Ace of Base: 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer L

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

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.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Moparmann Moparmann on Mar 20, 2020

    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!!

  • Piratethecat Piratethecat on Mar 23, 2020

    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.

  • Dave M. The Outback alternates between decent design and goofy design every generation. 2005 was attractive, 2010 goofy. 2015 decent. 2020 good, but the ‘23 refresh hideous.Looking forward to the Outback hybrid in ‘26…..
  • Lorenzo Subaru had the ideal wagon - in 1995. The Legacy Outback was a straight two-box design with rear quarter and back windows you could see out of, and was available in brown with a 5-speed manual, as God and TTAC commenters intended. It's nice they're not raising prices, but when you've lost the plot, does it matter?
  • Bkojote Remember a month a go when Cleveland wanted to create a more walkable Cleveland and TTAC's 'BIG GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM' dumbest and dullest all collectively crapped their diapers? Here's the thing- look on any American highway and it's littered with people who don't /want/ to be driving or shouldn't be. Look at every Becky on her phone during the morning commute in her Tucson, look at every Brad aggro driving his 84 month loan GMC. Hell look how many drivers nowadays can't even operate a headlight switch. You expect these people to understand a stoplight? In my neighborhood alone 4 people have been rear ended at lights from someone on their phone. Distracted driving over the past 10 years has spiked, and it's only going to get worse unless Becky has an alternative, because no judge is going to pull her license when 'she needs it to get to work!' but heaven forbid she not check fb/tiktok for 40 minutes a day.
  • Scott Shouldn't the The Italian Minister for Business be criticizing The Milano for being too ugly to be Italian?Better use of resources doing that....
  • Steve Biro Frankly, while I can do without Eyesight and automatic start-stop, there is generally less B-S with Subarus in terms of design, utility and off-road chops than with many other brands. I just hope that when they adopt Toyota’s hybrid system, they’ll also use Toyota’s eCVT.
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