The Chevy Trailblazer returned to the lineup last year, slimmer, cheaper, more stylish and less powerful than in its formative years. So for 2022 the pert little SUV isn’t changed, aside from a heated steering wheel on top models and some air-conditioning improvements.
Front-drive models use a 1.2-liter turbo-3 rated at 137 hp, mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). All-wheel-drive models use the 1.3-liter version making 155 hp and mated to a 9-speed automatic.
The EPA says the 1.2-liter gets 29/31/30 mpg with front-wheel drive, and 26/30/28 mpg with all-wheel-drive. The 1.3-liter gets 29 mpg city, 33 highway, 31 combined with front-wheel drive.
The NHTSA gives it five overall stars in safety, while the IIHS hasn’t tested it yet. Standard safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking and eight airbags, including knee airbags for front passengers. Adaptive cruise control is optional on LT and higher grades.
Made in South Korea, the Trailblazer comes as an LS, LT, rugged-looking Activ and sporty-looking RS.
The $22,795 LS is equipped with active safety features, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and alloy wheels.
The $25,340 LT adds cruise control and has more available options, including a black roof and adaptive cruise control.
All-wheel drive costs about $2,000 more, depending on the trim level.
A fully-loaded Trailblazer can push $33,000.
The Trailblazer isn’t as playfully styled as some rivals, but it has a nice, cohesive look. The base LS trim is a bit bland, but the LT brings stylish wheels and a fashionable black-painted roof that works well on this small SUV.
The cabin is less interesting than the body, with a bland dash that’s no less functional for its simplicity. Activ and RS models have colorful trim that bring some style, at least. There’s good small-item storage and the materials have a nice look and feel, in higher trim levels. LT and above come with a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat that offers good all-day support.
There’s more interior space in this pint-sized SUV than might be expected. Five adults may be wishful thinking, but four are comfortably accommodated, with plenty of cargo space—25 cubic feet—for their gear.
Active noise canceling helps make the Trailblazer fairly quiet for a vehicle this inexpensive.
With just 137 hp and a CVT in front-wheel-drive form, the Trailblazer is not quick. All-wheel-drive versions have 155 hp and more torque, plus a relative gem of a 9-speed automatic transmission. It’s not perfect but it’s better than the CVT.
The ride is compliant and comfortable, even with the bigger wheels on upper models. The steering is well weighted, although the handling is nothing special (it would be a surprise if it were). The Activ has an off-roadish suspension, without affecting the quality of the ride on the highway.
The 2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer fills a void, and it’s hard to beat if what you need is an affordable small SUV with all-wheel drive. Stick with the LT or above for the more powerful engine.