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By Steph Willems on March 30, 2020
We can’t tell you how the Chevrolet Trailblazer, reborn as a vastly different vehicle for 2021, drives (thanks to a first drive program scuttled at the 11th hour by coronavirus), but at least we can tell you what to expect at the pump.
As the model starts quietly trickling onto dealer lots at a time when most Americans are scared to leave the house, the Environmental Protection Agency has gotten around to testing the model’s full range. Two three-cylinder engines and two transmissions are on tap. Let’s take a look.
As we told you earlier this month, the loaded Trailblazer (1.3-liter turbo three, nine-speed automatic, all-wheel drive) garnered an EPA rating of 28 mpg combined and 30 mpg on the highway. Less than jaw-dropping, some would say, but the loaded Trailblazer’s curb weight is believed to land somewhere around 3,400 pounds, despite slotting between the subcompact and compact class.
A four-cylinder Nissan Kicks tips the scales at less than 2,700 lbs and, with less horsepower on tap, manages 33 mpg combined.
But what about those other Trailblazer configurations, you ask? Right. According to the EPA, the base 1.2-liter Trailblazer (137 horses, 162 lb-ft of torque) â a beast only available with front-drive and a continuously variable transmission â improves on the top-flight model’s gas mileage, but only by a bit. Fuel economy is 28 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined.
If the larger engine’s output (155 hp, 174 lb-ft) appeals to you, but AWD seems needlessly expensive or pointless for your region, that CVT can also be found in a front-drive 1.3L variant. There, the unit’s thriftiness combines with a lower curb weight and reduced driveline loss for an EPA rating of 29 city/33 highway/31 combined.
While those figures are less than that of the featherweight Kicks, they’re almost on par with the sub-subcompact Hyundai Venue, which rates a 32 mpg combined figure when equipped with a CVT. The thriftiest Trailblazer’s fuel economy also matches that of the most efficient 2021 Kia Seltos.
[Images: General Motors]