This week we are reviewing the Chevrolet Trailblazer Activ. Our vehicle was assembled at the GM Incheon plant in South Korea and has an MSRP of $35,578.00 CAD.
Fun Factor: 8
Can it Family: 7
City Cruising: 7
The Chevy Trailblazer was a great surprise; we expected some underpowered vehicle that was a place holder in the compact SUV segment. Can you blame us? On paper, the Trailblazer comes with an ECOTEC 3 banger coupled with a 9-speed automatic, making 155hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. None of that screams fun. However, the small engine gives the Trailblazer an edge. Its lightweight makes it possible to chug it around corners with ease and gives a more connected feeling even if the steering feel is a little light to our taste. The suspension tuning is set up to provide you with a more engaging and sporty feeling. Flooring the Trailblazer with its little 3-cylinder provides enjoyment, as its engine is very responsive and offers an enjoyable rumble when driving away.
Now to the interior, you can tell from looking at the seats that the Trailblazer wasn't developed initially for the North American market. The front seats are snug and don't give much thigh support for taller drivers. Yet, even while the seats are smaller, we found them to be comfortable. On the other hand, Shorter drivers will be glad as seating can be adjusted quite high and give them a good view around the vehicle. The 2nd row can accommodate 3 children or 2 adults; the most comfortable setup we found was for 2 children. An interesting feature of the Trailblazer is that the front passenger seat can be folded flat. This makes it possible to transport even longer items that would otherwise not be possible with its competitors. On a long trip, an adult can sleep inside the vehicle, thanks to that feature. The trunk space is reasonable for this segment and offers plenty of room for a stroller and groceries; what stands out is that power liftgate which you can activate with your foot. Finding where to swing your foot to open is always a guessing game; Chevrolet fixed this; you simply need to follow the Chevy logo reflecting on the pavement.
The average fuel economy we observed was 8.2L/100km over a 400km distance. The Trailblazer shines on the HWY, with an average fuel economy of 6.8L/100km when in FWD mode. Even in the city, the little Trailblazer continued to be efficient with an average fuel economy of 9.0L/100km. We conducted our test while outside temperatures oscillated between +5c and -7C. Chevrolet announces a combined fuel economy of 8.4L/100km; on the HWY, they announce 7.8L/100km and in the city, 8.9L/100km.
It's incredible to see how many security features Chevrolet has packed into this vehicle, starting with rear cross-traffic alert, lane keep assist and lane change alert. It gives you a sense of assurance while driving. On the HWY, the Trailblazer offers decent handling with stellar fuel economy. As mentioned above, steering is a little light in the center, requiring small adjustments from time to time; this is especially noticeable when the vehicle is in front-wheel-drive mode.
In our vehicle, we experienced the 7-speaker Bose sound system, and it offered acceptable sound reproduction. We would have liked a richer sound performance to make it worth the upgrade versus the standard 6-speaker system. The Trailblazer has an interesting infotainment offering rarely seen outside the luxury segment: wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It's also possible to charge your smartphone wirelessly; you don't need any cables. You may still use one of the USB ports if you prefer. We have to praise this vehicle for how the controls are easily accessible on the 8-inch touch screen and its smart layout.
Installing a car seat in the Trailblazer is easy enough; the rear doors open wide, and once inside, the laches are slightly hidden through vertical incisions on both sides of the seat cushion. There's comfortable legroom for little passengers, and even with a rear-facing car seat, we didn't find any lack of space for the front passenger. The door handles are located quite high for a toddler, so they will need help opening the door. When using a booster seat, it hides the seat belt and makes it more difficult for younger children to buckle themselves.
We usually don't expect American car brands to get smaller cars right; in this case, Chevrolet nailed it. It's fun in the city, quick to respond, small enough to fit into tiny parking lots and has enough clearance to navigate our pothole-ridden streets.
Why would we buy the Chevrolet Trailblazer Activ, or what we liked about it? Fun to drive, excellent real-world fuel economy. Practical for small families in densely populated areas. AWD can be disengaged when not in use.
Why would we not buy the Chevrolet Trailblazer Activ, or what we did not like about it? Seats are relatively compact. The base FWD models come with a CVT and remove the fun part of driving this vehicle.
Chevrolet has lent us this vehicle one week as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with Chevrolet Canada. The above is a recollection of our personal opinion of the car referred above