The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer Looks Decent but It's Not the Off-Road Beast You Hoped For

Image: Chevy
Image: Chevy
Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

Chevy impressed no one with the 2020 Chevrolet Blazer, sticking a legendary nameplate onto a crossover with the “presence of a bowl of cream of mushroom soup” as my colleague Jason accurately put it. “But perhaps the Trailblazer will be the real off-roader,” I hoped. Nope, the U.S. market Trailblazer looks just like the one shown in China earlier this year, which is to say: a Camaro face on a crossover body.

I’ll begin by saying that, as far as crossovers go, this thing doesn’t look bad. It’s aggressive and kinda chunky for a little crossover. That said, this is the RS trim, which comes with a standard two-tone paint scheme, so we’ll have to see how a basic, non-RS model looks before drawing any conclusions.

The new Trailblazer will slot between the stubby Trax and the Popular But Not Particularly Exciting Equinox, competing with vehicles like the Jeep Compass and Hyundai Tucson. And maybe even the Ford Escape and Toyota Rav4—I’m not exactly sure, because crossover classification has gotten confusing.

Illustration for article titled The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer Looks Decent but It's Not the Off-Road Beast You Hoped For

The press release for the new Trailblazer is pretty boring, with much of the text devoted to discussion of active safety features, and no mention of powertrain options. That’s fine, I guess. People buying crossovers care about that safety stuff.

I suppose I’m a bit disappointed that GM isn’t yet competing in the off-road SUV space. The Jeep Wrangler has been selling like crazy over the last decade, and Ford is bringing the Bronco back. We all hoped GM would make the Blazer a legit off-road competitor, but then it showed up as just an expensive crossover. And I guess I figured the *Trail*blazer could be the savior that made up for that blunder, bring the rugged terrain-conquering hardware we all yearn for but don’t actually use. But alas, here’s another crossover.

Anyway, the car—which will hit dealerships in early 2020—looks fine, and who knows, maybe GM is actually working on an off-road vehicle. Plus, as far as nameplates go, the last-generation Trailblazer wasn’t exactly an off-road beast, either, though it did come with a pretty awesome inline-six engine. So I should probably cut this new SUV some slack.


I’m just growing tired of waiting for GM to embrace its Hummer roots.

Sr. Tech Editor, Jalopnik. Owner of far too many Jeeps. Follow my instagram (@davidntracy). Always interested in hearing from engineers—email me.

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Seriously, how is GM in denial about making a Wrangler and Bronco rival, first the Blazer and now this, how are they ignoring the off-road SUV market so badly.