11 Best & Worst Chevrolet Trailblazer Years (With Facts & Stats)

The Chevy Trailblazer started life as a midsize SUV for the 2002 – 2009 model years.

It was then reborn after a 12 hiatus as a much smaller subcompact SUV for the 2021 model year.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at its best and worst years…

2023 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Chevrolet Trailblazer Are:

The best Chevrolet Trailblazer model years are 2023, 2022, 2021, 2009, and 2008. The worst model years of the Trailblazer are 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, and 2002. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Chevrolet Trailblazer?

Listed below are the Trailblazers that deserve to be viewed as the best of the best.

2023 Chevrolet Trailblazer

The latest Trailblazers are our top picks, as they offer the latest in tech and safety features, sporty looks and a surprising amount of room for an extra-small SUV.

For those that need some light off-road capabilities, then we’d recommend the Activ trim which comes with all-season tires, upgraded shock absorbers, and better ground clearance.

For 2023 there were no major changes, although new body colors were added, namely:

Nitro Yellow Metallic, Fountain Blue, Sterling Gray Metallic, and an optional roof color add-on known as Iridescent Pearl Tricoat.

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 85 / 100

2023 Trailblazer, Edmunds review:

“This was a great choice. Has everything I wanted and more. I always brought Ford, and I’m definitely a Chevy man now.”

2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer

The 2022 Trailblazer is a stylish and affordable subcompact crossover SUV with ample interior passenger space.

Although no big changes came with the 2022 model, there are still a few added features worth mentioning.

A heated steering wheel is an optional add-on for the LT trim (and is fitted as standard on the ACTIV and RS trims).

Certain dealerships also offer roof rack cross rails, as well as a trailering package that includes a harness, bezel, and trailer hitch. 

As for metallic paint colors, customers could choose from the existing colors and four more:

Mahogany Red, Blue Glow, Vivid Orange, and Crimson.

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 85 / 100

2022 Trailblazer, Edmunds review:

“I’m honestly quite surprised at how much I enjoy this vehicle. We needed an in-between car, something easy to drive, all wheel drive, and relatively good on fuel. I did not try any of the Hyundai or Kia alternatives as I’ve had terrible experiences with their products already, but I did try the Toyota CHR and Honda HRV. I liked both but settled with the Chevy as I much preferred it’s exterior styling over the others. My first Chevy and after 9 months still very happy. The little 3cyl is plenty powerful (seriously, it’s very adequate) and so far I’m enjoying around 33 mpg average. No mechanical or quality issues.”

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer

The 2021 Trailblazer is the first iteration of the second generation, unlike its predecessors which were truck-based midsize SUVs, it is a smaller crossover SUV with car-based underpinnings.

A lot of changes were made, including technology updates, engine upgrades, the addition of safety features, and interior and exterior styling changes, among other revisions. 

The biggest draws of the new model are its fuel-efficient powertrains, snazzy styling and spacious cabin.

  • Edmunds: 3.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 83 / 100

2021 Trailblazer, Edmunds review:

“The trailblazer is an appealing and aggressive-looking sub-compact crossover. Did not test drive the smaller engine but I’m glad we went with the bigger 1.3L anyways, as funny as that sounds. The 9-speed automatic is nice, shifts very smoothly, but you can feel it downshift when going downhill and it feels quite weird. It’s very fun to drive, I’d say it’s quick or peppy, makes me wanna go out and drive it for the hell of it. The interior quality is decent, some hard plastics here and there but that’s GM for you. I would recommend getting a bumper to bumper warranty, these small engines and turbo chargers cause more wear and tear on the engines, because the basic power train warranty doesn’t cover it, and could be an expensive fix down the road. Overall, we are loving our trailblazer, it economical, fun, and is good for smaller families or people like my mother who’s kids are moving out and she still likes cruising in the crossovers because We live in Minnesota with harsh winters so you need something with AWD and they just sit higher than a car and get better fuel economy.”

2009 Chevrolet Trailblazer

If you need a bigger vehicle and you’re not looking for car-like handling then the 2009 Trailblazer is a safe bet.

The 2009 Trailblazer was the final iteration of the first generation, and it was considerably more reliable than many of the earlier models.

For this model year, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity was newly available and the 5.3-liter V8 option was removed from the lineup.

  • Edmunds: 4.0 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.3 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2009 Trailblazer, Edmunds review:

“I like the performance and quality. It is a medium SUV with a lot of room inside and fits in my garage perfect. The ride is very smooth for an SUV”

2009 Chevrolet Trailblazer

2008 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Boasting a powerful engine lineup and solid off-road performance and towing capacity, the 2008 Trailblazer is a compelling option.

It isn’t as reliable as the 2009 model however, it was significantly less problematic than many of the 2002 – 2007 models.

The 2008 Trailblazer added a satellite radio system and side curtain airbags as standard.

  • Edmunds: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.3 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 83 / 100

2008 Trailblazer, Edmunds review:

“We bought it new, I now have 160,000 miles on it and are heading for Arizona tomorrow. No problems whatsoever. New bat., new tires, new alt., that’s it. I have a 18′ camper and traveled around the USA. handled great, could use a little more power, but did nicely in the mountains. I have a 4500 lb. boat and we go to Lake Superior, approximately 350 miles, and it handled the job nicely.”

Consumer Scores For Best Chevrolet Trailblazer Years

Below is a table that presents all the consumer ratings of the best Trailblazer model years from reputable vehicle websites:

Model YearEdmunds 
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD Power
Consumer Rating
2023 Chevrolet Trailblazer4.3 / 5.04.6 / 5.085 / 100
2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer4.2 / 5.04.6 / 5.085 / 100
2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer3.7 / 5.04.6 / 5.083 / 100
2009 Chevrolet Trailblazer4.0 / 5.04.3 / 5.081 / 100
2008 Chevrolet Trailblazer4.5 / 5.04.3 / 5.083 / 100

Related: How Long Do Chevrolet Trailblazers Last? (Solved and Explained)

What Are The Worst Years For The Chevrolet Trailblazer?

Listed below are the Trailblazer models you may want to steer clear of.

2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer

The 2007 Trailblazer was awarded the notorious “Beware of the Clunker” badge by CarComplaints.com.

The most commonly reported problem was a faulty fuel gauge that would sometimes read empty and other times read full, causing drivers to run out of gas.

It also had many electrical issues according to hundreds of reports.

Numerous owners stated that their headlights were faulty – sometimes, they refused to turn off and other times, even when the vehicle has been off for a while, the headlights stayed on. 

Other owners reported issues with the passlock system, the speedometer and there were a number of fires reported too.

The 2007 Trailblazer had a total of 184 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 953 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Fuel gauge not working
  • Power doors and windows malfunctioning
  • Engine failure due to oil loss

2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer

The 2006 Trailblazer was awarded with the notorious “Beware of the Clunker” badge by CarComplaints.com.

This model had a lot of problems, the most widespread was fuel gauge malfunction.

According to numerous reports, the fuel gauge reported inaccurate readings, leading to drivers running out of gas on the road. 

This model was also plagued by various electrical problems including the headlights cutting out and issues with the power door locks.

The 2006 Trailblazer had a total of 182 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 1,592 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Fuel gauge is inaccurate
  • Engine light indicator stays on
  • Transmission failure

2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Aside from statistically being the most problematic model year of all versions produced, the 2005 Trailblazer was also given the title “Avoid Like the Plague” by CarComplaints.com.

Much like its direct successors, the 2005 Trailblazer received hundreds of reports about fuel gauge problems.

Reports indicated that the “low gas” indicator would come up even after filling up the gas tank.

There was also a large number of complaints about the Check Engine Light coming on at random which caused a lot of stress for owners as Chevy was often unable to find out what was causing it.

Here’s what the owners had to say:

“I have had my car to the dealer and auto repair so many times and they have replaced so many things and the car still has the engine light on and drives like cr*p! This is the worst car ever!”

“Okay so my engine light is on for no apparent reason and I hear it is going to cost a fortune to fix, so unless GM pays for it I will not get it fixed. I will never ever own another Chevy or GM product again.”

The 2005 Trailblazer had a total of 917 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 1,998 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Fuel gauge not working
  • Instrument panel malfunctioning
  • Speedometer stopped working

2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer

The 2004 Trailblazer was awarded with the notorious “Beware of the Clunker” badge by CarComplaints.com.

This model like others on our “worst list” was riddled with various problems.

The most common was fluctuating gauges, here is one owner’s testimony:

“Well I see I am not the only one with this problem, my speedometer went out first, would get to 60 mph, would stick, and would keep going up from there, hard to judge sometimes how fast/slow I am going, this week my fuel gauge and oil gauge have started sticking fluctuating, I have no idea how much gas is in my car at the moment, I am sad to see that there is no recall on this problem, I guess I’m going to have to shell out a small fortune to get it fixed!”

Other owners experienced problems with the AC, the headlights going out and the Check Engine Light staying on.

The 2004 Trailblazer had a total of 398 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 1,489 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Instrument panel malfunctioning
  • Gauges fluctuate and malfunction
  • Engine light indicator stays on

2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer

The 2003 Trailblazer was awarded with the notorious “Beware of the Clunker” badge by CarComplaints.com.

The 2003 Trailblazer shared the same instrument panel problems as many other first-gen models,  which left owners guessing their speed, engine temperature and how much gas is left in the tank.

There were also a large number of complaints from owners who were driven crazy by a loud ticking sound coming from the engine.

The 2003 Trailblazer had a total of 233 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 1,357 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Transmission failure
  • Ticking sound
  • Engine failure

2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer

The 2002 Trailblazer was awarded with the notorious “Beware of the Clunker” badge by CarComplaints.com.

The biggest problem of the 2002 Trailblazer was its 4L60E transmission which would fail at an average of 100,000 miles.

Here’s one disgruntled owner’s report:

“I am about to give up on all GM. We have 3 trailblazers in our family and the 2 of them are 2002. Both are having similar issues, leaking power steering cooler, 4wd won’t engage, and the topper is the transmission went south while backing out of our driveway. What a piece of junk this 4l60e is.”

Numerous owners also reported that their instrument cluster became inoperative, with gauges showing incorrect readings.

The 2002 Trailblazer had a total of 197 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 1,356 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Transmission failure
  • Engine seized and died
  • Fan switch does not work on all settings

Related: 16 Best & Worst Chevrolet Equinox Years (With Facts & Stats)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Listed below are the number of reported complaints and problems for each model year of the Trailblazer. 

Model YearComplaints
(CarComplaints.com)
Problems
(CarProblemZoo.com)
2023 Chevrolet TrailblazerNANA
2022 Chevrolet TrailblazerNA13
2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer157
2009 Chevrolet Trailblazer56
2008 Chevrolet Trailblazer54248
2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer184953
2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer1821,592
2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer9171,998
2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer3981,489
2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer2331,357
2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer1971,356
2001 Chevrolet TrailblazerNA21
2000 Chevrolet TrailblazerNA26
1999 Chevrolet TrailblazerNA4

What Problems Do Chevrolet Trailblazers Have?

  • Transmission failure
  • Fuel gauge not working
  • Instrument panel malfunctioning
  • Speedometer stopped working
  • Engine light indicator stays on
  • Ticking sound
  • Engine failure 
  • Inaccurate fuel gauge
  • Fan switch does not work on all settings
  • Power doors and windows malfunctioning

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Chevrolet Trailblazer?

The subcompact Trailblazer is ranked 10th, securing a score of 7.7 out of 10, beating the likes of the Jeep Renegade and Buick Encore. 

Take a look at how it fares against direct competitors in the current market in terms of fuel economy, pricing, and overall score. 

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Hyundai Kona8.5$21,300 – $34,200City: 20 – 30 /Highway: 27 – 35
Kia Soul8.5$19,790 – $24,090 City: 28 – 29 /Highway: 33 – 34
Mazda CX-308.5$22,200 – $34,400City: 22 – 24 /Highway: 30 – 31
Kia Seltos8.2$22,840 – $28,340City: 25 – 29 /Highway: 30 – 35
Honda HR-V7.9$23,650 – $28,950City: 25 – 26 /Highway: 30 – 32
Buick Encore GX7.8$24,400 – $30,600City: 26 – 29 /Highway: 29 – 32
Hyundai Venue7.8$19,000 – $22,250City: 29 /Highway: 33
Mini Cooper Countryman7.8$29,100 – $41,500City: 23 – 26 / Highway: 30 – 33
Subaru Crosstrek7.8$23,645 – $29,495City: 22 – 28 /Highway: 29 – 34
Chevrolet Trailblazer7.7$21,800 – 27,400City: 26 – 29 /Highway: 30 – 33
Jeep Renegade7.5$24,195 – $30,595City: 22 – 24 /Highway: 27 – 32
Buick Encore7.4$24,600 – $25,220City: 23 – 24 /Highway: 30 – 32
Chevrolet Trax6.9 $21,400 – $23,820City: 23 – 24 /Highway: 30 – 32
Toyota CH-R6.7$24,820 – $27,300City: 27 /Highway: 31
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport6.6$21,445 – $28,045City: 24 /Highway: 30
Fiat 500XNA$27,300 – $29,290City: 24 /Highway: 30
Ford EcoSportNA$22,040 – $28,395 City: 23 /Highway: 29
Nissan KicksNA$19,990 – $22,550City: 31 /Highway: 36
Nissan Rogue SportNA$24,460 – $30,590City: 24 – 25 /Highway: 30 – 32
Toyota Corolla CrossNA$22,195 – $27,625City: 29 – 31 /Highway: 32 – 33
Volkswagen TaosNA$23,495 – $33,645City: 28 /Highway: 36

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

References

https://www.caranddriver.com/chevrolet/trailblazer

https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/chevrolet/trailblazer

https://www.carcomplaints.com/Chevrolet/Trailblazer/

https://www.carproblemzoo.com/chevrolet/trailblazer/

https://www.edmunds.com/chevrolet/trailblazer/

https://www.kbb.com/chevrolet/trailblazer/

https://www.jdpower.com/cars/2022/chevrolet/trailblazer

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  • Ian Sawyer

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