By on March 19, 2020

Let’s be clear: sometimes an Ace of Base post is written purely to help shoppers of a particular make and model determine if the entry level option is worth considering. We are quite certain there are plenty of readers who will deride today’s entry simply because they don’t like the vehicle or its name. That’s fine; not everyone is a big fan of the compact crossover segment.

But they do sell, otherwise manufacturers wouldn’t be building the things. We can argue until we’re blue in the face about how OEMs sometimes wag the dog in terms of market demand but, for now, let’s see if the new-for-’21 Chevrolet Trailblazer is worth considering at its cheapest price point.

Unlike some of its competitors, the Chevy is offered with all-wheel drive, though it understandably doesn’t appear on the base L trim. Powered by a 1.2-liter turbocharged inline-three, a GM-estimated 137 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque should be enough to permit this bite-sized conveyance to get out of its own way. A continuously variable transmission is the sole gearbox option — a revelation sure to deflate gearheads but likely to go unnoticed by this car’s target market.

A 7-inch color touchscreen serves as a dutiful butler for infotainment chores, permitting audio streaming for two active devices plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Seats are manual cloth but six-way adjustable for the driver, while the expected air conditioning is of the manual variety. One glaring omission is the absence of cruise control, seemingly not available for any price on the L, according to Chevy’s own build and price tool.

Automatic emergency braking and forward collision alert will let the driver know of impending doom, and one can expect lane keeping but not rear park assists in the L. There are 10 airbags and a federally mandated rear camera, proving just how far base Chevys have come in the last few years.

Those are sixteen-inch steel wheels on the L, by the way, paired with a single sad-sack color. No, really; you can have any color you want so long as it’s Summit White. At least the interior is black, not beige.

For a fiver under twenty grand, then, is the base Trailblazer an Ace of Base winner? Not quite, given it’s only available in white and the steering wheel blank will forever remind you that the thing doesn’t have cruise control (that, and your tired-after-four-hours right leg). Shop carefully in this segment, folks.

[Image: General Motors]

Not every base model has aced it, even the ones featured here. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.

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45 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer L...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    No cruise control – tells you how close they’re shaving the rest of the vehicle. There is no way I’d settle for that.

    Still, I like its looks, and it would be interesting to test drive.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Agreed on the looks and the lack of cruise, that’s a deal breaker. Don’t mind the white, it wears it well.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Until I had a vehicle without cruise control I never realized how bad it is without it.
      It’s miserable on long commutes, it’s so simple to implement from factory in this day and time it should be considered as important as A/C and radio.

    • 0 avatar
      DedBull

      I agree, no cruise control is a hard pass. I am currently in a vehicle with no cruse, and it is quite annoying on my rural commute. The only reason I put up with it is because the car was a gift, and it serves as a commuter appliance.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      I once bought the basest of base 2004 Honda Element. No ABS brakes, no cruise control, and no armrests.

      Things you don’t notice right away on the test drive… but once you’re driving it day after day…

      It didn’t last long before being replaced by an Accord.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I was about to post a comment pointing out how GM could never get me in this pile of excrement – BUT they could get me in a new pickup with a $20k WuFlu discount.

    Then I remembered I was thinking about the previous generation body style. Never mind I still wouldn’t buy the current body style even with $20k off.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    100% fleet special.

    Apple CarPlay but not cruise control? See ya on the Hertz lot.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    No cruise, how about A/C? Oh, wait with that 3-banger A/C would stop it dead in it’s tracks. No thanks and for just a shade under $20K I’d rather a year old Equinox

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Oh gosh the drama.

      This engine has near-identical power and torque figures to the Vulcan V6 that powered my first car (an ’87 Taurus GL). The car weighs a bit less than that Taurus. A/C will be fine.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Seriously, it does not appear to have A/C. Those dials look pretty simple to have A/C included

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        yeah, in the late ’70s we had cars with less than 50 horsepower, and dreck like Iron Duke Camaros, diesel Benzes and Peugeots with 20+ second 0-60 times, and people managed. Calling something like this “dangerous” because it has “only 137 horsepower is hysterical.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    Get those gold bow ties painted black and an after market cruise control it just might work, the price is right, also go for a cheap lease, I wouldn’t trust that cvt!

  • avatar
    don1967

    In an increasingly gridlocked world, trading cruise control for forward collision warning is a logical tradeoff.

    As for the compact crossover hate-cult, get over your fear of fender flares and faux-wheel-drive. This is really about hatchback practicality and sensible ground clearance… two qualities lost in modern sedans. The market has spoken.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      A couple things, first not everyone lives in gridlock, I can easily (from experience) take a 12 hour drive without ever hitting anything more then light traffic. Traffic is a rarity in my world.

      Second if it’s about hatchback practically why the fender flares?

      Finally, ignoring the strategically angles sales pictures; the ground clearance between this and most sedans is negligent. The biggest difference is most sedans have “ground effects” bumpers and rocker panel skirts, and most of the faux utility vehicles have rounded rocker panel covers and bumpers that sit high. Actual ground clearance changes almost none.

      • 0 avatar
        don1967

        Honda Accord 5.5″
        Trailblazer 8.0″

        Up here in Canadian winters that’s a world of difference. The extra inches are what get you across the snow plow residue on the first try, and protect your oil pan from the mudflap ice balls which litter the streets.

        There was a time when the average family sedan had decent ground clearance and sensible tires. Not any more. Today’s slammed sleds with their steamroller tires are about as capable in snow as a pregnant whale.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    I think manufacturers actually lose money by deleting the cruise control feature on base level offerings.

    In order to delete this feature, the manufacturer needed to design and engineer the block panels on steering wheel (or directional stalk), and then add those part numbers to their whole supply chain, warehousing, and assembly systems. Chances are, the cruise control logic and circuitry is native to all ECMs and wiring harnesses. Me thinks the costs associated with developing the feature delete components are greater than the non-cost of including the feature.

    As such, the only way to view lack of cruise control is as an overt poke in the eye by the manufacturer.

    Would you buy a product that was designed with a big middle finger pointed directly at your eyeballs?

    NO!

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Buying one is an act of defiance. I’ve had new cars with cruise control and didn’t use it, except to check if it worked.

      So automakers never see me coming. Sorry, crank windows aren’t a problem either.

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      Henry
      Good point. Probably does cost more to delete.

      Car MFR that do this are trying to push you to a higher level trim. That s what s behind those super ugly base trim level wheels and Ford Escape type screaming orange yellow front turn signal.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    um, who makes the CVT?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    This is clearly a play for the lowest class at Enterprise and the like, or alternately for the “NEW SUV FOR $16,000 AFTER DISCOUNTS YOU DON’T GET, ONE ONLY” ads. The LS is the lowest model you’ll find in volume on dealer lots, and it will probably sell for right around $20k

  • avatar
    kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh

    Other outlets report it has Adaptive Cruise control .. might be a site error

  • avatar
    phreshone

    the most glaring issue of the base versions of this platform is that the 1.2L mill gets worse highway mileage than the 1.3L option…

    The base engine is too small to be efficient…

    Hard NO on this

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Sometimes that’s true in other vehicles also. In theory the buyer makes up for the lost MPG with a lower MSRP.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      What is even the point of offering two 3 cylinder engines in the first place other than profit? The manufacturing costs can’t be markedly different.

      I get the point of offering a base NA 4 cylinder and an upgrade to a turbo 4 cylinder, but 2 turbo charged 3 cylinder engines…

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    This may be true elsewhere too, but in the Boston area cruise control is utterly useless. Have not used it in years.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    We’ve learned that anything built during the Witch Barra era isn’t worth spit to buy. Quality demons have a mother and it is Witch Barra.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    No cruise control, one exterior color choice… This is not a trim level, it is the classic bait-and-switch “STARTING AT $19,000†” and “MSRP from $19,995†” marketing ploy.

    The Marketing team wants a low advertisable starting price. Legal will tell them how many of these ‘trim levels’ they need to keep in stock. It might be difficult to actually purchase one.

    • The L does not include cruise control.
    • The LS does not include cruise control standard, but it is available as part of a $495 Driver Confidence and Cruise Package (Cruise control, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Park Assist).
    • The LT ($24,595) includes ‘regular’ cruise control, and offers a $620 Adaptive Cruise Control option package (Adaptive Cruise Control, 4.2″ diagonal color Driver Information Center, Leather-wrapped steering wheel, Leather-wrapped shift knob, Rear center armrest).

    Meanwhile, “CHEVY CARES. WE’RE HERE AND READY TO HELP.” on the Chevrolet splash page. If you care, how about you stop playing pricing games with your customers?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bait-and-switch

  • avatar
    IBx1

    No cruise control but they found a way to put in that stupid auto braking and lane warning stuff? Wrong priorities.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Put that engine in a Spark and they could have my interest. Otherwise, I don’t see anything to choose this over a Kia Soul (as goes pretty much every subcompact crossover).

  • avatar
    monkeydelmagico

    I highly doubt we will ever see one of these actually for sale on a new car lot. If we ever did the dealer manager has probably already ripped up one side of the purchasing manager and down the other.

  • avatar
    Varezhka

    I wonder how much it cost GM to have both a 1.2L and a 1.3L engines in the line-up.
    You would think there are cheaper ways to differentiate the trim levels given the development, manufacturing, inventory, and other cost involved. Weren’t they just talking about streamlining their powertrain and platform options?

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      I think they may actually be different engines. The RPO codes are LIH for the 1.2 and L3T for the 1.3, and from what I can find only the 1.3 is part of the new “eTurbo” family.

      I’d wager the 1.2 is cheaper to build and that’s why they’re both in the lineup. Same with the Buick Encore; though the Encore pairs the 1.3 with a regular 9-speed auto.

  • avatar

    What is a cruise control? Never used one.

    But forget the name. If it was a Kia it would be the most beautiful CUV in existence with some high quality perfume scented interior. According to B&B.

  • avatar
    B&B? PFFFFTHAHAHA

    Yikes. This thing is bottom of the barrel. Straight up disgraceful garbage.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    My friend’s daughter saw him looking at this and is in love. She would need an LS, just to get away from the white only thing, which I think is kind of insane.

    I don’t mind the looks of it, it’s better looking than a lot of the stuff coming out recently, but a 3 cyl turbo and a CVT? Hell no!

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    My morbid curiosity wants to see the stats for the off-road package that is supposed to be an option on this thing. Just to see how hard I should laugh.

    The larger engine (which should get the 9-speed auto if it is the same as it’s Buick Encore GX cousin) with the addition of that excellent transmission should be much more pleasant to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Since the editing window has closed…

      Activ trim with “off-road tuned suspension” and “sport active tires” (AWD and tech package – cause I like the up-level stereos better) – and the styling is a little nicer on the Activ version.

      MSRP of a shade over $30K. Just to find it tolerable.

      • 0 avatar
        piratethecat

        It doesn’t look that bad on the outside. Although I can’t see a mainstream Chevy car interior and not think “rental”. Will be interesting to see what the ATPs are on the Activ trim. Mid-upper 20s will do well (27 or 28k?). I think the sweet spot for this one model will be lower-mid 20s overall though. I think I’d rather have this than a Renegade. Not quite apples to apples, but I don’t think shoppers in this category are slicing the niches as finely as manufacturers are.

  • avatar
    MKizzy

    The fact this car doesn’t have a feature as basic as cruise control matters little. The L trim level on any Chevy model is little more than a tease to allow Chevy deals to advertise a low price and sell their actually in stock LS/LT models to their unsuspecting customers.

  • avatar
    Moparmann

    To me, it seems as though the automakers are instituting a reverse “penalty box” type modus operandi. If you don’t want all the safety nanny bells & whistles, or if you (heaven forbid!) want to shift your own gears, all that is available are the lowest spec, putrid color editions. The separate item/s that you do want are embedded within packages containing a LOT of what you DON’T want!!

  • avatar
    piratethecat

    It doesn’t look that bad on the outside. Although I can’t see a mainstream Chevy car interior and not think “rental”. Will be interesting to see what the ATPs are on the Activ trim. Mid-upper 20s will do well (27 or 28k?). I think the sweet spot for this one model will be lower-mid 20s overall though. I think I’d rather have this than a Renegade. Not quite apples to apples, but I don’t think shoppers in this category are slicing the niches as finely as manufacturers are.

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