By on November 21, 2019

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Not to be left behind as rival automakers unveiled their latest and greatest in L.A., Chevrolet pulled the remaining wraps off its upcoming Trailblazer. Arriving this spring as a 2021 model, the Trailblazer — like its Buick Encore GX sibling — fills a questionably-sized gap between the compact and subcompact class. The brand’s other returning nameplate, the Blazer, plugged a hole between the compact and midsize class a year ago.

While we now know more about the Trailblazer, its starting price might be its most unique feature.

Chevrolet plans to have the Trailblazer start below $20,000. Even though that base MSRP will probably fall just a few bucks below that marker, having a billboard featuring a price starting with “19” will scream “Attainability!” to the low-end buyers Chevy doesn’t want to lose to other brands.

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After lowering the compact Cruze sedan into its grave this past spring, the bowtie brand needs something that isn’t an endangered Spark or Sonic to tempt first-time buyers. With this vehicle, it can point to fuel economy and cargo space as additional reasons why these consumers don’t need a sedan.

Wait, you say — doesn’t the lowly Trax already fit that bill?

Supposedly! However, the subcompact Trax slots below the Trailblazer in terms of size and storage, but tops it in price, at least in entry-level guise. A 2020 Trax LS FWD starts at $22,295 after destination. Even with the $1,000 cash allowance currently offered on the model, the Trax is still the pricier option. We see a similar pricing strategy at work with the Encore GX, which slots above the entry-level Encore.

Keep in mind that a 2019 Cruze started at $18,870.

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Depending on trim and buyer preference, the Trailblazer carrier either a 1.2-liter turbo three-cylinder or a 1.3-liter triple, both paired with continuously variable automatics in front-drive guise. All-wheel drive models with the 1.3L get a nine-speed automatic. Power for the bigger of the two mills is 155 horses and 174 lb-ft of torque. Base 1.2L buyers can expect 137 hp and 166 lb-ft, which is more grunt than offered by the 1.4-liter Trax.

GM anticipates a combined 31 mpg figure for the thriftiest Encore GX — a figure that should carry over for the Trailblazer. Again, that’s a better performance figure than the Trax.

The personalization aspect of this vehicle is high. Chevy claims buyers can opt for an ACTIV or RS trim to tailor their Trailblazer’s appearance to their personal liking. ACTIV brings aboard the two-tone roof you see in the top two photos, a front and rear fascia that differs from stock, dual exhaust, plus Hankook Sport Terrain 17-inch tires and tuned shocks. Choosing RS (red Trailblazer pic) nets you a “performance-inspired” mesh grille to go with that three-cylinder, as well as a black bowtie badge and front splitter. Don’t scrape that thing on the trails.

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Like most, if not all, GM vehicles, buyers will have to shell out extra dough for blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, but even base models will carry a decent amount of passive safety features. Among them: forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking with front pedestrian braking, auto high beam assist, lane keeping with lane departure warning, GM’s teen driver system, and the automaker’s rear seat reminder function.

While all Trailblazers will allow two Bluetooth-paired occupants to use their phones at the same time, not every trim offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity as standard kit. Selectable AWD, which allows drivers to cancel any power being sent to the rear wheels, is another option GM hopes buyers spring for.

With rear seats down, Chevy claims 54.4 cubic feet of cargo volume and the ability to carry an 8.5-foot length of IKEA product. Pricing and trim details will roll out closer to the model’s on-sale date.

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[Images: General Motors]

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113 Comments on “2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer: See, You Didn’t Need That Cruze After All...”


  • avatar
    jack4x

    I await the B&B’s fair and measured criticism of this vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      The more i see stuff like this, the more I miss my old K5’s.

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      In particular, DW’s excellent and balanced commentary.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      To build on this point, let me first say I have not, and will not, ever have the remotest shred of interest in a 3 cylinder CVT powered subcompact crossover.

      But I do wonder if “Old GM” had been allowed to go out of business in 2009, and a new company had been formed out of the ashes, with new brand names, new model names, etc. but otherwise making the same decisions and selling the same products that “New GM” has the last 10 years, if we would have the same passionate conversations on every article.

      What GM is doing with moves like this isn’t objectively worse than anyone else, it just hurts more because so many of us have a fondness and attachment to GM cars/trucks of the past, in a way that say, Hyundai will never match. That, I think, is why non-car people aren’t offended by a 1.2L crossover, or an ugly FWD Blazer, or 2.0T flagship Cadillac sedan, because they correctly see it as what every other commodity car manufacturer is doing. It’s only us who have expectations of them doing anything better, because long ago they used to.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Doesn’t the near-identical looking new $22K Kia offer a choice of 2.0 NA and a 1.6 T engines? That pulls the rug out from under the ‘everyone else is making Chicom-Obama-dictated garbage too’ defense. Kia’s Chicom-Obama feces stinks far less.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        +1 to that Jack. Everyone expects Hyundai to be Hyundai, and Venezuela to be Venezuela, but when we do the same dystopian things it’s a kick in the balls to everyone old enough to remember when we didn’t.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Correct. GM’s strategy is clearly to aim for the middle of the market and produce commodities. Any enthusiast vehicles will either be large trucks and SUVs or dedicated sports cars.

        Why, then, are we surprised by turbo-three subcompact crossovers that borrow their names from (quite frankly) mediocre large vehicles of the past?

        And I think my calling the old Blazer and TrailBlazer nameplates mediocre is justified. The Blazer was cool in the K5 days; after that, it was a pretty average/disappointing S10 variant that wasn’t as well-built as the Explorer, 4Runner, Pathfinder or Grand Cherokee it competed with. And the TrailBlazer and its GMT360 clones were plentiful, but not good.

        • 0 avatar
          Jon

          “surprised?”
          less every year

          disappointed?
          more every day

          Although i disagree with your evaluation of the S10 Blazer, arguing about it, is as fruitful as killing flies with a razorblade.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Compared to this? an S10 Blazer is sounding pretty good right about now. Soft ride, cushy leather interiors, satisfying grunty 4.3L that got surprisingly palatable fuel economy on the open road. Outside of fuel pumps, intake manifold gaskets, and squeaky front ends, I’d say they’ve held up remarkably well, particularly in terms of rust-resistance (4 doors, the 2 doors rot out in front of the rear wheels).

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            4.3? Cheater, you get the 2.8 V6 from the Citation.

          • 0 avatar
            R Henry

            I rode in a quite few GenII S10 Blazers. What I found most perplexing was a very pronounced lump in the floor pan, to the right of the transmission hump, that severely intruded on passenger leg room. Poor design compromise there.

            https://funkyimg.com/i/2YVNb.jpg

      • 0 avatar

        “What GM is doing with moves like this isn’t objectively worse than anyone else, it just hurts more because so many of us have a fondness and attachment to GM cars/trucks of the past, in a way that say, Hyundai will never match…It’s only us who have expectations of them doing anything better, because long ago they used to.”

        COMMENT OF THE DAY, right here.

        Although unlike some other members of the B&B, I think GM’s been doing a lot of things right since the bankruptcy. ANY of their vehicles that I’ve driven – from Sonic to Impala to Suburban to my wife’s Equinox – has been infinitely more satisfying than their pre-bankruptcy equivalents.

        My son’s 2014 Accord hit a deer recently, putting him in a new Altima during the repair.

        IT RODE LIKE A PRE-BANKRUPTCY GM FWD. Like the last W-body I drove. Or my cousin’s old Malibu Maxx.

        Actually, my son’s Accord, before the accident, had a similar feeling riding/driving. I could feel a difference between it and the 2011 Accord he’d traded in with nearly 200k miles. The OLDER car felt more solid (even on the same platform and worn out tires), although neither offer the kind of driving enjoyment of my other son’s ’93…even though the ’93 has one foot in the junkyard.

        The General can and should do better. The Silverado is a swing-and-a-miss from its subpar interior to its ungainly proportions. But the Colorado appears to be a home run. And the C8 shows more than a little of that GM moxie of the past that jack 4x refers to.

        And even though trashing Mary Barra has become a sport unto itself, I admire that she had the temerity to replace the corporate code for proper attire with two words anyone with a lick of common sense should be able to relate to…

        “DRESS APPROPRIATELY.”

        That’s the kind of mindset all of us should welcome.

        • 0 avatar

          Actually, pre-bankruptcy GM vehicles were far more reliable. Even FCA has more reliable vehicles than GM if you believe Consumer Reports. There is no excuse for Cadillac to finish in last place.

          • 0 avatar
            Peter Gazis

            akear

            This year Consumer Reports got enough feedback to rate the Genesis, Mini & Alfa Romeo brands. Not enough feedback to rate the RAM brand. So according to Consumer Reports Genesis, Mini & Alfa Romeo all outsell RAM.
            I say Chevy sold 19 different 2019 models. Consumer Reports says Chevy only sold. 11 2019 models.
            Obviously Consumer Reports Data has major flaws.

      • 0 avatar
        digitaldoc

        I am ok with the 3 cylinders as it is a turbo, and Ford with their Escape has show the kind of power that can be made, around 180 with this engine design. My problem is that both of these engines are quite anemic, and neither is compelling.

  • avatar
    A Scientist

    I kinda like it, however I have to ask: what’s the over/under on how many “trails” these things will “blaze”? lol

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    So slotted in to compete with the likes of the Kona and Kicks, with a CVT, but with one less cylinder?

    How has that worked out for Ecosport sales?

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Oh f*ck off GM, you don’t need another useless minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      That said, I think more vehicles need sliding doors.
      Rear doors slide back, front doors slide forward.
      No more door dings.

      • 0 avatar
        scott25

        Or just do what the Japanese do and have just have one sliding door on each side for small vehicles.

        • 0 avatar

          Agree. Ford made a B-max with sliding doors for Europe (dead recently). And Japanese kei cars are often little vans. My favorite is the Daihatsu Tanto.

          https://www.ramadbk.com/japanese-used-daihatsu-tanto-cars_383059.html

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            They also had a C-Max with sliding doors (the Grand C-Max) and were even going to bring it here to the U.S. as a sort of Mazda5 alternative. It had been seen making the rounds at several local and large car shows as a pre-production vehicle in the Ford booth. However, they then reneged and sent us the regular C-Max, replete with its traditionally hinged rear doors. Probably part of that was because they already had the Transit Connect Passenger Wagon, but still, it would have been cool.

            I got to ride in a Grand C-Max taxicab whilst in Rome; it was very roomy.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Why offer two different 3-cylinder engines separated by just 0.1L of displacement? Why not just detune the bigger one? Why does a crapcan like a Trax start pricing anywhere above $17k?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I don’t even know jack about this and I already know its garbage. If the Encore is just barely acceptable this won’t allowed to be better because of the brand hierarchy, so why bother.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    This is why the “abandoning cars is a mistake “ criticism is meaningless. These are cars. Not trucks. Not SUVs, not “crossovers.” Just cars.

    GM will fail because they produce low quality unreliable crap and enthusiastically grab their ankles for genocidal Chinese fascists , but not because they abandoned “cars.”

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    I thought the powertrain options for the Kia version of this car were undesirable. Then I read this article.

  • avatar
    Dan

    It was a lot easier to advertise these crapboxes at an attractive starting-at price when there was a stick shift. Nobody ever bought it, and between the $2000 upcharge for the automatic and the $1000 in destination they could leave out 15-20% of the cost of the car.

    What’s missing from the cheap version of this one?

  • avatar
    redapple

    Volume knob yes.

    But no tuning knob.

    I really hate that .

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      They can’t afford to put 4 whole cylinders in this, so you can’t expect them to not cut corners in a thousand other places as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I’m starting to think you’re right. Why is this way cheaper than the Trax (which is already pretty uncompetitive if you ask me)? Where did they cut costs to make the price so low? Was the Trax just overpriced to begin with, or is something more sinister going on?

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Used to – you could see multiple parts on interiors of GM vehicles that were parts bin parts, maybe a different fascia but overall the parts were shared from Pontiac, Chevrolet, GMC, Hummer, Saturn, you get the point…

          Looking in this car I’m seeing a lot of uncommon parts to American vehicles which to me means this little car is a heavy recipient of Chinese parts bin parts.

          There’s your money savings, made in Korea or Mexico with ~50% Chinese parts. i.e. the important parts.

          Call me a cynic but I stick to my beliefs GM is being heavily mismanaged.

        • 0 avatar
          ttacgreg

          Considering the larger talking points of this article, I would expect this is the death of the Trax. A slightly bigger vehicle with more room, more power and a lower price?
          That said, maybe there are other factors like ride quality, interior quality, what ever might tilt in the Trax’s favor.
          I suppose maybe three cylinder hatred might be a factor?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I suggest going to your Chevy dealer and comparing the Trax to the Blazer. If we assume the TrailBlazer uses the Blazer body (and Chevy’s website makes them look like the same body) then the TrailBlazer is two sizes up from the Trax… a quite noticeable size difference in height, width and length. When my wife and I went to look at the Blazer, they had all but the Tahoe and Silverado lined up on the showroom floor, nose to tail, and the size differences were obvious between them.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    The Encore and Encore GX make sense together. The Encore is still popular enough and competitive, while the new Encore GX is a clear step above that in size and styling.

    But as for the Trax and the Trailblazer…

    Like I said elsewhere, the Trax makes Chevrolet look bad. Really bad. It and the EcoSport are easily the worst two subcompact crossovers in the segment, hands down.

    Whereas the Trailblazer looks like it would be appealing (to people who buy such things; I am not among them). Any old fool could see that the Trailblazer presents as a nicer vehicle, and it’s cheaper, too.

    I suspect that the Trax is about to either get a significant price scalping (so that it comes in below the Trailblazer) or if they can’t do that for reasons of margin, it’ll just be discontinued or relegated to fleet markets.

    Or—and this is the scary part that you all are suggesting—the reality could be that the Trax is a better-engineered and better-built vehicle than the Trailblazer, and that’s why they can make the Trailblazer cheaper. GM may have cut the hell out of build quality and parts longevity for the Trailblazer, and then added sizzle to make it look more appealing because it’s cheaper to make. It already has one less cylinder, for whatever that’s worth.

    I’d like to think that engineering and parts efficiencies are responsible for a lower price, but it could also be that second, more sinister prediction.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Sweet ride, Guangzhou-Guadalajara Motors (GM)!

    “…the Trailblazer carrier either a 1.2-liter turbo three-cylinder or a 1.3-liter triple, both paired with continuously variable automatics…”

    WAY TO KILL OFF, VIA COLD BLOODED MURDER, ANOTHER VEHICLE MODEL NAME, ‘TRAILBLAZER,’ THAT USED TO HAVE AT LEAST SOME CACHE AND BRAND EQUITY AMONG “REAL” CAR/VEHICLE PEOPLE, BY INTRODUCING THIS CLOWN VEHICLE CERTAINLY CHOCK FULL OF A MASSIVE, PREDOMINANT % OF CHINESIUM GRADE PARTS AND MATERIALS.

    Mary Barra be ‘illin.

    Red Star Guangzhou-Guadalajara Motors (GM) should have a Mao Tse Tung trim level of every one of its ever increasingly pile of $hit (if that’s even further even possible at this point) vehicle models

    Move Guangzhou-Guadalajara Motors (GM) Headquarters to Beijing or Shanghai or Baoding, Hebei or Shenzhen ALREADY.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Trailblaze had zero Cachet. I remember them as mediocre vehicles that have all but disapeared in a relatively short time. I see more of the old S-10 Blazers than the later Trailblazer. All I remember of note was: 1. There was an SS version with an LS that made them fast, but not good and 2. If you didn’t get the LS there was a tunnel in the oil pan for your steering linkage to pass through.

      Everyone talks of the Atlas I6, yet GM never saw fit to put it in anything else. GM…the company that would drop a small block or a 3800 in the corporate mail cart if it sat still long enough.

      If anyone actually remembers the last Trailblazer, it likely makes them less likely to buy a new one. Garbage.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        The really rare are the folks who owned an end of production S-10 Blazer with “TrailBlazer” badging.

        My parents did – first SUV after years of sedans.

        You see Dad, that’s what happens when you let Mom pick the “family car.”

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “Trailblazer” does have some cachet. That’s why they are reusing the name. The GMT360s aren’t any worse than the Fords or Jeeps of that era and those names are still around.
        ____________________

        “Everyone talks of the Atlas I6, yet GM never saw fit to put it in anything else.”

        That’s a knock on GM, not the engine.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Disagree that the Trailblazer and its clones were on par with the competition of the time. Fragile suspension/steering, atrocious interiors, poor driving dynamics (although the last was typical of the segment).

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            As opposed to the third gen Explorer and WK Grand Cherokee which came with upscale interiors, good driving dynamics, and robust mechanicals?

            Comparison tests from that era are still available online. The GMT360s were relatively well received when they first came out and weren’t called out for being behind the times until the end of their life.

            I’m not saying they belong in the hall of fame but it’s historical revision to say they were always thought of poorly.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            The primary competition was the Explorer, and it was not very nice or durable either.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The third-gen Explorer was hardly a shining light but it fared better mechanically than the GMT360, which quickly became a red-circle star in Consumer Reports. I also think the interior was nicer but both were terrible so that’s a closer call.

          • 0 avatar

            Here we are, forming a BDB.

            2006: Explorer, Trailblazer, Grand Cherokee

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            It should be 2005. 2006 was the first year for the 4th gen Explorer and 2005 was the first year of the WK. And make the Jeep a 4.7L.

          • 0 avatar

            05 it is then.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Here’s a deliberately inflammatory statement: the new Blazer with the 3.6 V6 is a much better vehicle than any of those three.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            “ new Blazer with the 3.6 V6 is a much better vehicle than any of those three.”

            And I would rather have a F250 than a Bolt, point is two different needs are being fulfilled between the BoF SUVs and the minivan based current Blazer.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “different needs are being fulfilled between the BoF SUVs and the minivan based current Blazer.”

            Bingo. I’m sure the new Blazer is a better passenger car than a 15 year old SUV, but the Blazer is still a pi$$-poor SUV. It’s 4500lb tow rating isn’t even what the Liberty offered.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            While true, Hummer, if you can get past the name, the new Blazer is a quite nice CUV. I don’t consider it a “minivan” but rather a tall station wagon.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        LOL actually I still see oodles of these things on the road all over the place ranging from Buick Ranier’s to TB’s and the odd Olds. These were no worse than any Grand Cherokees or Exploders of the same era. And this is in the sale belt of Upstate, NY!

  • avatar

    The interior looks like a sad place of poor quality. And 3 cylinders and CVT? Good grief, what are we coming to?

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Corey, we’re quickly coming to the place where every single infinitesimal increment (or is that “excrement?”)of CUV has a product. You’d need a micrometer to measure the differences between some vehicles within the same company line-up.

      • 0 avatar

        I think we’re headed toward a Carter-era malaise shift. Just gotta figure out what’s going to snap first.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          As I have been saying over and over again Malaise era II is nearly upon us. Crap like this and the ugly Mach 1 that they just had to name Mustang are proof of this.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            I’ve been saying that for a couple years now.

            The one in the 1970s began as now, with environmental issues being the driving factor, albeit with this one an arguably much shakier justification than the last.

            I predict that the other side will only be more dystopian, with the advent of EVs forced upon the populace, and which nobody will want, and autonomous GoogAmazAppleBezosAllUrFckingLivesAreBelongToUs pods which will drop to the glacial speed limit of a school zone at 3:30am on a Saturday in July just because the damn sign is there!

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    The interior parts in that rolling dumpster fire are made of 100% recycled materials that were shredded and grated and liquefied and then re-molded from matter found at the Jiancungou in Shannxi Province, and those parts will have a half-life of 1,000 years.

    All mechanical parts, meanwhile, in the drivetrain, from the transmission, to the engine, to the electrical system, axles, driveshaft, etc, will have a half-life of 1 1/2 years since the warranty will be 3 years/36 months.

    What will be the Cadillac equivalent of this be named, and when will it be unveiled?

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Art is correct. Trailblazer was and has always been hot garbage, in fine GM tradition.

    I was speaking of the Blazer, which actually had a following, but the new Blazer is now an overpriced, uncompetitive, Mexican assembled (of a majority Chinese parts content) crossover, also.

    GM gonna GM.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    Since the 1970s, GM has been producing cars which are uncompetitive with its foreign competition. You want a Chevette or a Civic? GM has ALWAYS targeted the middle and lower end market with these garbage-mobiles. The problem is that, since the 70s, the competition has offered a better quality, more reliable car. The Civic still exists, and serves the same role it always has. It is affordable, reliable transportation. How many models has GM had? Each one required billions in research and marketing. Each one is another forgotten pile of crap. Maybe Epstein didn’t commit suicide, but GM already has, and is proceeding to do it again. They are simply institutionally incapable of doing what their foreign competition does. No one in management cares. They live for the next bonus and move on when things get rocky. The union just feeds at the trough until the butcher calls.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Make it electric. Engine sizes have become too small for the size vehicle they’re pulling around.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I’d endorse that – full torque from 0 rpm forward might actually make something this small and lightweight entertaining.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      “Engine sizes have become too small for the size vehicle they’re pulling around.” That’s probably the plan. Continue shrinking vehicles to 3rd-world/European/Australian size and continue shrinking engines to 1 liter in the name of “Gaia Friendly” or some other trendy buzzword. When the slowly boiling progs complain about performance of these mini-motors, replace the ICE with a “0 – Emissions!”, high torque electric powertrain, a simpler system but at a much higher price for “higher tech!” in the now well shrunken vehicle (the boiling frogs having now adapted to sitting inside a third-world penalty box).

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        The problem with half your argument, @bullnuke, is that the Blazer–and the Trailblazer–are not small vehicles. It is almost exactly in the middle between the Trax (smallest) and Suburban (largest)…sharing the mid-sized slot with the Traverse, only sportier. The Equinox is smaller than the Blazer while the Tahoe is larger than the Traverse. It weighs in around 4000# or two US tons. A 1.2L or 1.3L engine just doesn’t have enough oomph to haul one of these around with any kind of liveliness. Those engines might work well in a Trax but a Blazer/Trailblazer needs at least 200 horses just to get out of its own way.

  • avatar
    Greg Hamilton

    I think this car signals we are entering a new era of malaise era cars. It is very sad indeed.

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    Not to be a snark, or a GM hater, but I went to their website and tried to find SOMETHING I may like enough to buy.
    Across all their brands, nothing appealed to me. At all.
    The trucks used to be a guarantee of sorts, but not with the restyle.
    Sorry GM, I have been a fanboi for many years, but im having issues understanding your relevance in todays brutally competitive marketplace, filled with so many interesting and appealing options.
    Whither now GM?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Wow, lots of haterade. And in this case, it’s deserved.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I have no love for subcompact CUVs, which are pretty much always worse than subcompact hatchbacks, but I’m astonished by the rose-colored glasses in this thread about old Trailblazers and Blazers.

    The Trailblazer was a piece of junk except for the engine. It drove like a truck without having the utility of one. The mechanicals broke early and often. The interior was one of the all-time lowlights of the GM Hard Gray Plastic era. The contemporary Explorer and JGC spanked it in every respect, to say nothing of the Japanese competition.

    The S-10 Blazer was kind of the same thing. Again it had a decent engine (once the 4.3 became available, several years into production) wrapped in a truck that was otherwise awful. They rusted early and often and folded like accordions in crashes.

    The K-5 Blazer is the best product of the bunch, but was hardly a product that lit up the sales charts.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I will absolutely die on the hill that the GMT360 was better than the 3rd gen Explorer.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        I would also say that in its early days the S10 Blazer was a less memorably-horrific choice than the Bronco II.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The Bronco II was pretty horrible. The XJ Cherokee and the first 4Runner made both the GM and Ford choices look silly. Once the first Pathfinder and the second-gen 4Runner appeared, game over.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            It took AMC a few years to get the XJ to an acceptable level of quality. I know people who still don’t trust automatic headlights because of the number of times their early XJs stranded them when the auto lights never shut off in spite of being in the auto position. Then there were the roll-aways in spite of mechanical automatic shifters. The Select-Trac vacuum-operated transfer case used to select its own neutral once in a while on a car that was less than four years old. I’d steer clear of any XJ old enough to have a GM V6 rather than an AMC I6.

            The 4Runner was a quality piece, but I found the driving position of its competitors much more comfortable. I pretty much hated them until I drove one up a dry river bed in the mountains around Williamstown Massachusetts. You’d have thought I knew what I was doing, and so different from the times I’ve had to walk out of woods I’d ridden into with Jeep people.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I’ll take a stand that the 1st gen S10 was a very appropriate vehicle for its time, it was very spacious for a compact, and once the 60v6 received fuel injection it was fairly efficient and powerful. It was certainly better than the Bronco II or the Cherokee. I still see a ton of those 1st gens tooling around.

        Also using truck like to describe an SUV is an oxymoron, that’s the whole purpose of purchasing a truck based SUV, we WANT the truck basis.

        In all it’s certainly no where near as terrible as this crossover which cannot even pretend to be anything more than a vanity product.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          My complaints about the S-10 aren’t that it was trucky; as you point out, it, unlike the GMT360, is a truck. They are that it rusted even in the Pacific Northwest (!), had terrible crash safety even for its time, and had bad powertrains until the 4.3 came along (I’m no fan of any 2.8 version).

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            In fairness to your 60v6 comment I replaced the 2.8L with a bored and stroked over 3.4L Crate 60v6 so I have more power than the 4.3L, 24 HWY MPG even with the untuned 4.3L throttle body and injectors, and I enjoy the 3.4Ls delivery. I also have patch panels in the shop for my rust holes, so touchè.

            Perfect? Hell no, cheap SUV? Hell yes, you can’t even buy a cheap SUV in 2019.

            Rust holes and old 2.8L I would still choose the S10 over this or the Blazer or any other crossover.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I DECLARE A BURYING OF THE LEDE

    This 1.2 liter/1.3 liter, 3 cylinder vehicle is yet another such powered one (under 1.6 liters) supporting the fact that Guangzhou-Guadalajara Motors (GM) is now producing global vehicles based on its clear plan to be a Chinese Automaker (vehicles with 1.5 liter engines is the cut-off before massive taxes and penalties are applied to the sale of vehicles with 1.6 liter or larger engines in the Chinese domestic market).

    If I’m correct (and I am), GM should be officizlly deemed a foreign automaker in the U.S., and treated thusly for all legal, trade and other purposes.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I have a supremely hard time caring about this one way or the other.

    I’ve never been close enough to a 3 cylinder engine to have any notion of how it operates, I’ve driven 2 vehicles with CVTs for short periods (an 08 Sentra, and an 09ish Patriot), the thing looks almost decent and I’d never buy it.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Triples have a unique sound that’s different from that of a four, and need additional balancing weight, but in my experience they’re no more or less smooth and their power curves aren’t much different.

      * most of my experience with them involves irresponsible driving of an aging Subaru Justy around southwestern Switzerland twenty or so years ago

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        I’ve put 50,000 miles the last two years on a 3 cylinder Fiesta as a daily commuter, and my experience is that it has a typical turbo power curve but only the peak power of a NA 4 cylinder, it has no real desire to rev high, and it’s smooth enough at idle that I don’t notice. Really no different than a turbo 4 scaled down apart from the sound, which approximates a rough running V6.

        The only time you can really feel that it only has 999 cc are those times when you’re in the wrong gear and trying to accelerate without boost. That’s obviously only a problem in a manual transmission vehicle.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    A fellow co-worker is still driving around his 2002 TB now with 320K miles and as he puts it the darn thing refuses to die. It also goes through just about anything including 5′ of snow banks and has effortlessly pulled numerous car and trucks out of ditches. Another friend just handed down his 2007 Buick Rainier to his son with the 4.2 engine and 200K miles that runs and looks nearly new. Looking around our school’s parking lot sees a couple more of these road warriors mainly TB’s and they seem to be holding up quite well.

    So I would place the Trailblazer name in decent regard. This new little flimsy looking 3 cylinder turd- not so much!

    • 0 avatar
      MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

      Please don’t offer facts to contradict all the GM hater desktop warriors who have never been inside of, much less driven a TB. They “know” stuff, man.

      (I also know someone who bought a TB new around 01/02 and still loves it, and someone else whose new driver son got the Mom’s Rainier, still running great)

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    “Trax slots below the Trailblazer in terms of size and storage, but tops it in price”

    Sounds like a great recipe for never selling another Trax!

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Oh, good. Another article on a new GM product, another chance for DingbatWeight to bloviate all over this blog.

    I love the witty repartee, and the accurate spelling of Guangzhou.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed that spelling and luckily, I can find it on any post this blog puts up concerning any GM product.

    I’m glad to see we have such obvious business geniuses with loads of free time to proffer their opinions on vehicles they will never even ride in, much less purchase.

    It really adds to the texture here.

  • avatar

    I’m a Millennial who is a GM loyalist and drives a 2015 Sonic and my husband drives a 2016 Spark.

    We are the exact audience that GM wants see trade in their vehicles for this.

    But I can’t…….I just can’t……..

    My husband and I both are not onboard with the CUV trend and have no need to sit higher.

    Personally, no manual transmission, a three cylinder, and the dorky image of a crossover are big no’s. We also gravitate towards American made and I’d be curious to know where this made. But I know that I’m a rarity with those opinions

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I don’t have that much hate for this but I will not be standing in line to buy one. I have driven a couple of 3 cylinders and don’t find them that bad if they are in a subcompact and have a manual transmission. Not saying these are great but saying I reserve judgement until I see and drive one. I will say that if all the vehicles become turbo 3 cylinders with CVTs I might welcome an EV.

  • avatar
    GenesisCoupe380GT

    There is not one thing about this miserable pile of suck that would make me want to trade a Cruze for it

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