It really is hip to be square.
When the Chevrolet Blazer returned to showrooms in 2019, it was the subject of some criticism for basically being a soft-roading SUV as opposed to its brawny ancestor. Then came the Trailblazer, which blazes no new trails with standard-issue front-wheel-drive in its subcompact unibody structure. With the new Ford Bronco now taking the world by storm, criticism over Chevrolet’s perceived sullying of the Blazer moniker is sharper than ever.
We already dipped a toe into the what-if world with our own exclusive rendering of a tough, off-road Blazer. Now it TheSketchMonkey’s turn, and his digital pen falls on the smaller Trailblazer. Think of this as a foil for the Bronco Sport, but before that can happen, he goes after all the wonky Trailblazer body lines and styling cues that make the Chevy look remarkably like a Hyundai.
As such, the angled body line on the rear door and the up-kinked C-pillar are straightened out, and honestly, just doing that makes a big difference. The floating roof is also eliminated, and the rear pillar is squared up to meet a flattened top with no downward arc. The front clip is cleaned up considerably, with the smiling grille and trapezoid-esque mid-mount headlights neatly squared off. The grille might be a bit too bland, but nobody will mistake this for a Hyundai. That’s especially true with the addition of a big skid plate and oversized off-road tires.
Unfortunately, the underpinnings of the Trailblazer don’t quite match the exterior makeover. The largest available engine is a turbocharged 1.3-liter three-cylinder good for 155 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. It’s connected to a continuously variable transmission that turns the front wheels by default, with all-wheel-drive available. It is very much an on-road machine designed to offer drivers some measure of security in snow or rain, not exploring muddy trails into the back of beyond.
In hindsight, do you think General Motors is lamenting its decision to recast the Blazer and Trailblazer as on-road people movers? Moreover, what’s your take on this tougher Trailblazer makeover? There’s certainly a strong argument for the new model being overstyled as the video suggests. Perhaps in this case, simpler really is better.