Chevrolet Subcompact Comparison: Trax vs Trailblazer

May 01, 2024 - 5 minute read

2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer Lineup

Chevrolet has nine current crossover/SUV models, with another soon to come. With that many crossovers, there is bound to be overlap, yet on the smaller end of the spectrum, two vehicles seem to be positioned right on top of each other. Chevrolet proudly produces the Trailblazer sub-compact and an even smaller Trax model. For 2024, the Trax was thoroughly redesigned and emerged just slightly larger than the Trailblazer.  It could be confusing until you look closer, and that is what Krusen Motors is going to do with this post.

Common Ground

Let’s start with the similarities, of which there are many.  Both the Trax and Trailblazer have long roof bodies, with cargo hatched in the rear, but they have a very small footprint. Each will seat four in reasonable comfort and accommodate a fifth person in a pinch. Passenger and cargo space are very similar, though not identical, and both are powered by small-displacement turbocharged 3-cylinder engines and get similar fuel mileage. In fact, some Trailblazers share the same engine with the Trax model line but use entirely different transmissions.  

The Chevrolet crossover family face appears with variations on both models. Each features a horizontally divided front grille, with the upper portion just tall enough to match the low-profile daytime running lights flanking either side. Below the division is a deep lower grille with almost hidden LED headlights in the corners. 

The Most Obvious Differences

For all their similarities, the Trax and Trailblazer could be seen as two different kinds of vehicles. Longer, lower, and only available with front-wheel drive (FWD), the Trax can be seen as more of a subcompact wagon, which is a vehicle type that makes good sense for plenty of people. The Trailblazer is much more of a crossover with standard FWD but with AWD as an option on all trim levels. The Trailblazer is also a half-step higher in the hierarchy with a higher base price and several standard features that are trim-level upgrades for the Trax.

The Size of Them

After its redesign, the Trax has a two-inch longer wheelbase, four more inches of overall length, and an inch more width. Inside, the Trax has 99.8 cubic feet of passenger volume compared to 98.2 for the Trailblazer. That slight difference means that there are very few significant differences when it comes to specific interior measurements. Without a sunroof, the Trailblazer has slightly more headroom, add the sunroof, and it has somewhat less. The Trailblazer shows one more inch of rear legroom, but most of the other passenger specs are fractions of an inch apart.  

The cargo space measurements with the rear seatbacks up and down are also too close to account for any real difference. The more SUV-like Trailblazer has slightly more ground clearance with 7.5 inches versus 7.3 inches for the Trax.

Drivetrain Similarities and Differences

All Trax models and lower-level FWD Trailblazers are powered by the same 1.2-liter turbocharged inline-3, which produces 137 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. And yet, each pairs the engine with a different transmission. The Trax uses a 6-speed automatic, while the Trailblazer uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT). According to the EPA, they both get the same 30 combined mpg but achieve it with yin-yang differences in the city and highway numbers. The Trax city/highway EPA mpg estimates are 28/32, while the Trailblazer LS and LT FWD models with this same engine are rated at 29/31.

A 1.3-liter turbocharged inline-3 engine is standard on all AWD Trailblazers and the FWD Trailblazer ACTIV and RS trims. Power bumps to 155 hp @ 5600 rpm and 174 lb-ft torque @ 1,600 rpm. This engine is paired with a 9-speed transmission on all models. The fuel economy for the FWD models with this engine is actually better than that of the smaller engine: 29 city / 33 highway / 31 combined. It is a little lower with AWD, at  26 / 29 / 27.

Design Distinctions

From the side, the Trax shows off its longer, lower proportions with a long side window treatment that includes rear quarter windows and window stretch to a relatively thin body color D-pillar. The taller Trailblazer’s side windows stop at the rear door, followed by a thick C-pillar, giving it more of a hatchback shape. Two-tone exteriors with a white roof are available on the Trailblazer, while Trax stays with single exterior colors. 

While the Trailblazer Trax dashboards have similar layouts around the center display and HVAC controls, different shapes and surface contours around the rest of the cabin distinguish the two. The Trax LS and 1RS trim levels have an 8-inch center touchscreen and analog gauges flanking a digital information display for the driver. The LT, 2RS, and ACTIV trim levels feature an 11-inch center touchscreen and an all-digital information center. The 11-inch screen and digital driver display are standard on all Trailblazers.  Both models feature standard wireless smartphone compatibility and available wireless charging, but only the Trailblazer is available with a Bose audio system.

Price Ranges

The Trax starting MSRP is $20,400. The Trailblazer starts at $23,100.  

For about the price of the base FWD Trailblazer, you can bump up two levels on the Trax to the LT, which gains you the large center touchscreen, digital driver’s display, and automatic climate control. The Trax LT also features upgraded audio and seat cloth. Every Trailblazer trim has standard FWD with AWD as a $2,000 option. 

Each model provides its own version of economical but versatile transportation, and only you can say which style works best for you. Both deserve your consideration, and you can check out both models side-by-side at Krusen Motors.

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