What’s in a name?

2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer. Metro Creative Services photo.
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2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer. Metro Creative Services photo.

Name recognition is important for 2022 Chevy Trailblazer

There is not a more competitive segment in the automotive industry than the subcompact SUV segment. Now whether you consider these SUVs or crossovers is just semantics. But what matters is name recognition and my tester this week certainly is a known name from the past (and the present).

The 2022 Chevy Trailblazer has roots back to the 1990s and early part of the 2000s. After a brief hiatus it returned to the market in 2011. For 2022, the Trailblazer continues to ride its name recognition through a tough group of competition and for this model year, very little is changed from 2021, with just a few exceptions.

The L trim is discontinued and now Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard (what took them so long to make this standard?).

However it had been quite some time since I had driven the Trailblazer so it felt new to me. Yet it also felt familiar, and that’s not a bad thing. The Trailblazer has distinctive looks which is necessary since so many vehicles in this segment all look the same.

The two-toned exterior with a white roofline and roof rack showcase the distinctive appeal of the Trailblazer. The grille and front end are well styled with a multi-curved accent on the front along with chrome accents. Of course the Chevy bow-tie is front and center just above some more chrome accents.

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A sharp, aggressively-styled spoiler is the highlight of the back side of the Trailblazer. Chrome exhaust tips complete the look. If you don’t like chrome, this may not be the styling for you, but personally I think chrome works on this vehicle.

It’s somewhat ironic that the word Blaze is in the name because this vehicle does not have blazing speed. In fact, the base 1.2-liter engine seems pretty sluggish. My tester had the optional turbocharged 1.3-liter and yet still only put out 155 horsepower and 174 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine’s performance can best be described as just enough. It’s not sluggish, but it’s certainly not exhilarating. There is some turbo lag at the lower speeds and off the line, but the engine is a bit loud at some RPMs especially on the highway and at higher speeds.

Thankfully my tester had all-wheel drive because that meant it got the nine-speed automatic transmission instead of the continuously variable transmission (CVT). I have yet to find a CVT that I like and I have a feeling with this underpower engine it would be especially frustrating. As such, the nine-speed transmission does its job.

The interior of the Trailblazer is best judged for what it is not for what it isn’t. The Trailblazer is intended to be an economy vehicle and as such it is adequate. There are some harder plastic touchpoints, but I don’t hold that against the vehicle. The interior styling is attractive as my tester had some pewter-colored accents that added some aesthetic appeal. Additionally the leatherette seats are comfortable.

The back seat was surprisingly spacious for such a small vehicle. Behind the second row of seats there’s 25.3 cubic feet of cargo room and that area expands to 54.4 cubic feet with the seats folded flat. For such a small vehicle these are good numbers.

Additionally, GM’s infotainment system is intuitive and the 7-inch touchscreen is responsive. The smart phone integration is easy and adds to the overall infotainment experience. It’s one of the better systems in this segment.

My tester was one of the higher trims, ACTIV AWD. Base price for this is $27,200. The wheelbase is 103.9 inches and the height (minus the roof rack) is 65.7 inches.

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My tester had an EPA rating of 26 mpg/city and 30 mpg/highway. I averaged close to 27 mpg in a week’s worth of mixed driving.

If you’ve read my Driver’s Side review over the years, you’ll see I generally have a disdain for these small crossovers. I would prefer a car over them, but the consumer thirst has definitely gone away from cars. As such, compact SUVs like the Trailblazer continue to thrive. All in all it was a good week with it. I didn’t blaze any trails and I certainly blaze quickly off the line. But at least it stood out for the styling and the interior space.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at jimmydinsmore73@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @driversside

2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer AWD ACTIV

  • Price/As tested price................................................ $27,200/$27,200
  • Mileage.......................................... 26 mpg/city; 30 mpg/hwy
  • Engine............................................. 1.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower................................. 155 hp/174 lbs./ft.
  • Transmission................................. 9-speed automatic
  • Drive wheels................ All-wheel drive