Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips and Reviews

A brown and white 2021 Chevy Trailblazer Activ is parked victoriously in a desert after winning 2021 Chevy TrailBlazer vs 2020 Mazda CX-30.

Should You Buy the Trailblazer or CX-30?

If you’re looking for a small SUV, there are a lot of options out there for you to choose from; so many that it can pretty quickly get overwhelming. I’m here to help, however, by taking a look at a couple of the most recent models on the market and seeing how they stack up. We’ll get into all sorts of details so you really know what they have to offer and you can make an informed decision while shopping. Today, let’s take a look at this comparison: 2021 Chevy Trailblazer vs 2020 Mazda CX-30.

First things first, yes, those are different model year numbers, but I assure you they’re still quite comparable. Don’t pay too much attention to that “2021” up there; for all intents and purposes, it’s a 2020 model. So, now that we’ve got that sorted let’s consider what matters most in these two SUVs. We’ll start by looking at the kind of performance you can get while driving them – this will include their engines, transmissions, and the overall driving experience. Then we’ll look at the interiors, starting with size and cargo capacity, before moving on to technology and comfort.

Finally, we’ll consider the safety features of each of these vehicles, including both standard and available features. And n the end, you’ll have a good sense of what each of them has to offer and know what to look for when shopping for your next small SUV.

Engines and Performance

Two different engines are available in the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer, while there is only one engine offered on the Mazda CX-30. First up, the Trailblazer has a 1.2L EcoTec Turbo engine that produces up to 137 hp and up to 162 lb-ft of torque. Then there’s an available 1.3L EcoTec Turbo engine that provides up to 155 hp and up to 174 lb-ft of torque. So you have two good options to pick from depending on just how much power you want. Both engines come with Continuous Variable Transmissions (CVT) and have front-wheel drive with all-wheel drive available.

The Mazda CX-30, on the other hand, has a 2.5L engine that produces up to 186 hp and up to 186 lb-ft of torque, and it’s paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Looking at these two SUVs, you can see that the engine in the CX-30 is more powerful than either one that you can get in the Trailblazer. It’s quite a bit more powerful than the 1.2L engine, and still somewhat more powerful than the 1.3L option.

Whether you prefer CVT or a 6-speed automatic is going to come down to your personal preferences, and you’ll need to consider what you like. So, with regards to the engines, the CX-30 does come out on top a bit, but not by a considerable margin, especially when compared to the available engine on the Trailblazer.

The large cargo area is shown in a 2021 Chevy Trailblazer.

Interior Size and Capacity

Interior capacity is important with any SUV, even a small SUV like the Trailblazer or the Mazda CX-30. So, let’s take a look inside and see how much room you might get in each of these for you, your passengers and your luggage. Whether you’re just thinking about bags from shopping and running errands or loading up for a weekend of camping, that interior cargo capacity is quite important.

With the Chevy Trailblazer, you get 40 inches of headroom up front and just over 38 inches of headroom in the second row. By comparison, the Mazda CX-30 has about 38 inches of headroom in both the front and second row. So you can see, the Trailblazer gives you and your front seat passenger a bit more headroom upfront.

In terms of legroom, which is more important in my book, Mazda says the CX-30 has up to 36 inches for the second row but does not indicate how much legroom you get upfront. Chevy, on the other hand, offers more than 39 inches of second-row legroom, and more than 40 inches of legroom in the front. Once again, more room for you and your passengers in the Trailblazer.

Perhaps most telling of all, however, is the total cargo capacity on these two models. Mazda is playing coy again and only indicates about 20 cu.ft. of cargo space behind the second row of seats, without a measurement for the area with the rear seats down. With the Chevy Trailblazer, however, you get more than 25 cu.ft. of cargo space behind the second row of seats, and more than 54 cu.ft. of total cargo space behind the front row. That’s substantially more room inside the Trailblazer compared to the CX-30, despite both SUVs being designed for five people.

A woman sits in the driver's seat of a red 2020 Mazda CX-30.

Interior Tech and Comfort

So we know the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer gives you a lot more room inside for your passengers and cargo than the 2020 Mazda CX-30, but what about the features? That’s a good question, so let’s take a look.

Looking at the highest trim, the Mazda CX-30 Premium Package includes dual-zone automatic climate control, steering wheel-mounted controls, and a push-button start. It also has an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar, heated front seats, leather-trimmed seating, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. You also get an 8-inch infotainment display with a 12-speaker Bose premium sound system, a 7-inch driver display, and a pair of USB audio inputs.

By comparison, the Chevy Trailblazer RS, its highest trim, has a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar, steering wheel-mounted controls, and push-button start. It also features leather-trimmed seating, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and keyless open. There’s an available 8-inch HD color Infotainment touchscreen, Bose premium sound system, and 4-inch digital driver display. You might’ve noticed the word “available” there – that’s because these last features are part of an optional package and not standard on the Trailblazer RS. In fairness, though, the RS starts about $2,000 less than the CX-30 Premium Package, so that seems pretty balanced.

Ultimately, both of these SUVs have great features inside – so I’d call this a tie.

The two-tone tan and black leather interior of a 2021 Chevy Trailblazer Activ is shown.

Safety Features

Let’s look at all of the available safety features on both of these vehicles. The Mazda CX-30 has multiple airbags, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, smart brake support, and a driver attention alert. It also has a lane departure warning, lane keep assist, cruise control with stop and go, and an adaptive front lighting system.

The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer, on the other hand, has ten airbags, automatic emergency braking, a forward collision alert, and front pedestrian braking all standard. You also get a following distance indicator, lane-keep assist with a lane departure warning, and a rear vision camera on every model. Additional features like a lane change alert with side blind zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear park assist are available but not standard.

These are both very safe vehicles, and the combination of available and standard features on either of them is undoubtedly excellent.

Final Considerations

So, all things being equal, which of these SUVs should you choose? That’s a tough question. The Chevy Trailblazer has a much larger interior, which is essential to me, but the Mazda CX-30 has a more powerful engine. However, the optional upgraded engine in the Trailblazer is almost equal to the CX-30. Plus, the Trailblazer starts at a lower price, and it can be customized to meet your needs, making it the best option. While it is a close race, the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer comes out on top of the 2020 Mazda CX-30.

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