you really need the interior colour-matched to the local soil type so it doesn’t show the dirt. Um, except for the hot black-soil plains up north; black heats up too much. Oops, we’re rIght back where we started from… 🙂
Blazer, Trailblazer, (Jimmy if that’s under consideration, or not, I don’t even know), Orlando, all these utilities being put out by GM and I’m already confused. I think I stopped paying attention at Rendezvous and Aztek. The Equinox is OK I guess, even built in Canada (you don’t say), but I can’t get excited about any of these offerings.
I’m not even a Ford guy but I can picture the difference in my head between a Flex, an Edge, an Escape, and an Ecosport. Not that I would buy any of these either, mind you.
You can just forget the Orlando. It’s history. It was more an MPV than a crossover anyway.
The GM crossovers that appeal to me the most are the big ‘uns: the Acadia and the even bigger Enclave and Traverse.
Not sure what car you’re referring to re: the Jimmy. GMC was considering a sub-Terrain (teehee) crossover, potentially based on the Granite concept, but I don’t recall the Jimmy name being mooted.
Rumour has it there’ll be a BOF GMC SUV based on the Colorado/Canyon and conceptually similar to the global Chevrolet Trailblazer (yes, GM sells two entirely different Chevrolet Trailblazers), but I’ll believe it when I see it.
Wonder what would you in the US think of the Captiva!
We got one generation of the “Crap-tiva”
Amazing that it was only sold to rental fleets here and then on the used market. The irony is that the used price was never far from a similar Equinox and the Equinox was likely a better vehicle.
The original was a Daewoo, the new Captiva is a Wuling! Seemingly the name was well regarded enough to be used again in Chile, Peru and Colombia.
So Chevrolet is going to be selling what was essentially a Subaru Justy (1.2 three cyl + CVT) inside a CUV body and using a turbo to make up for the weight? I hope the CVT they use is stouter than they’ve been in the past!
I would have loved 137 hp in my Justy. That would have been a righteous pocket rocket!
This is so confusing I can see people leaving the showroom and going elsewhere, to a company with a more logical lineup. GM needs to realise that in many buyers’ minds they’re a bit player in today’s automotive market; they can’t afford mis-steps these days.