The compact/subcompact CUV phase – and of course, as we’ll before long see, these two and some others like it are a little tough to categorize – is a scorching 1 appropriate now. SUVs and crossovers were being already scorching, but as before long as producers found a way to get AWD devices compact more than enough that they could suit in the smaller blueprint of these motor vehicles, wee utility styles acquired even much more steam.

Canadians in distinct appreciate the peace of thoughts that will come with having all-wheel generate, so they were being prepared to get greater motor vehicles if which is what was necessary. Of program, they also wanted performance, so if that meant having a somewhat smaller engine to participate in with, so be it.

Cars like the Chevrolet Trailblazer and Kia Seltos – two of the segment’s hottest all-new entries –  reveal that you can have the best of the two worlds: the performance of a compact form and turbocharged powertrain, but the capabilities of an AWD system, with considerably less of an effects on inside area than 1 could believe.

See also: Comparison: 2020 Hyundai Kona vs 2021 Kia Seltos

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2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer

With the greater Blazer arriving for 2020, it seemed only natural that the Trailblazer could return as nicely. So when its arrival may not be solely astonishing, the fact that it’s truly the smaller of the two motor vehicles is a little much more so.

Immediately after all, recall that the Trailblazer applied to be possibly a greater or better-spec trim of the Blazer. Items are a little diverse this time about the Trailblazer is smaller and commences at a considerably lessen base MSRP ($23,798) than the Blazer ($37,198).

Large styling update
Recall, in addition, that the final Trailblazer – specially in 3-row EXT variety – wasn’t exactly a looker. The fundamental product seemed a little like the designers had taken a wax variation of the greater Tahoe, permit it soften in the sunshine – just a little – and thought “That’s it. Work completed.” The EXT, meanwhile, seemed as if it was developed with nary a nod to proportions at all it had a weirdly tall roofline and its extended wheelbase by some means manufactured it search like they’d sawed a Trailblazer in 50 percent, rapidly welded in some greater physique panels and delivered it off. It was like 1 of these awful hack-career limousine conversions you may have found on several “ugly cars and trucks are us”-type Fb teams.

This new Trailblazer suffers from none of that. It’s edgy-searching with creases and cuts in all the appropriate spots, has sharp corners and rides on suitable-searching wheels, specially in RS variety as found right here. I like the black with distinction colour pink roof, I like the refined roof spoiler and I really do not even thoughts the headlights, which are of the earlier-gen Jeep Cherokee college of structure whereby the DRLs truly sit earlier mentioned the headlights, on the hood’s primary edge. Frankly, the Trailblaer is a amazing-searching point and aside from the plasticky, inexpensive-searching roof rails, this is a stylistic residence operate, just what Chevy required.

See also: 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer Overview: Accepted!

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer, front

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer, entrance

The smaller, the much better?
Electricity-clever, there are two engine choices – nevertheless that does depend on whether or not you want FWD or AWD. The previous receives a 1.2L turbo 3 – depend ‘em, 3 – cylinder engine superior for 137 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. The latter versions come with a 1.3L turbo three superior for one hundred fifty five hp and 174 lb-ft of torque, and that was what our tester had beneath the hood.

This engine is responsive and punchy, responding nicely to throttle inputs and the 9-speed automatic transmission truly does nicely to retain rate with the engine and you really do not have the continual, frustrating gear shuffling you sometimes get when so numerous gears are paired with these kinds of a smaller engine. (FWD editions get a CVT automatic and when that may be the successful way to go, it isn’t heading to be the most involving, or the quietest). Either way, when the response from suggestion-in is fairly superior, that very small little engine ultimately does operate out of breath and freeway passing can be a little frantic as a consequence.

In 1.3L variety, nevertheless, this is a fast little men and women-mover and at the finish of the day, which is heading to communicate volumes.

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer,  interior

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer, inside

Inside digs
These kind of crossovers are aimed at a young purchasing team, and so the Trailblazer receives the requisite splashes of colour and trim to brighten up the inside a little, for instance pink bezels on the gauges, pink distinction stitching and even some fake pink-tinted brushed aluminum about the vents and at the base of the centre stack. It does screen a little much more flash than what is found within the Seltos.

The big takeaway for me, nevertheless, is that even nevertheless this is someplace in the compact/subcompact CUV phase, the inside is roomy more than enough the two entrance and back to accommodate 4 adults with little drama. You can thank the higher roof for that.

Of program, all the requisite inside tech is right here, like Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile, 7-speaker Bose audio with eight-inch touchscreen, WiFi hotspot, wi-fi charging and even leatherette seating.

2021 Kia Seltos

2021 Kia Seltos SX

South Korean automaker Kia has come with a extremely in a position competitor to the Trailblazer in the phase, although 1 that aims a little better up the maturity ladder than does the Chevy.

Like no other
In fact, you will not miscalculation this Kia and its “Tiger Nose” entrance finish for nearly anything else, and the headlight treatment is potentially even stranger than what is displayed by the Trailblazer. Contrary to the Chevy, the lights that align with the leading of the grille are the headlights and the products below that are the switch signals – they search distinctive to be certain but it need to be recognized that the IIHS identified them not rather ample more than enough for the Seltos to get paid its leading safety pick award.

Over-all, the entrance finish, rear fascia and stance of the product assist differentiate the Seltos from the Trailblazer it is the much more mature-searching motor vehicle.

See also: 2021 Kia Seltos Overview: When’s a subcompact not a subcompact?

2021 Kia Seltos, interior

2021 Kia Seltos, inside

A techy but not sparkly inside
At initially look the Seltos’ inside is a buttoned-down affair. There are no pink highlights as found in the Trailblazer and there is extremely little in the way of flash and sprint when it will come to accents, building for a monochromatic search. Nevertheless, a nearer search at the places that most draw occupants’ notice reveals that there is a entire heck of a large amount to like right here. The gauge cluster options a huge 7-inch TFT screen that even the newer, much more high-priced K5 GT-Line doesn’t get. It tends to make the equivalent in the Trailblazer search positively juvenile by comparison.

It receives complimented on the leading-spec SX variation we analyzed by a ten.25-inch main infotainment screen (an eight-inch screen is typical on lessen trims) that receives a extremely neat party trick in the way you can find from six diverse “sounds of nature” themes. And we’re not speaking “themes” that just transform the search of the UI and which is it these are right here to truly make you truly feel much better by pumping comforting audio through the superb eight-speaker Bose process. You can pick the comforting seem of crashing waves, a energetic forest and its buzzes and bird chirps and even the calming din of a coffee store, amongst some others (there are six in overall).

What’s the point of all this? Nicely, I questioned that as nicely until eventually I identified myself on a extensive generate, not really seeking to pay attention to possibly songs (the two Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile are supported) or the drone of chat radio. I was grateful for the 3rd choice, and the rainy-day concept scratched me appropriate exactly where I itched. Talk about a attribute you in no way thought you required!

If you want to liven matters up, the bezels about the speakers will “dance” with your songs, nevertheless I identified this attribute tacky when I initially professional it in the Seltos’ Soul sibling, and that hasn’t modified considerably right here. Fortunately, it can be deactivated.

2021 Kia Seltos, turbo engine

2021 Kia Seltos, turbo engine

Now which is what I phone turbocharging
While the Trailblazer receives two turbo’d vegetation, the Seltos receives the two a 1.6L turbo and a two.0L in a natural way-aspirated Atkinson Cycle 4-banger. The turbo motor tends to make much more ability than the Chevy’s 1.3L, when the Kia’s two. L splits the distinction involving the two.

The turbo 4 in the Kia, nevertheless, is a real humdinger of an engine which is superior for one hundred seventy five hp and 196 lb-ft of torque. If you thought the Trailblazer was fast on suggestion-in, the Seltos leaves it guiding right here and continues to do so as speeds enhance, all backed up by a fast-shifting 7 speed dual-clutch transmission. You will not truly feel rather the identical drop in ability at better speeds that you do in the Chevy, which the moment again points to the Kia potentially becoming the much more nicely-rounded motor vehicle. It does truly feel a little much more jittery in excess of smaller bumps than does the Trailblazer, nonetheless, which can direct to a few squirrely times.

Like the Trailblazer, the Seltos feels way roomier than its exterior seems suggest in fact, the two of these motor vehicles have just about the exact identical area the two entrance and rear, so which is not what is heading to get in excess of prospective consumers for possibly motor vehicle. The Seltos’ rear window is a little smaller than that of the Trailblazer, nonetheless, so the watch out back is a little much better in the Chevrolet.

2021 Kia Seltos / 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer, front

2021 Kia Seltos / 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer, entrance

Benefit Chevrolet Blazer

The Trailblazer’s styling really is a sight to behold. It’s intense without having becoming overly so or also inexpensive-searching. And it reveals what Chevrolet can do on the structure entrance when their designers are specified some much more rope.

Benefit Kia Seltos

That infotainment process is rather clever, but the real winner for the Seltos is its engine, which offers fantastic ability shipping and delivery, brilliant response at just about any speed and ability more than enough to deliver a real emotion of athleticism.


The big takeaway from the two of these is just how considerably area there is within the two for occupants and their cargo. It’s really hard to think that crossovers like this can deliver all that AWD gear and however have headroom more than enough for most adults, and not search like they’re towering awkwardly earlier mentioned all the things else.


At the finish of the day, the two of these are fantastic choices in the phase. Equally have fantastic inside area, powertrains that are punchy more than enough for the ordinary driver and of program, extremely capable AWD devices. At a push, the Seltos’ ability – specially in turbo variety – and infotainment process give it a slight edge, although you do conserve in excess of $two,000 when it will come to the base MSRP of the Seltos SX and the Trailblazer RS, so the latter wins some points back there. Our recommendation? Test them the two.

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer / 2021 Kia Seltos, profile

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer / 2021 Kia Seltos, profile

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer RS

We like

Value of entry

We like considerably less

Runs out of puff at better speeds
Infotainment a little bland-searching

2021 Kia Seltos SX

We like

Highly effective turbo motor
Slick infotainment
Generous cargo capacity

We like considerably less

Appears to be like not for every person
Will get pricey

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer / 2021 Kia Seltos, three-quarters rear

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer / 2021 Kia Seltos, 3-quarters rear


  2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer RS 2021 Kia Seltos SX
  Transmission 9-speed car 7-speed car
  Drivetrain AWD AWD
  Gas consumtion (town) eight.9L/100 km 9.4L/100 km
  Gas consumtion (hwy) 7.8L/100 km 7.9L/100 km
  Sort 1.3L, turbo 1.6L
  Output one hundred fifty five hp one hundred seventy five hp
  Torque 174 lb-ft 186 lb-ft
  Cylinders three four
  Cargo room 716 l / 1540 l 752 l / 1778 l
  Gas Tank fifty l fifty l
  Size 4407 mm 4370 mm
  Width 1808 mm 1800 mm
  Peak 1669 mm 1630 mm
  Wheelbase 2639 mm 2630 mm
  Guarantee five yr/100,000 km five yr/100,000 km
  Pricing as analyzed $36,978 $32,845


2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer / 2021 Kia Seltos, rear

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer / 2021 Kia Seltos, rear