Hot on the heels of its Chinese-market debut in Shanghai last month, General Motors has foisted a reborn Trailblazer on North America.
The original TrailBlazer (note the uppercase “B”) bowed out of the American market after 2009, though a Holden-badged version built on the Chevy Colorado platform appeared overseas in 2012. The unrelated Chinese model is what you see here, riding atop a new architecture that underpins the just-announced Buick Encore GX.
That’s right, the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer is a small crossover that slots between the subcompact Trax and compact Equinox. GM decided upsetting Blazer purists wasn’t enough.
There’s little to tell you about this vehicle. Rumors began to swirl after a U.S. trademark application for the Trailblazer nameplate was uncovered earlier this year. The model’s Shanghai debut, where it appeared alongside a cheaper Tracker model destined for developing markets, further ramped up speculation.
It seems the Trailblazer will not replace the Trax, despite the two being fairly close in size. Looking like a downsized Blazer, the Trailblazer arrives in early 2020, likely with nearly identical levels of interior room as its Encore GX platform mate. While Chevrolet hasn’t mentioned dimensions, the Trailblazer, like the Encore GX, boasts a slightly larger footprint than the existing subcompact crossover pair. In the Encore GX’s case, cargo volume tops the Encore’s by 5 cubic feet.
Powertrains? Take a guess. Chevy could utilize the more powerful of its two turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinders, the turbo 1.5-liter found in the Equinox and Malibu, or perhaps something even larger. There will be an RS trim with a contrasting roof, Chevy claims. With models like the Trailblazer and Blazer, existing as they do between segments already occupied by bow-tied vehicles, GM will have to be careful to avoid cannibalizing sales of other models. Naturally, this will still occur, but the idea is to increase the brand’s overall light truck haul with a readily available offshore offering.
“Trailblazer is a continuation of the design language for Chevy’s crossover family and extends our momentum into one of the industry’s fastest-growing segments,” said Chevrolet brand director Laura Pacey in a statement.
Like the Encore GX, the Trailblazer will tempt buyers with a high level of standard content, at least in the safety arena. Chevy plans to offer standard front pedestrian braking, automatic emergency braking, and lane keep assist with lane departure warning. Optional kit includes adaptive cruise control with camera, rear park assist, and GM’s gimmicky high-def rear-vision camera, which admittedly offers a wider view of the road behind.
Pricing will be announced closer to the model’s on-sale date.