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When a manufacturer develops a crossover for the market, it has to be very careful to walk the line of maintaining a perfect balance between performance, comfort and fuel economy, to be able to capture enough audience to consider the crossover a viable success. When Chevrolet unveiled the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer, it took upon quite a task for itself as it was riding on a moniker that has more than substantial street cred and it would be like shooting themselves in the foot if General Motors were to mess it up.
Looking at what General Motors ultimately came up with, I was mightily impressed looking at the muscular and modern outlook of the Trailblazer and an interior that looked great and appropriate for the caliber of the proposed segment. The initial great impression came crashing down though when I learned about the engine specs of the new Trailblazer and to be honest I was just left feeling disheartened. I personally believed that the Trailblazer had much more potential than just being a Buick Encore GX underneath as it should have been a more capable vehicle simply because of the nameplate it carried along with it but sadly it just couldn’t differentiate itself enough. The comfort levels of the Trailblazer were just about adequate but were easily overshadowed by rivals that offered more space and nicer finishes on the inside. The performance was less than underwhelming and in my opinion, the biggest shortcoming of the 2021 Trailblazer. And the fuel economy- Well at the time the fuel economy ratings were unknown at the moment least of my concerns. As of now though the EPA has released the numbers for the well-optioned All Wheel Drive 1.3 Litre Three Cylinder Turbocharged Engine that is mated to the 9 Speed Automatic Transmission and sadly what has transpired isn’t news to celebrate about. The 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer in the above-mentioned guise has been awarded an EPA rating of a very average 28 mpg combined which undercuts all of its competition and really doesn’t give us any reason to recommend the Trailblazer over the more well-rounded competitors.
Yes, the smaller 1.2 Litre turbocharged engine and the Front Wheel Drive configurations would be more frugal with the fuel but even then, I don’t expect it to overshadow the Trailblazer’s other shortcomings. I don’t really understand what to feel when I know I can go and grab something like a Ford Escape that offers more power and better fuel economy, for not much of a premium over the Trailblazer. Yes, I don’t ask the Trailblazer to offer us a gazillion horsepower but the 155 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque that the 1.3 Litre engine offers, aren’t doing it any favors. And the fact that even after being so underpowered it doesn’t benefit its fuel economy, is just heart-breaking.
We still have to wait and see how much more fuel-efficient the 137 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque spitting 1.2 Litre Turbocharged engine can get because in all honesty if it the Trailblazer can’t trump all of it’s competition with its smaller engine at least in terms of fuel efficiency I don’t know what else could be the saving grace of a vehicle that has so much clout associated with its name.