Good value, but Chevy has something better

Good value, but Chevy has something better

Positives: Attractive interior designs; Premium standard infotainment technology; Reasonably priced; Good rear legroom

cons: Slow acceleration and the basic CVT don’t help; The Chevy Trax’s lackluster driving dynamics are a better value

The 2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer is a slightly updated version of its brand and is an affordable and stylish small crossover. It’s competitive for the increasingly popular subcompact SUV segment, but it also faces off against competitors that are more well-rounded, more personal and generally capable in the key areas the Trailblazer claims benefits, namely usability and adventure. The pricier Subaru Crosstrek, Kia Seltos, VW Taos, and Ford Bronco Sport are better bets.

Although the name is similar, the Trailblazer doesn’t focus on driving dynamics like its Blazer sibling. Their three-cylinder engines won’t exactly get your pulse racing, nor are they as engaging or even as fun to drive as others in the segment. But it’s comfortable enough with its roomy back seat, and it has a lot of personality. The modest interior gets an upgrade this year with bright new displays for the infotainment system and driver display.

Although the Trailblazer is practical, stylish and a good value, there’s ultimately one major reason to consider something else, and you don’t have to go far to a Chevy dealer to find it. The all-new 2024 Chevrolet Trax is a much more compelling and competitive package, making better use of cargo and passenger space, featuring a more engaging driving experience and starting at about $2,000 less. We think it looks better too. Of course, it doesn’t offer a bigger upgrade to the Trailblazer’s engine, or more importantly, all-wheel drive. Basically, we might not recommend the Trailblazer, but there is a Chevrolet subcompact car that we like a lot.

Interior and technology | Passenger and cargo space Performance and fuel economy

What does leadership look like? Pricing and Trim Levels | Fault ratings and safety features

What’s new for 2024?

The 2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer received some updates to the exterior design, especially in the front, in addition to some new wheel designs for various trims and new paint colors. Inside, the car gets a new dual-screen interface standard, including an 11-inch infotainment touchscreen and an 8-inch digital instrument panel.

What does the Trailblazer’s interior and in-car technology look like?

The Trailblazer’s interior is similar to other Chevy crossovers, especially since it’s been improved for 2024 with new, larger screens that update the dashboard. There are still plenty of black plastic switchgear, but they don’t look cheap or particularly low-rent for the money. The interior plastics are decorated with interesting textures, and colorful trim pieces help keep the interior looking dull or drab. The Activ model features some nice touches like yellow stitching and standard front seats and steering wheel. The RS gets similar comfort equipment, a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel and red interior accents for a sporty look. An available eight-way power driver’s seat allows for a long range of motion and will be suitable for taller drivers.

New digital displays are standard across the range, and include an 11-inch central infotainment touchscreen and an 8-inch digital instrument panel in front of the driver. If you’ve seen what’s on the updated 2024 Chevy Trax (or the new 2024 Encore GX or Buick Envista, for that matter) you’ll be familiar. It uses a simple, straightforward version of GM’s Android-based infotainment system, with crisp graphics and easy-to-navigate menus and controls. We like the menu icons to remain anchored to the left side of the screen. We also appreciate the standard inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A digital rearview mirror is also standard equipment for 2024.

How big is the Trailblazer?

From the outside, the Trailblazer is one of the larger subcompact SUVs, though that doesn’t always translate to interior space, especially in the cargo area. Sitting in the back seat of a Trailblazer He is Pleasant from a pure space perspective, with 39.4 inches of rear legroom (just a half-inch less than the compact Equinox), but a step back in ambiance, as most of the interesting frills and elegance up front have been ditched for the back seat. You should also think twice about the available panoramic sunroof as it significantly reduces headroom.

Cargo space is officially measured at 25.3 cubic feet behind the second row and 54.3 cubic feet with the seats down. This is behind the Equinox in maximum utility. We found that it’s not quite as wide with the seats up as that official figure suggests, and eventually falls towards the bottom of the segment for transporting actual items. The Trax can carry more with the seats up. On the plus side, the Trailblazer’s distinctive fold-flat front passenger seat gives it a degree of versatility that its competitors can’t match (save for its mechanical cousin, the Buick Encore GX).

What are the Trailblazer’s fuel economy and performance specifications?

The TrailBlazer’s standard power plant is a 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine that produces 137 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and is only available with front-wheel drive. As for fuel economy, it gets 29 miles per gallon city, 31 miles per gallon highway, and 30 miles per gallon combined.

The upgrade engine is another turbocharged three-cylinder, displacing 1.3 liters and delivering 155 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. This engine is linked to a nine-speed automatic transmission. With front-wheel drive, you get 29 miles per gallon city, 33 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined. The available Trailblazer with all-wheel drive suffers a slight drop in efficiency, at 26/29/27 mpg.

What’s it like to drive a Trailblazer?

You may be bored with the Trailblazer’s driving characteristics, but they’re fundamentally sound. It’s unfortunate that the silent three-cylinder doesn’t feel like much from the driver’s seat and is somewhat out of line. This is especially true with the base engine and CVT (the Trax has the same engine but with a conventional automatic transmission), but even the larger 1.3-liter engine, nine-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive don’t represent a significant performance upgrade. 0-60 seems likely to take about 9 seconds, which is slow, but not unusual for the small car segment (and again, the turbocharged Mazda CX-30 and Kia Seltos buck this trend). Having a large amount of lag between the foot down and pushing forward is responsible for some of its laziness.

We can’t speak to the handling and ride characteristics of anything but the Activ (all other models have different damper tuning), but this errs toward comfort over everything else. The steering is slow and numb, and the Trailblazer’s body movements don’t encourage back-road enjoyment. It’s not cumbersome, but the Trax and other non-Chevy competitors like the Mazda CX-30 are sharper, more engaging vehicles to drive.

These comfort-tuned (or, as Chevy claims, off-road-tuned) dampers do a great job of making the Trailblazer’s ride better than expected. Rough city streets are handled with aplomb, and do a great job of making sure harsh impacts don’t get into the cabin. We sent it out on some dirt roads with similar results, noting that it was very comfortable and covered up imperfections better than we would expect from a car of its size and wheelbase. If this sounds like what you expect from your small crossover, the Activ is probably your best bet, but it’s also wise to check out the Subaru Crosstrek. It has the same comfort and off-road mission and does a better, more reliable job.

What other Chevy Trailblazer reviews can I read?

Chevrolet Trailblazer 2021 first drive | And then there were two

Our first drive of the all-new Chevrolet TrailBlazer. We review its geometry and all the details of this new small crossover.

2021 Chevy Trailblazer Luggage Test | Varying space, good craftsmanship

We find that the cargo area is not as large as the official specifications indicate, but the folding front passenger seat provides a benefit that goes beyond just the space that can be placed behind the rear seats.

What is the price of the 2024 Trailblazer?

Pricing for the 2024 Chevy TrailBlazer starts at $24,395 (including $1,295 destination charge) for the base LS FWD model, which comes with the 1.2-liter engine and CVT transmission. The 1.3-liter LS FWD model costs $24,790, and the LS AWD (which has the 1.3-liter, nine-speed automatic transmission) starts at $26,345. Standard equipment for the base LS includes an 11-inch infotainment touchscreen and an 8-inch digital display, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio with a three-month subscription, a Wi-Fi hotspot, keyless start, and LED headlights. Automatic, 17-inch wheels, HD rearview camera mirror, cruise control, fold-flat front passenger seat, single-zone manual climate control, six-way manual driver’s seat, and cloth seating materials.

2024 Trailblazer pricing details by model are as follows:

  • LS FWD (1.2): $24,395
  • LS FWD (1.3): $24,790
  • LS AWD (1.3): $26,395
  • LT FWD (1.2): $25,595
  • LT FWD (1.3): $25,990
  • LT AWD (1.3): $27,595
  • Active FWD (1.3): 28,395
  • Active 4WD (1.3): 29,995
  • RS FWD (1.3): $28,395
  • RS AWD (1.3): $29,995

What are the Trailblazer’s safety ratings and driver assistance features?

In addition to the usual airbags and restraints, the Trailblazer’s standard safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, distance indicator, lane keep assist, lane departure warning and a teen driver system. Blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors are also available.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not updated crash test results for the 2024 model as of this writing, but we don’t expect them to change starting in 2023. The IIHS has given the 2023 Trailblazer a Top Safety Pick rating +. It received top scores for all impact resistance categories, receiving the highest rating of “Good” or second-best “Acceptable” for headlights depending on model. It was rated as “superior” for avoiding vehicle-to-vehicle collisions, and second best as “advanced” for avoiding daytime vehicle-to-pedestrian collisions. It received an “Acceptable” rating for ease of use of LATCH.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2024 Trailblazer a top five-star overall crash rating, while it earned five stars for the frontal and side crash categories, and a four-star rollover rating.

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