Jan
12
2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer RS

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer RS in Oasis Blue with Mosaic Black roof

Quick Spin, Consumer Guide Automotive

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer RS AWD

Class: Subcompact Crossover

Miles driven: 187

Fuel used: 7.0 gallons

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortB+
Power and PerformanceC+
Fit and FinishB-
Fuel EconomyA
ValueB
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyB+
Tall GuyA-
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Drivetrain
Engine Specs155-hp 1.3-liter
Engine TypeTurbo 3-cylinder
Transmission 9-speed automatic
Drive WheelsAWD

Real-world fuel economy: 26.7 mpg

Driving mix: 45% city, 55% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 26/30/28 (mpg city/highway/combined)

Fuel type: Regular gas

Base price: $26,900 (not including $995 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: Technology Package ($1720), Convenience Package ($620), Driver Confidence Package ($345)

Price as tested: $30,580

 

Quick Hits

The great: Fine passenger and cargo room within tidy exterior dimensions; good selection of available safety and convenience/technology features

The good: Unique appearance features; decent ride and handling

The not so good: Some so-so cabin materials; a bit noisy in highway driving

More Trailblazer price and availability information

 

CG Says:

The Chevrolet Trailblazer RS may be the official vehicle of the power of positive thinking. It looks like the most sporting version of Chevy’s all-new subcompact crossover SUV so, the positive thinker might reason, it must truly be sportier than the rest.

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer RS

Trailblazer RS models get sporty appearance touches such as blacked-out exterior trim, a unique mesh grille pattern, and dual exhaust outlets with chrome tips. Eye-catching Oasis Blue paint is another RS exclusive.

There’s a slight bit of truth to that if you are comparing a front-wheel-drive RS to an FWD Trailblazer L, LS, or LT. The RS gets a standard 155-horsepower 1.3-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder engine in place of the 137-horse 1.2-liter turbo three used in the L-series models. But change the driveline to all-wheel drive and that little advantage disappears because every AWD Trailblazer—LS, LT, RS, and ACTIV (a mild off-roader)—gets the 1.3 engine and 9-speed automatic transmission.

With that in mind, the all-wheel RS that Consumer Guide tested behaved very much like the AWD LT that it sampled earlier. The 1.3 is no paragon of smoothness or quiet, but it’s kind of peppy from a standing start and benefits from the 9-speed trans (which replaces the FWD models’ continuously variable transmission) in building up to highway speeds. Selectable “Sport” mode changes shift points and firms steering up. Ride and handling are good for a relatively inexpensive crossover, though some road noise intrudes in highway driving. Tested fuel economy ranged from the mid 20s mpg to almost 30 mpg.

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2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer RS

The RS’s sporty interior touches include red trim elements and accent stitching, unique gauge graphics, and a leather-wrapped flat-bottomed steering wheel. The $1720 Technology Package adds features such as Chevy’s Infotainment 3 Plus touchscreen system, Bose 7-speaker audio, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, and wireless charging.

At $27,895—with delivery—to start, the RS and ACTIV all-wheelers share the top rung of the Trailblazer price ladder. (Subtract $1500 for front drive.) That’s a jump of $1300 over an AWD LT. In the case of the RS, that buys the following additional standard equipment:

  • dual-outlet exhaust
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • diamond-pattern grille
  • black lower fasciae, front and rear
  • black bowtie, badging, and roof rails
  • contrast-color roof (either Mosaic Black Metallic or Scarlet Red Metallic depending on body color)
  • LED taillights
  • leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel and shifter knob
  • cloth-and-leatherette seat upholstery
  • rear center armrest

Test Drive: 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer LT

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer RS

The Trailblazer offers decent space for adults in both the front and rear seats, thanks in part to its tall-ish body height.

No matter which of the seven model-specific exterior color combinations a 2021 RS comes in—ours was Mosaic Black over an eye-catching, almost-aqua Oasis Blue—the interior will be Jet Black with red cabin details like stitching, vent bezels, and console and shift-lever highlights. The “mixed-media” seats and the applications of leather slightly raise the luxe level in an interior that is short on attractive soft-touch surfaces. You’ll have to shell out for option packages to get things like automatic single-zone air conditioning and an 8-inch touchscreen for the convenient Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system to replace the standard manual air conditioner and 7-inch screen. (CG’s test RS had three option groups that brought its final price to $30,580.) Like the LT, it has standard LED fog lamps, heated power mirrors, remote starting, keyless access, 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, forward-collision alert, automatic emergency braking (including for pedestrians), lane-keeping assist, automatic headlight high-beam control, and teen-driver monitoring.

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2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer RS

RS models don’t get an exclusive engine; they’re powered by the same 155-hp 1.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder as other all-wheel-drive Trailblazers. RSes do get upsized wheels–18-inch alloys, versus the 16s and 17s on other Trailblazers.

Trailblazers provide good leg- and headroom for four adults. There is 25.3 cubic feet of flat-floored cargo space behind the 60/40-split second-row seats that fold almost flat for more room, and all but the L have a front passenger seat that retracts to make way for long objects. In-cabin storage space is somewhat limited—though the RS’s standard rear armrest does raise the cup-holder count by two. Controls are conveniently placed.

The best way to appreciate the RS compared to other Trailblazers is for its looks. Considering it a step up in performance would require some positive—better yet, wishful—thinking.

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2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer RS

The RS and the light-off-road-themed ACTIV models are the topline models of the new-for-2021 Trailblazer lineup, and they’re priced the same in either front-wheel-drive or AWD form. The RS amps up the sporty style of this likeable subcompact SUV, but the enhancements it brings are almost entirely cosmetic.

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