|137 - 155||Horsepower (HP)||122|
|162 - 174||Torque (lb-ft)||114|
After a 12 year hiatus, it has been officially announced that the Chevy Trailblazer is coming back to the American automobile market. Over the years, it was still available in various Asian markets for quite some time, but in the US, new models haven't been in production since 2009. After a long period of rumors and many questions on whether the brand will ever be seen again, Chevrolet has since confirmed that after more than a decade, a new second generation of the Trailblazer is in the works. After such a long absence, how can we expect this new version to stand up to the existing competition? The jury is still out as many details on the Trailblazer have yet to be announced, but in this article, we will be taking a closer look at the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer vs 2020 Nissan Kicks to see how Chevy's revival stacks up against its rival.
The newest generation of Trailblazer is expected to come in a wide array of trim levels, perfect for drivers looking for a range of choices in a small crossover SUV.
The base L trim carries an attractive MSRP of only $19,000 and comes equipped with an ECOTEC 1.2L turbo engine that gets up to 137 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). With this model, front-wheel wheel drive is standard. As for entertainment, this model includes a 7.0-inch touchscreen display that is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Moving up a level to the LS adds the option of all-wheel drive and a more powerful ECOTEC 1.3L turbo engine. This engine generates 155 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque; it comes paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Also standard are 17-inch wheels as opposed to the L's smaller 16-inch steel wheels.
The LT comes standard with the 1.2L engine and front-wheel drive, but the larger, more powerful 1.3L engine is an available option. For drivers looking to buy the 1.3L engine as standard gear, the LT AWD model is what to look for.
For drivers with more of a penchant for off-road adventure, the Trailblazer Activ is positioned as an off-road trim level with the trappings of such a vehicle, including a larger grille opening, different 17-inch wheels, sport terrain tires, and off-road suspension tuning. The Activ comes in both front-wheel and all-wheel drive versions, and features the 1.3L engine mentioned above on the lower trim levels.
The RS trim is almost identical to the Activ trim; the difference is that the Activ trim was designed to go off the beaten path. The RS trim does feature 18-inch high gloss black wheels and black front and rear fascias; most of the technology and safety features remain the same between both trims.
Despite it being marketed as a small crossover SUV, the Kicks actually has more in common with a common hatchback, due to its low ground clearance and lack of all-wheel drive. It's also only available in three trim levels––S, SV, and SR–– as opposed to the Trailblazer's five.
The base S model is an extremely basic driver, a trait shared with even the upper two trim levels. Every Kicks model gets the same engine––a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine matched to a continuously variable automatic transmission that drives the front wheels. Again, all-wheel drive is not available. The S also gets 16-inch steel wheels, a height-adjustable driver's seat, 60/40 split folding rear seats, a 7-inch touchscreen, USB ports, and a six-speaker audio system.
Jumping up to the SV adds on features such as roof rails, body-painted mirrors and handles, a driver information display, automatic climate control, satellite radio, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, which is a standard feature on the base Trailblazer L.
The uppermost SR model includes features found on the SV, plus LED headlights, a rear roof spoiler, a parking camera, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
As with all of their vehicles, Chevy packed the Trailblazer with tons of technology and advanced safety features. Its latest infotainment system is presented on the large touchscreen display, and every Trailblazer model includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Sirius XM with 360L will also be available, which delivers an enhanced experience and more radio stations than the standard SiriusXM satellite service. Also available on the Trailblazer will be a hands-free power liftgate with logo projection.
When it comes to safety, all models get a backup camera, forward-collision alert, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, lane-keeping assist, and teen-driver monitoring. Also available as optional features will be adaptive cruise control, rear parking assist, lane-change alert, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and an HD backup camera.
On the tech front, the Kicks provides most amenities that a smartphone-user could want, although the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity don't kick in until you get up to the SV model. USB ports are available for charging, and the touchscreen display may prove to be overly reflective for some drivers, with glare becoming an issue in direct sunlight.
The Kicks is a bit more limited than the Trailblazer when it comes to safety features. It only offers automatic high-beam control, lane departure warning, a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking sensors, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, and front and rear automatic emergency braking. No teen driver monitoring or HD cameras are available.
The newest Trailblazer makes a strong statement through its bold and sleek exterior design, which it shares with its larger sibling, the tried and true Blazer. The split headlights, flat roof, and sharp creases all take their visual cues from that model. Inside the Trailblazer, drivers and passengers can expect dual-cockpit design with plenty of available cargo space, with 54.4 cubic feet behind the split-folding rear seat.
The Kicks is attractive enough outside with sleek lines and gentle curves, but the real story is within the cabin, where taller drivers may have a harder time of it with the driving position and the placement of the foot pedals. The thick rear window pillars also compromise on visibility somewhat.