Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A blue 2024 Chevy Trailblazer RS is shown parked near a Chevy dealer.

For a Small SUV, Do You Want Chevy’s Trax or Trailblazer?

The crossover segment has some exciting options for those who want something small, agile, reliable, and fuel-efficient. So what about shoppers currently scouting their local Chevy dealer or online outlets to get their hands on a subcompact SUV? Which Chevy do you go with? Do you go for the Trax or the Trailblazer? The options might seem simple, but there are some clear differences between the two and what you might seek in a subcompact or compact crossover.

Ultimately, the features and pricing will be a major determiner of which vehicle you prefer. In their trims, however, they’re rather similar: the Trax is available in LS, LT, RS, and ACTIV, while the Trailblazer is available in LS, 1RS, LT, 2RS, and ACTIV. While they share some similarities in looks and size, too, they differ in some pretty significant ways…

A green 2024 Chevy Trax is shown parked near a lake.

Major Differences

The current generation of the Trailblazer is completely redesigned compared to what it was before from the early aughts up through 2008, where it was a midsize family SUV and a branch off of the 1990s Chevy Blazer, which was then a slightly different model. Confusing? Yeah. However, all you need to know is that the current Chevy Trailblazer is a subcompact version of the current midsize Chevy Blazer.

The Trailblazer actually now occupies the space that the Chevy Trax used to occupy. The Chevy Trax was a subcompact between 2011 and 2022. For the 2023 model year, the Trax was converted into a compact crossover with a longer wheelbase than the previous generation. In fact, the Trax is approximately 2.4 inches longer than the Trailblazer—so now you basically have the Trailblazer as a subcompact and the Trax as a compact crossover.

So what does all this mean? Well, there are slight differences in the roles these two occupy. The Trax is still an entry-level SUV with a basic 1.2-liter EcoTec turbocharged three-cylinder that makes 137 hp at 162 lb-ft of torque, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The Trailblazer, however, has the option of either the turbocharged 1.2-liter EcoTec three-cylinder or the turbocharged 1.3-liter EcoTec three-cylinder that makes 155hp at 174 lb-ft of torque. The Trailblazer also comes with an available nine-speed automatic or continuously variable transmission and has the option of all-wheel drive.

You also get slightly different spatial specs with the Trailblazer and Trax. The Trax offers 25.6 cu.ft. of cargo space behind the second row and 54.1 cu.ft. with the second row folded down. The Trailblazer, alternatively, offers 25.3 cu.ft. of cargo space behind the second row and 54.4 cu.ft. with the second row folded down. So you get just a smidgen more space behind the second row in the Trax and a smidgen more space with the second row folded down with the Trailblazer.

Both also have different color options, with more exotic colors available exclusively for the Trax, while two-tone colors are available exclusively for the Trailblazer.

A yellow 2024 Chevy Trailblazer is shown parked near water.

Price & Fuel Economy

Fuel economy is an essential aspect of a small SUV and a key reason most people opt for subcompact and compact crossovers. In the case of the Trax, you get 28 MPG in the city and up to 32 MPG on the highway. The Trailblazer offers slightly better fuel economy in front-wheel drive, with 29 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway; however, it has slightly worse fuel economy than the Trax if it’s configured in all-wheel drive, where it delivers 26 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway.

You might be thinking that the Chevy Trailblazer seems like the overall better deal; it’s slightly more spacious, has available all-wheel drive, and a somewhat more powerful powertrain option. So what’s the downsides? Well, price. Buying a brand new Chevy Trax is several thousand dollars cheaper than the Chevy Trailblazer. The Trax may now be slightly longer than the Trailblazer and slightly bigger in some ways, but it’s still priced like an entry-level vehicle for those looking for something brand-new and affordable.

Buying New vs Used

Do you buy brand new, or do you buy used? When it comes to the Trax versus the Trailblazer, it’s a tough fight. If you’re willing to spend more, you can opt for the Trailblazer and get more features. If you’re willing to spend less but still want a brand-new vehicle, the Trax is the way to go.

Things get a little more complicated when you consider buying used. The Chevy Trax being available in multiple trims across multiple generations dating back over a decade means you have a much larger selection of used models to choose from; this may more readily entice buyers toward the Chevy Trax. Meanwhile, the Chevy Trailblazer only has used model years available—dating back to 2021—so you have far fewer available models and trims than the Trax.

Another thing to consider is that, given the availability of the Trax and the fact that it’s cheaper than the Trailblazer, this could be a huge factor for those shopping on a budget and with a purpose. Older Trax models are smaller than the Trailblazer and cheaper, and this can be an enticing premise for shoppers on a budget, as you might only be inclined to buy a compact crossover in a certain price range and with certain features. The Trax’s pricing and pre-owned diversity make it a promising option in this regard.

A red 2024 Chevy Trax RS is shown driving on a city street.

Purpose and Presence

Feature-wise, both small SUVs have similar features, but one thing you might need to keep in mind is that all Chevy Trailblazers come with an 11.0-inch touchscreen, whereas only select Trax models come with an 11.0-inch touchscreen, with the entry-level trims relegated to an 8.0-inch touchscreen. Thus, if you were buying with the intent of having an affordable, fuel-efficient SUV with a rather robust infotainment suite, the Trailblazer looks like the better option. But if you feel the 8.0-inch touchscreen is satisfactory, you’re back to the Trax being better.

This is why it’s important to pinpoint which features you want and which are most important to you. If you want something affordable at the expense of no all-wheel drive, then the Trax fits the bill. If you want a large standard touchscreen, slightly higher performance, and all-wheel drive for better stability, the Trailblazer is the way to go.

When deciding between two similar SUVs, the reason for choosing one over the other comes down to the core features that best suit your needs and the price. In addition, if your preference is for a specific color scheme or a certain look, it’s worth noting that the Trax offers colors that aren’t available for the Trailblazer and vice versa. You get two-tone color options for the Trailblazer, such as Copper Harbor Metallic and Summit White, or the combination of Fountain Blue and Summit White, among others. With the Trax, you have options like Cayenne Orange Metallic or Crimson Metallic, which can give the Trax a unique look compared to the Trailblazer.

Finding Your Next Subcompact

Buying the right small SUV comes down to several subjects. If the price is important to you, then the Trax gives you a lot of leeway and options to accommodate your wallet. Meanwhile, despite having a slightly higher price and fewer used models available, the Trailblazer comes with more features and more scalable performance. Everything else is a bonus.