2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer Review: Reasonable price, but Chevy has something better

By | December 18, 2023

Pros: Attractive interior; excellent standard infotainment technology; affordable; good legroom in the back

Cons: Slow acceleration and basic CVT don’t help; boring driving dynamics; Chevy Trax is a better value

The 2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer is the brand’s slightly updated take on an affordable small crossover with style. It’s competitive in the increasingly popular subcompact SUV segment, but it also has to compete with competitors that are generally more complete, characterful and capable in key areas that the Trailblazer claims as advantages, especially practicality and adventure capabilities. The Subaru Crosstrek, Kia Seltos, VW Taos and the admittedly more expensive Ford Bronco Sport are better bets.

Although the name is similar, the Trailblazer doesn’t have its Blazer sibling’s focus on driving dynamics. The three-cylinder engines don’t really get your heart pumping, and it’s not as engaging or even fun to drive as others in this segment. But it’s comfortable enough with its roomy backseat, and it has plenty of character. The mediocre interior design gets an upgrade this year with striking new screens for the infotainment and driver display.

Ultimately, while the Trailblazer is practical, stylish, and affordable, there’s 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 attractive and competitive package, making better use of cargo and passenger space, offering a more engaging driving experience and starting at about $2,000 less. We also think it looks better. Of course, it doesn’t offer the Trailblazer’s bigger engine upgrade, or more importantly, all-wheel drive. In principle we may not recommend the Trailblazer, but there is a subcompact Chevrolet that does get a big thumbs up.

Interior & Technology | Passenger and cargo space | Performance and fuel consumption

What it’s like to drive | Prices and equipment levels | Crash ratings and safety features

What’s new for 2024?

The 2024 Chevy Trailblazer gets some exterior design updates, especially up front, as well as some new wheel designs for the various trims and new paint colors. Inside, it gets a new dual-screen interface as standard, including an 11-inch infotainment touchscreen and an 8-inch digital instrument cluster.

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

The Trailblazer’s interior design and styling are similar to other Chevy crossovers, especially because it has been improved for the 2024 model year with larger new displays that modernize the dashboard. There’s still plenty of black plastic switchgear, but it doesn’t feel cheap or particularly cheap for the money. The plastics on the inside are decorated with interesting textures and colorful trim parts ensure that the interior does not look boring or gloomy. The Activ trim has some nice touches like yellow stitching and standard heated 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. The available eight-way power driver’s seat allows for a wide range of motion and would suit taller drivers.

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

How big is the Trailblazer?

On the outside, the Trailblazer is one of the larger subcompact SUVs, although that doesn’t always translate to interior space, especially the cargo area. Sitting in the backseat of the Trailblazer is pleasant from a pure space perspective, with 3 feet of rear legroom (just half an inch less than the compact Equinox), but it’s a step back in ambiance, as most of the intriguing upholstery and styling up front is abandoned for the rear seats. Also consider the available panoramic sunroof, as it significantly reduces headroom.

Cargo space officially measures 25.3 cubic feet behind the second row and 54.3 cubic feet with the seats down. That’s just behind the Equinox in terms of maximum usability. We found that with the seats up it’s not as roomy as the official figure would indicate, ultimately dropping to the bottom of the segment for actually carrying stuff. With the seats up, the Trax can carry even more. On the plus side, the Trailblazer’s signature fold-flat front passenger seat gives it a degree of versatility that its competitors can’t match (aside from its mechanical cousin, the Buick Encore GX).

What are the fuel economy and performance specs of the Trailblazer?

The Trailblazer’s standard powerplant is a turbocharged 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine that produces 137 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. It is mated to 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 mpg highway and 30 mpg combined.

The upgrade engine is another turbocharged three-cylinder, this one displacing 1.3 liters and making 155 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. That engine is linked to a nine-speed automatic transmission. With front-wheel drive, it gets 29 miles per gallon city, 33 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined. The available all-wheel drive Trailblazer’s efficiency suffers a bit, returning 26/29/27 mpg.

How does the Trailblazer drive?

You may be bored by the Trailblazer’s handling characteristics, but it’s fundamentally sound. The muffled three-cylinder unfortunately doesn’t sound much from the driver’s seat and it’s pretty blah off the line. That’s especially true of the base engine and its thumping CVT (the Trax has the same engine, but a conventional automatic), but even the larger combination of 1.3 liters, nine-speed automatic and all-wheel drive isn’t a substantial performance upgrade. A 0-60 time of around 9 seconds seems likely, which is slow but not unusual for the subcompact segment (on the other hand, the turbocharged Mazda CX-30 and Kia Seltos do buck that trend). A significant amount of lag between the foot down and the forward thrust accounts for some of his laziness.

We can’t speak to the ride and handling of anything other than the Activ (all other versions have a different damper setting), but this one trumps everything else at the expense of comfort. The steering is slow and numb, and the Trailblazer’s body movements don’t encourage fun on the backroad. It’s not cumbersome, but the Trax and other non-Chevy competitors like the Mazda CX-30 are sharper and more engaging vehicles to drive.

These comfort-tuned (or, as Chevy claims, off-road-tuned) dampers do a good job of making the Trailblazer handle better than expected. Rough city streets are handled with aplomb and it keeps hard impacts from penetrating the cabin. We sent it over some dirt roads with similar results, noting that it was suitably comfortable and handled imperfections better than we’d expect from a car of its size and wheelbase. If this sounds like what you want from your small crossover, the Activ is probably your best bet, but you might also want to check out the Subaru Crosstrek. It has the same mission in comfort and off-road and does it better and more credibly.

What other Chevy Trailblazer reviews can I read?

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer first drive | And then there were two

Our first drive with the all-new Chevrolet Trailblazer. We discuss the technology and all the details of this new, small crossover.

2021 Chevy Trailblazer Luggage Test | Questionable space, good versatility

We notice that the boot isn’t as large as the official specs indicate, but the fold-flat front passenger seat offers more convenience than just how much fits behind the rear seats.

What is the 2024 Trailblazer Prize?

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

The 2024 Trailblazer pricing breakdown by trim is 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 front-wheel drive (1.3): 28,395
  • Active AWD (1.3): 29,995
  • RS FWD (1.3): $28,395
  • RS AWD (1.3): $29,995

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

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

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not yet updated crash test scores for the 2024 model at the time of writing, but we don’t expect that to change from 2023 onwards. The IIHS gave the 2023 Trailblazer a Top Safety Pick+ designation. It achieved top scores in all crashworthiness categories and, depending on equipment, received the highest rating of ‘Good’ or the second best rating of ‘Acceptable’ for headlights. It is rated as the best ‘Superior’ for avoiding collisions between vehicles and second best ‘Advanced’ for avoiding collisions between vehicles and pedestrians during the day. It was rated “Acceptable” for LATCH ease of use.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the 2024 Trailblazer the best overall crash rating of five stars, while scoring five stars for the frontal and side crash categories, and a four-star rollover rating.

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