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A grey 2023 Chevy Trailblazer is shown from the side parked on the street during a 2023 Chevy Trailblazer vs 2023 Honda HR-V comparison.

Small, Stylish, and Just Plain Smart: The 2023 Chevy Trailblazer vs Honda HR-V

The streets are populated with many subcompact SUVs. It’s easily one of the most popular segments in the market, and, to be fair, subcompact SUVs are a great balance point between lower, smaller sedans and bigger, brawnier three-row SUVs or trucks. It can be difficult to feel you’ve really researched the segment when new models are showing up each year. But fear not: the Chevy Trailblazer and Honda HR-V remain steadfast contestants in the subcompact SUV category.

How do you decide which subcompact SUV is right for you? Comparing the 2023 Chevy Trailblazer vs 2023 Honda HR-V shows they may be in the same market segment, but they’re hardly identical. They offer their own unique trims and features. The manufacturers have chosen different power sources and emphasized different areas of drivability. What comes standard on one isn’t necessarily standard on the other. This difference in philosophy and perspective is what makes one vehicle more suitable for some drivers over another.

Let’s start the process by examining these two vehicles in an apples-to-apples comparison to see which best suits your needs, wants, lifestyle, and driving style. Will the 2023 Chevy Trailblazer or the 2023 Honda HR-V capture your heart? Read on to find out!

Gauging Drivability in the Chevy Trailblazer and Honda HR-V

Neither the 2023 Trailblazer nor the 2023 HR-V is designed to make lightning-fast track times, but that shouldn’t be confused with a complete lack of performance. Though similarly equipped under the hood, the Trailblazer has a slightly more enjoyable balance of power, size, and economy.

Power-wise, the Trailblazer comes equipped with a 1.2L turbocharged inline-three or a 1.3L turbocharged inline-three, though the larger engine comes standard with any model equipped with all-wheel drive. The smaller engine provides 137 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque, while the larger version cranks things up to 155 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. These are not huge numbers, but they are exactly the right numbers to keep things fun and responsive in the Trailblazer.

The Honda HR-V offers only one engine, though it’s more than satisfactory. The 2.0L inline-four provides 158 hp and 138 lb-ft of torque. However, that small edge in horsepower is easily outweighed by the Trailblazer’s large advantage in torque and the flatter powerband from its turbocharged engine. Further, the Trailblazer offers a modern nine-speed automatic transmission, while the HR-V only comes with a CVT.

A red 2023 Honda HR-V EX-L is shown rounding a corner.

Size and Space, the Pros and Cons

Size is also key. Despite offering nearly identical cargo space at 55.1 cu.ft. against 54.4 cu.ft. in the Trailblazer, the HR-V is considerably larger, coming in at 179.8 inches in length and 72.4 inches in width. In comparison, the Trailblazer is 173.5 inches in length. It’s also narrower, coming in at 71.2 inches from mirror to mirror. That extra half foot of length can make quite a difference when parking in tight spaces.

Interestingly enough, although the HR-V is a larger vehicle, rear seat passengers are stuck with less legroom, leaving them with 37.7 inches of space to work with. The Chevy Trailblazer’s rear passengers enjoy a spacious 39.4 inches, which is remarkable for such a small vehicle. This makes the Trailblazer a much better choice for families or any other drivers who expect to use their rear seats often.

Sensible Things: Fuel Economy

Unfortunately, driving as a responsible adult is about more than going fast and having really cool gizmos and gadgets. Before we get to the trims and features, let’s take a moment to discuss the responsible adult things. Fuel economy is similar between the 2023 Trailblazer and 2023 HR-V, though surprisingly, the Trailblazer’s top engine is a little more efficient than the Honda.

The Chevy’s 1.2L engine does a good enough job at 29 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway. The 1.3L option is offered with a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. All-wheel drive models get 26 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway, while front-wheel drive models get 29 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway. That actually makes the 1.3L slightly more efficient than the smaller 1.2L engine.

The Honda is also offered in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The all-wheel drive 2023 HR-V gets only 25 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway. Meanwhile, front-wheel drive models gain a bit of efficiency at 26 MPG in the city and 32 MPG on the highway. Still, that means the HR-V is less efficient than the Trailblazer by every measurement.

Available Driver-Assist Technology

Driver-assist offerings are also relatively similar. The 2023 Trailblazer comes standard with the Chevy Safety Assist suite, including Forward Collision Alert with Automatic Emergency Braking and Front Pedestrian Braking, Following Distance Indicator, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, and IntelliBeam high beam assist. Drivers may also select one of the Driver Confidence packages to add Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Rear Park Assist to any trim level.

The 2023 HR-V has the Honda Sensing suite of driver-assist features. This includes a Collision Mitigation Braking System, a Road Departure Mitigation System, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, a Lane Keeping Assist System, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Traffic Jam Assist, and a Traffic Sign Recognition System. A Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Monitor is available on the Sport and EX-L trims but not the base trim. Low-Speed Braking Control and parking sensors are offered only on the top EX-L trim.

A red 2023 Chevy Trailblazer RS is shown from the front driving through a city.

Which Vehicle Has the Coolest Features?

“Cool” is a very subjective term, especially in a technologically-charged world. A feature that one person might never use could be absolutely critical to another driver. Still, the 2023 Chevy Trailblazer is offered in four trims to satisfy the needs of most car shoppers.

The Trailblazer starts things out with smart features like a flat-folding front passenger seat that allows you to transport objects up to 8.5 feet in length with the rear gate closed. The Honda HR-V used to have a Magic Seat that allowed additional cargo space behind the first row, but this feature was discontinued in 2023. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are also standard on the Trailblazer, while the HR-V doesn’t offer these features until the top EX-L trim.

Of special note, the Trailblazer Activ trim provides some real off-road talent. The Activ isn’t going to win the Baja 1000, but it does have skid plates, an off-road suspension, and sport terrain tires, so you can enjoy a little mud. The HR-V, meanwhile, offers no comparable trim––it is strictly for paved roads. The HR-V Sport adds a few potentially cool features, such as remote engine start and heated seats, while the EX-L offers an upgraded sound system, a larger infotainment touchscreen, and leather-trimmed seats.

Selecting a Small SUV

If your requirements are simple and you are looking for a safe, dependable automobile, either the 2023 Chevy Trailblazer or the 2023 Honda HR-V will meet your needs. However, if you’re a more discerning driver, the best thing to do is get behind the wheel of both models and try them out for your own peace of mind.

If “small and peppy” sounds like your style, the Trailblazer might meet your needs, as the HR-V seems to be sizing itself out of the subcompact SUV segment. Despite its small footprint, the Trailblazer is quite spacious on the inside, and its liveliness comes without gas-guzzler regret. Chevy drivers can also enjoy an impressive array of standard features. Then again, you might be the type of driver who prefers the standard features offered on the HR-V. Different strokes for different folks, as they say.

There are many factors to consider when purchasing a small SUV, and with so many options in this segment, it’s a good idea to test drive a few options before you make your final selection. Just take them one at a time so that you don’t get overwhelmed!