2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer vs. 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Comparison

Erin Riches-Wong | May 18, 2021

Small SUVs won't swallow every treasure you find on local buy-sell-trade groups, but for many consumers, they offer just enough convenience. They sit higher off the ground than regular cars, so the view from the driver seat is usually excellent. You can get in and out without bending much at all. And they are easier to load with pet food or toilet paper than any compact sedan.

The Subaru Crosstrek is a perennial best-seller in this class. It offers an appealing combination of all-weather capability, safety features, style, and value. The Chevrolet Trailblazer is a newcomer to the small SUV segment for 2021. For the most part, it matches the Subaru's space and amenities and it's especially worth a look if infotainment and smartphone integration rank high for you.

If you're trying to decide between these SUVs, this 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer vs. 2021 Subaru Crosstrek comparison should help.

Price and Value

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer Red Front Quarter View

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Consumers shopping for a 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer will find that it ranges in price from $19,000 to $25,500, not including a $1,195 destination charge. Chevy's small SUV comes in five trim levels: L, LS, LT, Activ, and RS. 

Front-wheel drive is standard on all versions. You can get all-wheel drive as an option on most trim levels. Pricing varies from $1,500 to $2,000, because on some trims you'll need upgrade the engine in order to buy AWD.

Every 2021 Trailblazer comes with a full menu of connected services that you can access by activating a 3-month trial subscription. Services include:

  • Automatic collision notification
  • Live emergency assistance
  • Rapid access to roadside services
  • Remote locking and engine start
  • Stolen vehicle assistance
  • Amazon Key package deliveries

Like other Chevrolets, the Trailblazer includes a Teen Driver mode that allows you to set limits for less experienced drivers (known as geofencing). This mode will then generate a report card every time your teenager gets behind the wheel. These features are also part of the 3-month trial.

Chevy's small SUV also has a Wi-Fi hotspot. The Wi-Fi trial subscription lasts one month and lets you use 3 gigabytes of data.

Finally, Chevrolet will provide 5 years of vehicle health notifications, even if you decide not to subscribe to the other connected services.

Your first maintenance visit is on the house provided it occurs within one year of purchasing a 2021 Chevy Trailblazer. 

Shoppers researching the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek will find that it ranges in price from $22,245 to $27,995, not including a $1,050 destination charge. Subaru's small SUV comes in four trim levels: base, Premium, Sport, and Limited. All-wheel drive is standard across the board.

In some states, you can also buy the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid. It's a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of the regular Crosstrek. Unlike some other hybrid SUVs, it has a conventional AWD system with a driveshaft and differential (rather than a rear-drive electric motor). The Crosstrek Hybrid costs considerably more at $35,345, but you can factor in a $4,500 federal tax credit.

Save for the base trim, all Subaru Crosstreks come with Starlink connected services. Automatic collision notification, live emergency assistance, and rapid access to roadside services are free for the first three years that you own a Crosstrek.

Conveniences like remote locking and engine start, geofencing limits, a vehicle finder for unfamiliar parking facilities, and stolen vehicle assistance are complimentary for the first six months.

Most Crosstreks have a Wi-Fi hotspot. Your initial trial lasts one month during which time you can use one gig of data.

Depending on where you live, your Subaru dealership may offer complimentary scheduled maintenance for the first two years or 24,000 miles that you own a Crosstrek. You'll want to check with your dealer to confirm participation.

The Subaru Crosstrek ranked second among small SUVs in the J.D. Power 2020 Resale Value Awards.

Advantage: Subaru Crosstrek

Reliability and Quality

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Blue Front View Driving in Snow

2021 Subaru Crosstrek

Since it's an all-new model for 2021, the Chevrolet Trailblazer wasn't assessed in either the J.D. Power 2021 Vehicle Dependability Study or the 2020 Initial Quality Study. The 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer comes with the following warranty and roadside assistance coverage:

  • Standard warranty 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Roadside assistance: 5 years or 60,000 miles

The Subaru Crosstrek did not rank among the top three models in its class in either the J.D. Power 2021 Vehicle Dependability Study or the 2020 Initial Quality Study. The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek comes with the following warranty and roadside assistance coverage:

  • Standard warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Hybrid system warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles
  • Hybrid battery warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles (10 years or 150,000 miles in California emissions states)
  • Roadside assistance: 3 years or 36,000 miles

As a brand, Chevrolet outperformed Subaru in both initial quality and dependability.

Advantage: Chevrolet Trailblazer

Performance and Efficiency

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer Interior Dashboard

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer

The 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer comes with two different 3-cylinder engines. Both are turbocharged, which helps them keep up with the 4-cylinder engines found in most other small SUVs, including the Subaru Crosstrek.

Standard on the L, LS, and LT is a 1.2-liter, turbocharged 3-cylinder engine rated at 137 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard, as is front-wheel drive.

Next up is a more potent 1.3-liter, turbocharged 3-cylinder that generates 155 hp and 174 pound-feet of torque. It's standard on the Trailblazer Activ and RS trim levels. A CVT drives the SUV's front wheels.

You can get AWD on any trim, except the L. On the LS and LT, you'll need to upgrade to the 1.3-liter engine, so the AWD option is more expensive than on the Activ and RS. All-wheel-drive Trailblazers use a 9-speed automatic transmission instead of the CVT.

Equipped with the 1.2-liter engine, the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer has a combined city/highway fuel economy rating of 29 mpg. With the 1.3-liter engine, the Trailblazer rates 31 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 28 mpg with AWD.

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek comes with two different four-cylinder engines, as well as a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Standard on the base and Premium trim levels is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 152 hp and 145 pound-feet of torque. You can choose a 6-speed manual transmission or CVT to go with it.

The Sport and Limited trim levels upgrade to a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. It makes 182 hp and 176 pound-feet of torque. The CVT is standard.

Your third option is the PHEV model. The hybrid Crosstrek uses a version of the 2.0-liter engine that generates 137 hp and 134 pound-feet of torque. It combines that with two electric motors, an 8.8-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, and a CVT. Total system power on the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid is 148 hp.

All-wheel drive is standard on every Crosstrek. All CVT-equipped models (including the hybrid) have X-Mode, which provides both hill descent control and a Snow/Dirt terrain mode. The Sport has an additional Deep Snow/Mud mode.

Crosstreks with the 2.0-liter engine earn a 30 mpg combined fuel economy rating with the CVT and 25 mpg with the 6-speed manual. With the 2.5-liter engine, Subaru's small SUV rates 29 mpg in combined driving.

The 2021 Crosstrek Hybrid rates 35 mpg in combined city and highway driving. In addition, this PHEV can cover about 17 miles in pure electric mode. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says the hybrid Crosstrek consumes 38 kilowatt-hours of electricity per 100 miles driven (kWh/100) and rates 90 MPGe.

Advantage: Subaru Crosstrek

Safety and Driving Assistance

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Interior Dashboard Limited

2021 Subaru Crosstrek

All versions of the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer have Chevy Safety Assist, a collection of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) as standard equipment. Features include:

  • Forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Lane-keeping assistance
  • Automatic high-beam headlights

Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert is optional on all trim levels, except the base L. Adaptive cruise control is available starting on the LT trim. A rear-seat reminder system is standard on all Chevrolet Trailblazers. 

The 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer earned a 5-star rating for overall crash safety from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not published safety ratings for the 2021 Trailblazer.

All CVT-equipped 2021 Subaru Crosstrek models, including the plug-in hybrid, have Subaru's EyeSight collection of ADAS as standard equipment. Subaru Crosstreks with the manual transmission do not have EyeSight.

The Crosstrek's standard EyeSight package matches the Trailblazer's Chevy Safety Assist feature for feature, except for automatic high-beam control. That feature is reserved for the Crosstrek Limited and plug-in hybrid.

Unlike Chevy Safety Assist, Subaru's EyeSight includes both adaptive cruise control and lane-centering assistance. With both features activated, the Crosstrek provides Level 2 semi-autonomous driving assistance. You must keep your hands on the steering wheel.

You can get blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert as an option on the Premium and Sport trim levels, and it's standard on the Limited and Crosstrek Hybrid. Rear automatic emergency braking is exclusive to the Limited and Hybrid. All CVT-equipped Crosstreks have a rear-seat reminder system. 

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek has a 5-star NHTSA rating for overall crash protection, though it received just 4 stars for front-passenger safety. The IIHS named the regular Crosstrek a Top Safety Pick. The hybrid model earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating (the Institute's highest designation for safety) due to its additional standard safety equipment.

Subaru ranked second among mass-market automotive brands in the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Tech Experience Study. Chevrolet ranked sixth.

Advantage: Subaru Crosstrek

Infotainment and Technology

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer Aqua Blue Rear Quarter View

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer

The standard infotainment interface on the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer includes a 7-inch touchscreen display with wireless Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay smartphone integration. In the base L, you get two USB ports and four audio speakers. All other trims have six speakers.

You can upgrade to a premium infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen display starting on the LT trim level. You'll also get an additional USB port (rear seat) and a 3-month trial subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio. 

On the Activ and RS trims, you can get a premium Bose audio system, wireless smartphone charging, HD radio, and a 3-month trial for SiriusXM 360L, which provides more content than a basic SiriusXM subscription. This package option also includes voice recognition technology and access to cloud-based apps if connected services are enabled on your vehicle. Factory navigation is not available on the Trailblazer.

The standard infotainment interface on base, Premium, and Sport versions of the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek includes a 6.5-inch touchscreen display. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration is standard, but it's not wireless.

On the base Crosstrek, you get one USB port and four audio speakers. The Premium trim has two USB ports, six speakers, and in a nod to the 1990s, a CD player. You'll also get HD radio and a 4-month SiriusXM radio and Travel Link subscription.

You can upgrade to a premium infotainment interface with an 8-inch touchscreen display on the Crosstrek Sport. This interface is standard on the Limited and Crosstrek Hybrid and uses near field communication (NFC) to simplify phone pairing. You'll also get two more USB ports (both in the backseat). 

Factory navigation is optional on the Limited and Hybrid, and it includes three years of free over-the-air updates. A premium Harman Kardon audio system is also optional on these trims.

Advantage: Neither. The Trailblazer is the easy choice if you value wireless smartphone integration, while the Crosstrek's available factory navigation system will be appealing if you drive in areas with spotty cellular coverage.

Comfort and Utility

2021 Subaru Crosstrek White Rear Quarter View

2021 Subaru Crosstrek

In base L trim, the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer includes manual air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel.

A 10-way power driver seat, heated front seats and keyless access (the remote can stay in your pocket or purse) are standard on the LT. Single-zone automatic climate control and leatherette upholstery are optional. Chevy's small SUV does not have rear air-conditioning vents.

The Chevy's cargo bay measures 25.3 cubic feet. Folding down the standard 60/40-split rear seat yields a maximum volume of 54.4 cubic feet. A power liftgate is optional.

In base trim, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is equipped much like the Trailblazer L, but it has standard single-zone automatic climate control. 

The Premium trim has heated front seats, and keyless access is optional. You can get a power driver seat on most trim levels. The Crosstrek doesn't have rear A/C vents.

The Sport trim features water-repellent upholstery, while the Limited and Crosstrek Hybrid have leather upholstery. A heated steering wheel is optional only on the hybrid.

You'll find 20.9 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats of the regular Subaru Crosstrek. With the standard 60/40-split rear seat folded, maximum cargo capacity is 55.3 cubic feet.

Meanwhile, the Crosstrek Hybrid has just 15.9 cubic feet of luggage space, and intrusion from the battery pack results in a high load floor. Folding the rear seats yields 43.1 cubic feet.

Advantage: Neither. Amenities and space are similar. Only the Chevy offers a power liftgate, while only the Subaru offers real leather upholstery.

Learn More About the Chevrolet Trailblazer and Subaru Crosstrek

If you’d like to learn more about these compact SUVs, be sure to read our expert reviews of the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer and 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, including the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid. To find out how people like you rate vehicles in this segment, be sure to check out our ratings from verified vehicle owners.

Also, please keep in mind that while the information in this article was accurate and valid on May 18, 2021, it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker’s website or your local dealership.

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