The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer engine offerings are very much straightforward: buyers have the choice of two turbocharged three-cylinder Ecotec gasoline engines: the base measures in at 1.2 liters while the optional up-level unit is very slightly larger at 1.3 liters, while also being disproportionately more powerful. But which has proved to be more popular so far?
“More customers are asking for the 1.3L than we anticipated,” said senior marketing manager, Chevrolet SUVs, Brad Franz, told GM Authority executive editor, Alex Luft, in an interview.
Franz went on to say that originally GM expected a 60-40 split in favor of the larger unit. And while the 1.3L has been the preferred 2021 Chevy Trailblazer engine choice, but the split is now roughly 70-30.
In more detail, the available engines are the 1.2L I3 LIH rated at 137 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque or the 1.3L I3 L3T rated at 155 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. Front-drive models get the continuously variable transmission (CVT), while vehicles with the optional AWD system get the nine-speed automatic.
A potential explanation for the bias towards the 1.3L could be explained by taking a closer look at the Trailblazer’s trim level lineup. Of the five trim levels in the range, only the second and third (LS and LT) are available with both engines. Meanwhile, the 1.2L is generally offered only on cheaper models, and never with AWD.
Crucially, the sporty RS, which shares the top of the range with the more off-road biased ACTIV, exclusively uses the 1.3. And, as GM Authority reported a few days ago, the RS is proving to be popular beyond all expectations, with orders currently running at more than double Chevrolet’s forecast. On its own, this might not be enough to account fully for a 70 percent take-rate for the 1.3L as opposed to the projected 60 percent, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
2021 Chevy Trailblazer engine choices aside, the brand’s new model has deliberately been designed to resemble the larger Chevy Blazer. In fact, the Blazer will inspire the design of Chevy crossovers going forward. Despite their similar appearance, the Blazer and Trailblazer are mechanically very different, with the Trailblazer being considerably smaller as it slots between the subcompact Trax and compact Equinox in Chevrolet’s crossover utility lineup.
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