Can the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer Activ Actually Blaze a Trail?
We take the toughest Trailblazer trim off-road to test its credentials.
Jul 13, 2020
"Trailblazer" doesn't have to be a literal term. We talk about figurative trailblazers all the time, people or products that do things differently or break a glass ceiling. Although the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer may be an new product for the brand, it competes in an established segment, and both the marketing around our "Activ" trim level tester and the history behind the Trailblazer name suggest Chevrolet meant the literal definition. Let's put it to the test, then.
The original Trailblazer (and the Trailblazer trim level for the compact S-10 Blazer that preceded it) was a truck-based, body-on-frame SUV with proper four-wheel drive and a six- or eight-cylinder engine. The all-new model is a car-based, unibody crossover with two different turbocharged three-cylinder engines and manually selectable all-wheel drive.
Our off-road-focused Activ trim level tester gets a minor suspension lift, some underbody shielding, a revised front bumper for better clearance, and "sport terrain" tires. Never heard of a "sport terrain" tire? It's an all-season tire with aggressive-looking sidewalls that may or may not improve traction slightly in deep mud, sand, or snow. Technically, these tires are Hankook Dynapro AT2 all-terrains, but in a new configuration with considerably less aggressive tread likely optimized for on-road noise and comfort.
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Image courtesy of, and credited to, motortrend.com