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Comparison: 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer vs. 2021 Kia Seltos

Which of these all-new small SUVs makes the best first impression?

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2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer 

Starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $23,798 CDN

Pros

•    Includes lots of safety features as standard equipment
•    Choice of two engines and two transmissions
•    Adult-size rear seat


Cons

•    Interior materials feel cut-rate
•    Weak engines don’t deliver stellar fuel economy
•    Limited rear cargo space

 

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer Highlights 

Joining the smaller Trax and larger Equinox in Chevrolet's small SUV lineup, the all-new 2021 Trailblazer sub-compact SUV is notably more modern than the original, truck-based 2002 to 2009 Chevy TrailBlazer (with a capital "B") mid-size SUV. A pair of turbocharged 3-cylinder engines are available. Front-wheel-drive (FWD) trims use a 137-horsepower 1.2-litre unit backed by a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with prices starting at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of $23,798 CDN for the base LS trim. All-wheel-drive (AWD) Trailblazers receive a 155-horsepower 1.3-litre engine with a 9-speed automatic transmission with prices starting at $27,998 CDN.

Inside, the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer's materials feel on the bargain side, even on the topline $30,908 CDN RS trim. Room for five passengers is relatively generous, with more rear legroom than found in the Kia rival. However, at 716 litres, total cargo space with the second row seating folded down is less than the Seltos’ 752-litre rating.

The 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer’s ride quality will suit most buyers just fine in the comfort arena, but you can expect the requisite amount of body roll found in an SUV of this pedigree. Add steering that’s effective, if a bit light and overly electronic feeling, and you’ve got a driving experience that more than adequately does what it’s supposed to do, meaning: get you places. Drive modes include Normal, Sport, and Snow. AWD Trailblazers provide extra rear-wheel torque for more traction in inclement weather. Standard safety features across all trim levels in the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer include forward-collision alerts, automatic braking, front pedestrian braking, lane-keeping assist with lane-departure warnings, a teen-driver system as well as a rear-seat reminder.

 

2021 Kia Seltos

Starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $23,095 CDN

Pros

•    Powerful and fuel-efficient powertrains
•    Class-leading cargo room
•    Generous factory warranty

 

Cons

•    Base engine lacks torque
•    Sporty SX Turbo has an appetite for fuel
•    High-end versions can cost as much as larger SUVs

 

2021 Kia Seltos Highlights

Also all-new this year, the 5-passenger 2021 Kia Seltos joins the existing Soul in the brand’s sub-compact SUV stable. Base FWD LX trims start at $23,995 CDN, with AWD a $2,000 CDN extra. The base powertrain is a 146-horsepower 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine with a CVT. The $32,695 CDN SX Turbo trim gets a turbocharged 1.6-litre 4-cylinder that makes a healthy 175 horsepower mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission.

If you haven’t looked inside a Kia lately, you’ll like what you find—and it may just remind you of an Audi. Most Seltos trim levels sport a crisp 8-inch touchscreen in the center of the dash, surrounded by easy-to-see and easy-to-use knobs for audio and climate controls. The topline SX trim boasts an even bigger 10.25-inch display, plus a 7-inch digital instrument cluster. In addition to a generous amount of cargo space, the rear cargo floor can be set at one of two levels. In its standard position, it is flush and makes loading longer items easy with the seat folded. Or, the floor can be lowered to create more space and keep items from rolling around.

Regardless of engine choice, the 2021 Kia Seltos has a compliant and confident ride. While its size makes it a star in the city, we wouldn’t hesitate to take it on a longer trip. AWD versions benefit from a torque-vectoring system that splits torque between the front and rear wheels and a center differential lock for adverse Canadian driving conditions. That, combined with its respectable ground clearance, give the Seltos the means for light off-roading and a rugged character.

 

Final Recommendation

The 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer and 2021 Kia Seltos represent the future of small cars. Compared to a traditional small hatchback, these AWD sub-compact SUV's offer a taller ride height and cabin, hatchback practicality, and light off-road driving capabilities. This is why they have become very appealing for many consumers who don't need the extra space or cost of larger SUVs.

Except for offering baser engine torque and rear-seat legroom, the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer has few advantages over its Kia rival. The Seltos' base engine provides more power and better fuel economy. Its interior is of higher quality, and there's more rear cargo room (essential in this size of vehicle). 

Add in Kia's longer, 5-year/100,000 km factory warranty versus Chevy's 3-year/80,000 km term, and it's hard not to recommend the Kia sub-compact SUV over its Chevrolet rival.

 

Specs

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer

 

2021 Kia Seltos

 

 

Engines

FWD 1.2-litre Turbocharged I3

AWD 1.3-litre Turbocharged I3

2.0-litre I4

1.6-litre Turbocharged I4

Horsepower

FWD 1.2L - 137 hp @ 5,000 rpm

AWD 1.3L -155 hp @ 5,600 rpm

2.0L -146 hp @ 6,200 rpm

1.6L -175 hp @ 6,000 rpm

 

Torque

FWD 1.2L - 162 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm

AWD 1.3L - 174 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm

2.0L -132 hp @ 4,500 rpm

1.6L -195 hp @ 1,500-4,500 rpm

Transmissions

FWD 1.2L – Continuously variable automatic

AWD 1.3L – 9-speed automatic

2.0L - Continuously variable automatic

1.6L -7-speed automatic

Fuel Economy (L/100 km)

FWD 1.2L  8.4 city, 7.8 hwy

AWD 1.3L  8.9 city, 7.8 hwy

FWD 2.0L – 8.2 city, 7.1 hwy

AWD 2.0L – 8.8 city, 7.6 hwy

AWD 1.6L – 9.4 city, 7.9 hwy)

Warranty

3 years/60,000 km

5 years/100,000 km

Max Seating Capacity

5

5

Curb Weight

N/A

1,312-1,444 kgs

Wheelbase

2,639 mm

2,630 mm

Overall Length

4,407 mm

4,370 mm

Width

1,808 mm

1,800 mm

Height

1,669 mm

1,625-1,630 mm

Headroom, Front

1,016 mm

1,017 mm

Headroom, Rear

975 mm

975 mm

Legroom, Front

1,039 mm

1,051 mm

Legroom, Rear

1,001 mm

965 mm

Shoulder Room, Front

1,407 mm

1,409 mm

Shoulder Room, Rear

1,376 mm

1,395 mm

Cargo Volume, Behind 2nd-row seats

716 L

752 L

 

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