2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer aims for all-weather value

Car shoppers looking for a cost-conscious small crossover SUV with all-wheel drive shouldn’t sleep on the latest Chevy Trailblazer.

Checking in after a light design nip and technology tuck for 2024 with a TCC Rating of 5.8 out of 10, the 2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer wins with a spunky turbo-3, surprisingly roomy interior, and great tech for the right price all wrapped in a sharp package. But fuel economy is middling, the all-wheel-drive system is primitive, and its existence next to the Trax in Chevy showrooms muddies the water.

Here are the pros and cons of the 2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer after a week of shuttling my kids to activities around suburbia.

2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Pro: Trailblazer features 3-cylinders

It might be down a cylinder compared to some competitors, but this fact only gives the Trailblazer more character. Every Trailblazer is powered by a turbo-3 with base models having a smaller 1.2-liter rated at 137 hp. My loaded RS tester featured the larger 1.3-liter engine rated at 155 hp. The optional all-wheel drive swaps the meh-inducing CVT for a 9-speed automatic transmission that behaves itself while blending into the background. The turbo-3 is peppy with a distinct growl and enough power around town. Asking for a daring passing maneuver on the highway might be a stretch, but it’s an enjoyable companion errand-to-errand.

2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Con: Trailblazer seemingly isn’t efficient

My all-wheel-drive tester had solid EPA ratings of 26 mpg city, 29 highway, and 27 combined. Those seem unrealistic. Over the course of 155 miles of mixed suburban driving in chilly Minnesota weather the Trailblazer averaged 22.0 mpg. Not great.

2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Pro: Trailblazer has plenty of space

Don’t let the Trailblazer’s diminutive size fool you, as it did me. Despite its wheelbase being a mere inch shorter than the 10-inch larger Subaru Forester, the Trailblazer’s quite roomy inside. A family of four fits comfortably, but five with three across the rear bench would be a tight squeeze. At 5-foot-10, I could comfortably sit in the rear seat with the front seat adjusted for my seating position. That’s due to a shocking 39.4 inches of rear legroom. With the rear seats up the cargo holds 25.3 cubic feet of stuff, and that expands to 54.4 cubes with the second row folded. Costco trips aren’t a problem.

2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Con: Trailblazer gets lackluster all-wheel-drive system

The Chevrolet Trailblazer comes in base form with front-wheel-drive, but every trim can be had with all-wheel drive. It costs $2,000, which seems worth it for the snow-belt states. The issue is the system isn’t automatic. Driver’s have to push a button to engage it. Once engaged the system will remain on even upon restarting, but most systems don’t operate like this. It should automatically engage and disengage for better fuel economy, or just stay engaged. It’s a simpler system that costs GM less money and the excuse of, “it gives the customer the option for better fuel economy” doesn’t fly. Most systems automatically disengage for this purpose. The Hyundai Kona even features a locking center differential for better traction in slippery situations. 

2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Pro: Trailblazer features all the tech

Chevrolet’s packaged the Trailblazer to make it not feel like a budget car, despite being a budget car. My loaded AWD RS tester cost $34,670, which is nearly the same as a loaded Hyundai Kona and about $2,300 more than a Subaru Crosstrek Limited (the latter has a nicer interior than both the Chevy and Hyundai). But the Chevy comes standard with an 8.0-inch digital gauge cluster, an 11.0-inch touchscreen featuring wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto all straight from the Trax. In fact, the dashboard is extremely similar in design and function as the Trax. My tester had niceties like a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, auto up windows, automatic climate control, a wireless smartphone charger, and a power tailgate. Knock a few of the latter optional features off and it feels like a value.

2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Con: Trailblazer adds confusion to Chevy showroom

The Trailblazer’s largest issue, and probably competitor, sits alongside it at dealerships: the Chevrolet Trax. The Trax rides on a 3.3-inch longer wheelbase (which gives it a slightly better ride) and is 5.1 inches longer overall, yet the two feature similar interior space. The Trailblazer costs a few thousand dollars more in base form with nearly the same standard content, making it a worse value starting out, but the Trax can’t be had with all-wheel drive. Both are even made in South Korea. It might be time to either give the Trax all-wheel drive and merge these two siblings into one. 

For Chevy Trax buyers wanting all-wheel drive, or small crossover SUV buyers looking for style and tech for a budget price, the 2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer is a compelling option. 

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2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer AWD RS

Base price: $25,435, including $1,335 destination

Price as tested: $34,670

Powertrain: 155-hp 1.3-liter turbo-3, 9-speed automatic transmission, AWD

EPA fuel economy: 25/29/27 mpg

The pros: Turbo-3 growl, lots of space, tech comes standard

The cons: Not efficient, simple all-wheel-drive system, confusing alongside Trax sibling