The new Chevrolet Trailblazer joins the growing cadre of subcompact crossovers, competing against the Kia Seltos, the Nissan Kicks, and the Mazda CX-30, among others. Chevy’s new entry looks sharp, particularly with its available contrasting-color roof. Despite being small outside, it’s bigger inside than many of its competitors. The availability of all-wheel drive is a plus, as not all subcompact SUVs offer it (the Toyota C-HR and Kicks, for example). Gas mileage is disappointing though, as the Trailblazer’s three-cylinder engines are no more economical than larger four-cylinder SUVs. The Trailblazer’s biggest handicap is its pricing structure, as the upper trim levels put it up against more capable competitors.
All-new last year, there are only minor changes for the 2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer. The base “L” trim is no longer available and a trailering package and roof rails are now optional. The Activ and RS trim also get a standard heated steering wheel.
The Trailblazer offers four trim levels: LS, LT, Activ, and RS. The LT is the most popular model and it’s our pick as well. We’ll explain why.
The LS starts at $22,795 and comes with 17-inch aluminum wheels, a 7-inch touchscreen interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, Bluetooth connectivity, auxiliary controls on the steering wheel, a six-speaker audio system, a flat-folding front passenger seat, and front and rear floor mats. Standard safety features include automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and forward-collision alert with pedestrian detection.
At $24,695, the LT builds on the LS by adding gloss-black 17-inch wheels, LED fog lights, roof-mounted side rails, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, push-button start, cruise control, heated front seats, keyless entry, tinted windows, and remote start. We recommend the LT because it includes plenty of additional features for less than $2K more than the base-level LS.
The Activ trim starts at $26,895 and comes standard with the larger 1.3-liter engine, a traditional nine-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, a slightly raised suspension, and an underbody skid plate. Additional upgrades include dual exhaust tips, unique 17-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, LED taillights, imitation-leather seat trim, a heated steering wheel, leather trim on the shift knob and steering wheel, and a rear-seat armrest.
The RS also starts at $26,895 but has a sporty look compared to the rugged theme of the Activ. Standard equipment on the RS includes the larger 1.3-liter engine, 18-inch wheels, and black exterior trim.
The Trailblazer is unusual in that it uses three-cylinder engines. Two are offered: a 1.2-liter and a 1.3-liter, both turbocharged. The 1.2-liter comes on front-wheel-drive models only and is mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which is efficient but can make for engine droning under acceleration. The 1.3-liter is available with front-wheel drive and the CVT or with a more sophisticated nine-speed automatic in combination with all-wheel drive.
The Chevrolet Trailblazer has several good qualities, including its interior space, its high-tech features, and its attractive design. Although its starting price is low, moving up to the more compelling Trailblazer variants causes the sticker price to balloon and quickly erodes the value proposition.