2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer Review: Decent value, but Chevy’s got something better


Pros: Attractive interior; excellent standard infotainment tech; affordable; good rear legroom

Cons: Slow acceleration and base CVT doesn’t help; dull driving dynamics; Chevy Trax is a better value

The 2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer is its brand’s slightly updated take on an affordable small crossover with style. It’s competitive for the increasingly popular subcompact SUV segment, but it’s also up against competitors that are generally more well-rounded, characterful and capable in key areas the Trailblazer claims as benefits, specifically utility and adventure-seeking capability. The Subaru Crosstrek, Kia Seltos, VW Taos and the admittedly pricier Ford Bronco Sport are better bets.

Though the name is similar, the Trailblazer doesn’t have its Blazer sibling’s focus on driving dynamics. Its three-cylinder engines won’t exactly get your pulse racing, and it’s not as engaging or even fun to drive as others can be in the segment. But it’s comfortable enough with its roomy back seat, and it’s got a lot of character. The so-so interior design gets an upgrade this year with flashy new screens for the infotainment and driver display.

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

Interior & Technology   |   Passenger & Cargo Space   |   Performance & Fuel Economy

What it’s like to drive   |   Pricing & Trim Levels   |   Crash Ratings & Safety Features

What’s new for 2024?

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

What are the Trailblazer interior and in-car technology like?

The Trailblazer’s interior design and styling resembles other Chevy crossovers, especially as it’s been improved for the 2024 model year with bigger new displays that modernize the dash. There’s still plenty of black plastic switchgear, but it doesn’t feel cheap or especially low-rent for the money. The interior plastics are dressed up with interesting textures, and colorful trim pieces help keep the interior from looking dull or dreary. 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-bottom leather steering wheel and red interior accents for a sporty look. The available eight-way power driver seat allows for a long range of movement and would be suitable for taller drivers.

The new digital displays are standard across the lineup, and include an 11-inch central infotainment touchscreen and an 8-in digital instrument panel in front of the driver. If you’ve seen what’s in 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, straightforward version of GM’s Android-based infotainment system, with crisp graphics and easy-to-navigate menus and controls. We like that the menu icons remain docked on 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 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 in the cargo area. Sitting in the back seat of the Trailblazer is pleasant from a pure space perspective, with 39.4 inches of rear legroom (only a half-inch less than the compact Equinox), but it’s a step back in ambiance, as most of the intriguing trim and style up front is abandoned for the back seat. You should also think twice about the available panoramic sunroof since 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. That’s just behind the Equinox in maximum utility. We found that it’s not quite as spacious with the seats up as that official figure would indicate, ultimately falling toward the bottom of the segment for actual stuff hauling. The Trax can actually carry more with the seats up. On the plus side, the Trailblazer’s distinctive fold-flat front passenger seat grants it a degree of versatility that its competitors cannot match (apart from its mechanical cousin, the Buick Encore GX).

What are the Trailblazer fuel economy and performance specs?

The Trailblazer’s standard power plant is a turbocharged 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine making 137 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and 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 providing 155 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. That engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic. 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 tad, rated at 26/29/27 mpg.

What’s the Trailblazer like to drive?

You may be bored by the Trailblazer’s driving characteristics, but it’s fundamentally sound. The muted three-cylinders sadly don’t sound like much from the driver’s seat and it’s fairly blah off the line. That’s especially true with the base engine and its droning CVT (the Trax has the same engine but a conventional automatic), but even the bigger 1.3-liter, nine-speed auto and all-wheel drive combo aren’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 (then again, the Mazda CX-30 and turbocharged Kia Seltos do buck that trend). A significant amount of lag between foot down and forward thrust is to blame for some of its laziness.

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

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

What other Chevy Trailblazer reviews can I read?

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer First Drive | And then there were two

Our first drive of the totally new Chevrolet Trailblazer. We go over its engineering and all the details of this new, little crossover.

 

2021 Chevy Trailblazer Luggage Test | Iffy space, good versatility

We find that the cargo area isn’t as large as its official specs would indicate, but its fold-flat front passenger seat provides utility beyond simply how much can fit behind the back seats.

 

What is the 2024 Trailblazer price?

The 2024 Chevy Trailblazer starts at $24,395 (including $1,295 in destination charges) 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 (which has the 1.3-liter and a nine-speed automatic transmission) starts at $26,345. The base LS’s standard equipment includes an 11-inch infotainment touchscreen and 8-inch digital instrument display, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio with a three-month subscription, Wi-Fi hotspot, keyless start, automatic LED headlights, 17-inch wheels, HD rear-view 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 price 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

 

  • Activ FWD (1.3): 28,395
  • Activ AWD (1.3): 29,995

 

  • RS FWD (1.3): $28,395
  • RS AWD (1.3): $29,995

What are the Trailblazer safety ratings and driver assistance features?

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

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) hasn’t updated its crash test scores for the 2024 model as of this writing, but we don’t expect it to change from 2023. The IIHS gave the 2023 Trailblazer its Top Safety Pick+ designation. It earned top scores for all crashworthiness categories, and its top “Good” rating or second-best “Acceptable” for headlights depending on trim. It’s rated the top “Superior” for vehicle-to-vehicle crash avoidance, and second-best “Advanced” for daytime vehicle-to-pedestrian crash avoidance. It got an “Acceptable” rating for LATCH ease of use.

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

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