By on March 30, 2020


We can’t tell you how the Chevrolet Trailblazer, reborn as a vastly different vehicle for 2021, drives (thanks to a first drive program scuttled at the 11th hour by coronavirus), but at least we can tell you what to expect at the pump.

As the model starts quietly trickling onto dealer lots at a time when most Americans are scared to leave the house, the Environmental Protection Agency has gotten around to testing the model’s full range. Two three-cylinder engines and two transmissions are on tap. Let’s take a look.

As we told you earlier this month, the loaded Trailblazer (1.3-liter turbo three, nine-speed automatic, all-wheel drive) garnered an EPA rating of 28 mpg combined and 30 mpg on the highway. Less than jaw-dropping, some would say, but the loaded Trailblazer’s curb weight is believed to land somewhere around 3,400 pounds, despite slotting between the subcompact and compact class.

A four-cylinder Nissan Kicks tips the scales at less than 2,700 lbs and, with less horsepower on tap, manages 33 mpg combined.

But what about those other Trailblazer configurations, you ask? Right. According to the EPA, the base 1.2-liter Trailblazer (137 horses, 162 lb-ft of torque) — a beast only available with front-drive and a continuously variable transmission — improves on the top-flight model’s gas mileage, but only by a bit. Fuel economy is 28 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined.

If the larger engine’s output (155 hp, 174 lb-ft) appeals to you, but AWD seems needlessly expensive or pointless for your region, that CVT can also be found in a front-drive 1.3L variant. There, the unit’s thriftiness combines with a lower curb weight and reduced driveline loss for an EPA rating of 29 city/33 highway/31 combined.

While those figures are less than that of the featherweight Kicks, they’re almost on par with the sub-subcompact Hyundai Venue, which rates a 32 mpg combined figure when equipped with a CVT. The thriftiest Trailblazer’s fuel economy also matches that of the most efficient 2021 Kia Seltos.

[Images: General Motors]

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39 Comments on “Now You Know the Rest of the Chevrolet Trailblazer Fuel Economy Story...”

  • avatar

    Current equinox MPG is 28/39, what is the point in this vehicle? It’s dorky, unattractive, and does not have a single redeeming feature.

    • 0 avatar

      well those numbers are with the turbo diesel…

      But yeah the Equinox is bigger and gets 26/31/28 with a 1.5L I4

    • 0 avatar

      My 2013 Encore 1.4t AWD would see 38.4 mpg driving mostly highway of the 58 miles to work. That was iron block with port injected turbo and 6-speed torque converter. I’ve seen Encore 1.4t with optional 1.4t sidi that has direct injection see almost 50 mpg.

      So a smaller and light than 3,400 lbs with CVT or 9-speed torque converter should easily exceed EPA and any hyper miler of previous GM compact SUVs.

      • 0 avatar

        Norm, the Encore is to Buick is kind of like the 1989 Buick Skylark was to their line up. A disastrous non luxury POS which helped destroy the brand. Even if it sells to complete saps. One could also compare the Cimmaron to Cadillac’s line up to see how bad of a car it is.

  • avatar

    1.3-liter turbo three? No thanks.

  • avatar

    When does the impressive stuff start?

  • avatar

    GM still proving they cannot get it right. Just amazing.

  • avatar

    Seeing this in person at the Chicago auto show, I thought it was surprisingly handsome, and it looks like it really hits a sweet spot size-wise. But I wouldn’t go near one with these powertrains. Not when the Kia Seltos has a proven 2.0L 4-cyl and gets the same or better fuel economy (and will be quicker, I’m sure). Literally no advantage to these engines at all. Dumb.

  • avatar

    the styling will overcome mpg.

  • avatar

    What a joke this company is.

  • avatar

    How did this thing become such a porker?? Is the Buick Encore GX similarly overweight??? Are all of these built in S. Korea??

    • 0 avatar

      How? Via forced layoffs, A growing legion of inexperience auto engineers led by butt-kissing, poorly-visioned management, who rule by the culture of fear instead of respect and capability, inside a system which rewards just that. GM, once a proud icon of the USA, has been a joke for quite some time. But we know that.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    This is news?

    Even if I were stupid enough to be interested in purchasing one of these, I think I could find the MPG ratings with a web search.

  • avatar

    They look like Hyundais. Hopefully the ladies like them, because not very many men are going to be wanting these.

    But there is a “rest of the story” on why it’s called the “Trailblazer”.
    There is so little ground clearance that if you drive it off the tarmac,
    the catalytic converter will catch dry grass on fire.

  • avatar

    It seems many on this forum dislike GM even more than I do.

    What a disgrace!
    I say it for everyone now!

  • avatar

    I need to start selling eleven-foot poles, for junk products you shouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.

    What an amazing piece of crap. Every time I think GM can’t get any more pathetic, they manage to surprise me. They’re making Chrysler look good.

  • avatar

    Good lord you people. There is nothing wrong with this car. It’s a perfectly fine, nicely styled competitive vehicle. I know I know, it’s trendy to hate GM. Hyundai good….GM bad.

    • 0 avatar

      I own a driveway full of GM products, so allow me to make an unbiased statement.

      The product above is a flaming pile of crap that no one need suffer the unfortunate situation of being seen within.

    • 0 avatar

      GM has been a long-term, poorly managed company, with dwindling market share, who ships jobs and work overseas more than any other, who needs a union to combat the idiocy of leadership, with eternally poor dealer and supplier relationships, who creates inconsistent products that are obsolete upon delivery, who can’t even compete with sedans, who begged for and received a bailout, whose flagship product totally lost it’s customer base, who is culturally arrogant, over-promises and under delivers, bullies local governments for tax breaks then closes the plants, who soon lost then failed any accidental hit it created, etc.

      It’s much more than being “trendy” or this website.

    • 0 avatar

      “Why is this junk? What exactly is wrong with it?”

      “There is nothing wrong with this car. It’s a perfectly fine, nicely styled competitive vehicle. I know I know, it’s trendy to hate GM. Hyundai good….GM bad.”

      I own: ’66 Olds Toronado, ’68 Chev El Camino, ’77 Chev Concours (Nova), ’88 Chev K1500, ’92 and ’93 Lumina Euro 3.4, ’97 Chev K2500, and our “daily drivers are a ’98 Chev Monte Carlo and an ’03 Chev Trailblazer.

      Note the total lack of “Hyundai”.

      Don’t tell me I “Hate GM”. I hate what GM Management has done to their product line and to the Corporation. I’d buy another REAL Trailblazer RIGHT NOW but GM quit making them in ’09.

      GM has put into politically-correct penalty boxes, hybrids and EVs is money flushed down the toilet. But then, EVERY DIME our Government put into subsidizing the premature roll-out of non-viable “technology” is also money flushed down the toilet.

      As for this particular vehicle, it weighs 3,400 pounds, has no frame, FAR Too much electronics, a likely-failure-prone transmission, and has a nice motorcycle engine minus one cylinder. I didn’t buy a three-popper Suzuki Sprint or the Geo equivalent decades ago, why in hell would I want a three-popper NOW?

      END CAFE. Done. Gone. Finished. CAFE and massive incompetence are the two main reasons GM has flushed their reputation and market share. Yes, a lot of GM’s problems were created by the Government. But arrogance and losing the desire to build GOOD cars instead of excessively profitable cars factors strongly in their failure.

      Relax emissions standards to ~1996 levels.

      Apply import taxes so that America doesn’t have to compete with 50 cent per hour labor and lack of environmental regulation enforcement.

      • 0 avatar

        Schurkey, that makes too much sense. It’ll put government employees out of work, especially those whose specialty is writing new regulations. These people have no marketable skills, they’ll just swell the ranks of the homeless. You wouldn’t want that, would you?

  • avatar

    Wasn’t GM crowing about how its new vehicles were engineered to be light in weight and they didn’t need to go aluminum like Ford in pickups? I guess GM only bothers for PR rather than to be consistent.

    3400 pounds puts it within a hundred pounds of the mid-sized 1972 Ford Torino 2 door.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I would probably save my money and buy a Hyundai or Kia which would be less expensive and have a better warranty. These are disposable vehicles and it is best to not put a lot of money in them otherwise buy a used vehicle. GM seems to be going the route of more disposable vehicles but at a much higher price.

  • avatar

    So, aside from the dubious styling and frantic and over matched 3 cyl engines, a CVT developed by GM ????

    Like the one co developed with Fiat for Saturn ?

    No thanks.

  • avatar

    A quick note: The EPA doesn’t actually do the mileage testing. Manufacturers do it themselves, and submit the results to EPA with the threat of fines (and reputation damage and lawsuits) if the automakers engage in monkey business.

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