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Sunday Drive: 2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer a great compact SUV

By Craig and Deanne Conover - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Oct 9, 2021

Chevrolet/FPI

A look at the exterior of the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer ACTIV.

The new version of what was once known as the Chevy Trailblazer has now been around for a couple of years, and it is proving to be a very capable compact SUV in its own right. The old version became what is today in Chevy’s lineup the Traverse, and we found the redesigned Trailblazer to be a very enjoyable city driver.

We experienced the Trailblazer just over a year ago when we took it out on the desert for the day. We drove the old Pony Express Trail in Utah’s West Deseret and gave the SUV a thorough workout, climbing small mountains and generally staying off-road.

We were able to visit some awesome spots out in the desert along with seeing a couple of the groups of wild horses that are commonplace along the old trail. We eventually ended up in a place called Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge. This is an over 17,000-acre wetlands that is smack dab in the middle of the Utah desert.

We happened upon the large body of water completely by accident, but we would do the drive again just to see all the different types of birds that are at the refuge.

After that, we decided to continue our journey all the way into Nevada on dirt roads and ended the day with a quick dinner in West Wendover. The whole time, the small SUV performed without a hitch, although it was very dirty upon our return home.

Chevrolet/FPI

A look at the exterior of the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer ACTIV.

This time out with the Trailblazer, it seemed fitting to get in more town and freeway time, which we accomplished with a trip to Salt Lake City and another to Ogden.

We had three adults in the little SUV on the trip to Ogden and back, with no complaint about head room or leg room from the back seat. This is one place the Chevrolet has not skimped on, as it was almost as comfortable to sit in the back as in the front — something that other small SUVs lack. However, there is really not room for five adults, as the rear would be very cramped width-wise with three.

The new Trailblazer comes with a unique engine situation, as there are two choices: a 1.3-liter or a 1.2-liter. Both turbocharged motors have only three cylinders each. This is not something that has been put out in any of the press literature or sales materials. The 1.2 makes 137 horsepower and is coupled with a CVT transmission, and the larger 1.3 makes 155 ponies but is coupled with a very nice nine-speed automatic transmission.

The top trim level ACTIV that we had for a week did extremely well around town and would accelerate into traffic nicely, especially after the turbo would kick in. It was not going to win many races, but that is not what the design calls for. It is all about getting better gas mileage and still owning an SUV that will carry stuff here and there.

For the week, we averaged just over the EPA estimate of 28 combined mpg, getting 28.9. However, about half of our over 500 miles was driven at freeway speeds. We would expect the average daily driver would be right in the 28-mpg range over the life of the Trailblazer.

Chevrolet/FPI

A look at the exterior of the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer ACTIV.

Inside, the new Trailblazer kept us completely comfortable for the entire week, with leatherette seating surfaces that were even heated, which helped as fall is approaching and Mother Nature threw a couple of cold mornings at us. A new addition this year was a heated steering wheel, a score on cold days! The designers also included soft touch points throughout the cabin and a great center console armrest.

The addition of the Technology Package ($1,620) came with many great things we would highly recommend, not the least of which was adaptive cruise control that made the longer drives so much easier with all the heavy traffic now traveling along the Wasatch Front.

It also added a larger 8-inch touch screen — and larger is always better in this department, especially with the fact that the Trailblazer would hook up two smart phones wirelessly via Apple CarPlay. Hooking up a phone became very important as there was no navigation included in any package.

The center driving display also became an LED screen with this package; again, this is a great addition with so much information at our fingertips, especially the digital speedometer.

With safety in mind, Chevrolet now has what it calls Chevy Safety Assist, which comes with lane keep assist and lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian detection, forward collision alert, automatic high beam headlamps and a teen driver setting.

Chevrolet/FPI

A look inside the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer ACTIV.

We had to give style points to the designers at GM as they have come up with a great exterior package on the new Trailblazer. Well-defined lines wrap around the SUV, and it has a floating roof that on our test ride was painted white. This went very well with the Zeus Bronze Metallic paint covering the rest of the vehicle.

The new version of the Chevy Trailblazer may not be as apt to blaze trails as its larger predecessor did. However, it will make a great addition to any city dweller’s garage as it gets around with a very nimble feel. It turned to be a very comfortable everyday driver for us.

Base price: $27,200

Destination charge: $1,195

Price as driven: $32,155

Chevrolet/FPI

A look inside the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer ACTIV.

A look at the storage capacity inside the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer ACTIV.

A look at the storage capacity inside the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer ACTIV.

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