The Chevrolet Blazer - Er, Trailblazer - Is Back for 2021

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
the chevrolet blazer er em trailblazer em is back for 2021

Hot on the heels of its Chinese-market debut in Shanghai last month, General Motors has foisted a reborn Trailblazer on North America. Take our word for it — GMT360 afficionado Chris Tonn couldn’t be happier.

The original TrailBlazer (note the uppercase “B”) bowed out of the American market after 2009, though a Holden-badged version built on the Chevy Colorado platform appeared overseas in 2012. The unrelated Chinese model is what you see here, riding atop a new architecture that underpins the Buick Encore GX you saw earlier today.

That’s right, the 2021 Trailblazer is a small crossover that slots between the subcompact Trax and compact Equinox. GM decided upsetting Blazer purists wasn’t enough.

There’s little to tell you about this vehicle that we haven’t already stated. Rumors began to swirl after a U.S. trademark application for the Trailblazer nameplate was uncovered earlier this year. The model’s Shanghai debut, where it appeared alongside a cheaper Tracker model destined for developing markets, further ramped up speculation.

It seems the Trailblazer will not replace the Trax, despite the two being fairly close in size. Looking like a downsized Blazer, the Trailblazer arrives in early 2020, likely with nearly identical levels of interior room as its Encore GX platform mate. While Chevrolet hasn’t mentioned dimensions, the Trailblazer, like the Encore GX, boasts a slightly larger footprint than the existing subcompact crossover pair. In the Encore GX’s case, cargo volume tops the Encore’s by 5 cubic feet.

Powertrains? Take a guess. Chevy could utilize the more powerful of its two turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinders, the turbo 1.5-liter found in the Equinox and Malibu, or perhaps something even larger. There will be an RS trim with a contrasting roof, Chevy claims. With models like the Trailblazer and Blazer, existing as they do between segments already occupied by bow-tied vehicles, GM will have to be careful to avoid cannibalizing sales of other models. Naturally, this will still occur, but the idea is to increase the brand’s overall light truck haul with a readily available offshore offering.

“Trailblazer is a continuation of the design language for Chevy’s crossover family and extends our momentum into one of the industry’s fastest-growing segments,” said Chevrolet brand director Laura Pacey in a statement.

Like the Encore GX, the Trailblazer will tempt buyers with a high level of standard content, at least in the safety arena. Chevy plans to offer standard front pedestrian braking, automatic emergency braking, and lane keep assist with lane departure warning. Optional kit includes adaptive cruise control with camera, rear park assist, and GM’s gimmicky high-def rear-vision camera, which admittedly offers a wider view of the road behind.

Pricing will be announced closer to the model’s on-sale date.

[Images: General Motors]

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2 of 63 comments
  • Scott25 Scott25 on May 30, 2019

    I’d hope that with the launch of this and the GX the old Trax and Encore will be reduced to bargain basement pricing (like they deserve), but given GM’s “ambitious” pricing recently I doubt it.

  • GenesisCoupe380GT GenesisCoupe380GT on May 05, 2020

    The Chevrolet Failblazer

  • Art Vandelay Best? PCH from Ventura to somewhere near Lompoc. Most Famous? Route Irish
  • GT Ross The black wheel fad cannot die soon enough for me.
  • Brett Woods My 4-Runner had a manual with the 4-cylinder. It was acceptable but not really fun. I have thought before that auto with a six cylinder would have been smoother, more comfortable, and need less maintenance. Ditto my 4 banger manual Japanese pick-up. Nowhere near as nice as a GM with auto and six cylinders that I tried a bit later. Drove with a U.S. buddy who got one of the first C8s. He said he didn't even consider a manual. There was an article about how fewer than ten percent of buyers optioned a manual in the U.S. when they were available. Visited my English cousin who lived in a hilly suburb and she had a manual Range Rover and said she never even considered an automatic. That's culture for you.  Miata, Boxster, Mustang, Corvette and Camaro; I only want manual but I can see both sides of the argument for a Mustang, Camaro or Challenger. Once you get past a certain size and weight, cruising with automatic is a better dynamic. A dual clutch automatic is smoother, faster, probably more reliable, and still allows you to select and hold a gear. When you get these vehicles with a high performance envelope, dual-clutch automatic is what brings home the numbers. 
  • ToolGuy 2019 had better comments than 2023 😉
  • Inside Looking Out In June 1973, Leonid Brezhnev arrived in Washington for his second summit meeting with President Richard Nixon. Knowing of the Soviet leader’s fondness for luxury automobiles, Nixon gave him a shiny Lincoln Continental. Brezhnev was delighted with the present and insisted on taking a spin around Camp David, speeding through turns while the president nervously asked him to slow down.