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Chevrolet Trailblazer vs. Kia Seltos

1. Introduction

The first car to be launched is the Chevrolet Trailblazer. The company really did a great job on this car as you could see that they have put a lot of effort into it. With just a glance at it, you could distinguish that they have put a lot of good quality plastics as well as fine leather to go with it. The running board on the Trailblazer has been positioned lower compared to its predecessor, the Trailblazer EXT, which makes it easier for the driver to get in as well as getting out of the car. The Chevrolet Trailblazer also uses keyless entry (if equipped) to make it easier for the driver to unlock the doors and get into the car. With only a press of the button, the car is able to start up with a remote engine start (if equipped), making life easier for the driver especially for those who are always on the move. Another feature on the Chevrolet Trailblazer is that it comes with an electric sunroof (if equipped) to allow some sunlight to flow into the car during the day. Step into the car; you will be able to feel the spaciousness of the car. The driver's seat is positioned higher compared to other sedan cars which makes the driver feel as though he is driving a 4x4 pick-up truck and also provides better visibility of the road. This seat offers eight different seating positions with lumbar support for the driver to adjust for an easy and comfortable drive. The back seat is also much better as it is slanted which provides the passenger a very comfortable seating position and there will be fewer complaints for a long journey. Looking for SUVs or MPVs, the most common question or probably complaint is the backseat passenger's air conditioning. Most cars only provide a vent which is not strong enough to cool the whole car. Now, with the Trailblazer, it provides rear air-conditioning (if equipped) for the backseat passengers to adjust the fan speed and also the temperature and there's also a front air conditioning control for the front seat passenger. This will definitely get rid of the common question for most MPV and SUV drivers. The Trailblazer has a 60:40 split flat folding rear seats which makes the car's cargo and passenger versatility even better. The rear seats can be folded flat with the front seat and this is definitely useful for a trip to IKEA for example. The Chevrolet Trailblazer is powered with a choice of 2 different engines, which are the petrol variant and turbo diesel variant. The petrol variant comes with a 2.5L capacity engine producing 150kW which has an availability of 2WD and also 4WD. [1] Please visit our Comprehensive Guide to Kia Model Comparisons to learn more about Chevrolet Trailblazer vs Kia Seltos.

1.1. Overview of Chevrolet Trailblazer

All Trailblazers come equipped with the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system displayed on a 7.0-inch high-resolution touchscreen and compatibility for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The LT, Activ, and RS models all have steering wheel-mounted audio controls, but Bose speakers are reserved for the RS only. An automatic emergency call feature is integrated into the infotainment system, and the activated airbag will assist in providing the correct location to first responders. The latter features and the high level of smartphone integration remain above the Kia, and the same can be said for the available safety systems such as forward collision alert.

The Trailblazer has a slightly firmer edge to the ride, which is offset by relatively better handling and body control than the Kia, which can feel doughy in comparison. It does generate a little more road noise on coarse surfaces, but it proceeds with the keener acceleration and more precise steering. The advanced all-wheel drive system in the Chevrolet Trailblazer is also more effective than the Seltos' on an unpaved road and has better downhill descent control.

At first glance, the Chevrolet Trailblazer is a wider, more potent incarnation of the Trax SUV, but it explores its own style. Smaller than its Blazer namesake, it is offered with front- or all-wheel drive, with a 137bhp 1.2-litre turbo triple or a 155bhp 1.3-litre. This engine is livelier than the Seltos' pair and is offered with an identical six-speed automatic or continuously variable transmission. The Brazilian-designed split-level dash and trim inlay options give the cabin a trendy look. There's even a fancier RS version with a unique grille, two-tone paint, and sports suspension with better shock absorbers, which should steer any potential Blazer SUV customers still looking at this point towards the close relative.

1.2. Overview of Kia Seltos

The Kia Seltos is a five-seater SUV, sized and priced between the smaller compact Honda HR-V and the bigger all-new Nissan Rogue. This segment is really heating up—there's also the Mazda CX-30 and Chevrolet Trailblazer—and the Seltos is definitely one of the best-looking ways into that class with a starting price under $25,000. Consider the Seltos a more tasteful, more resolved spin on the cheaper, more cheerful Soul. It offers a wide range of appearance features, the choice of a more fuel-efficient powertrain, and an available all-wheel drive with a lock mode, yet it's missing a rugged body-on-frame image. The changes are important and probably raise the Seltos' base price closer to $22,000, yet it falls short of being a destination model for powertrain and packaging reasons we'll explain below. That said, the LX and S models remain among our picks for the price. Available all-wheel drive adds $1,500 to either model. Midsize SUVs are a very competitive segment with options ranging from seven-seaters like the 2021 Chevrolet Traverse to the smaller five-seaters like the 2022 Hyundai Tucson. This class couldn't be more different from the trucks it descended from. Buyers in this class value comfort, efficiency, and versatility in their busy lifestyles. The Seltos is built from the same platform as the Kia Soul, but in this market that's to its benefit. The Soul is a bit too polarizing to make sense here and the all-new Kia Seltos is a much more mature and polished product that fills a gap in their crossover lineup.

2. Performance Comparison

- Chevrolet Trailblazer has a 1.3-liter 3-cylinder engine which makes [email protected] and 230Nm of torque, which is quite low considering the vehicle's weight. There's a more powerful 1.3-liter 3-cylinder engine which makes [email protected] and 240Nm of torque. For a car of this class, it's no doubt underpowered. There's also a 1.2-liter 3-cylinder turbo which makes [email protected] and 190Nm of torque. Currently, the highest engine capacity Kia Seltos has a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine which makes [email protected] and 180Nm of torque. - According to the engine capacities and output alone, it's pretty clear that on paper, Seltos comes off as the superior vehicle. Providing more diverse options for the consumers and the most powerful engine being more powerful and torquey than all of Trailblazer's engine options. - Chevrolet Trailblazer's 1.3-liter 3-cylinder engine is front-wheel drive only, and the highest capacity 1.3-liter 3-cylinder engine is all-wheel drive. The smaller capacity Trailblazer 1.2-liter engine is front-wheel drive only. There's no mention of CVT or 4-speed automatic transmission. All Seltos variants come with a CVT, and the 2WD variants get Rear-Driveline Disconnect, driving as a front-wheel drive and only engaging the rear wheels when additional traction is needed. All in all, the Seltos would be more confident on wet roads and light offroad trails compared to the underpowered Trailblazer, which lacks rear differentials on 2WD variants.

2.1. Engine Specifications

The Kia Seltos has a choice of 3 engines. There's the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine which produces 146hp/179Nm or 151hp/242Nm, depending on whether the car is front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. It also offers a 1.6-liter turbo engine on the S and SX models, which produces 175hp/195Nm. Finally, there's a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine which produces 139hp/264Nm. The horsepower from the 2.0-liter engine is somewhat underwhelming when compared to the Trailblazers engine. However, much of the engine prowess comes from fuel efficiency, and with newer technology, 2.0-liter engines are much closer to their larger counterparts in terms of power. The fuel efficiency of the Seltos engines, ranging from 7.6-8.5L/100km, shows this, as they attempt to match the Trailblazers fuel efficiency of 7.0L/100km. Both cars' engines are of a similar nature, and both will use small turbo petrol engines on their top-spec models to provide the best combination of power and fuel savings.

The engine specifications for the Chevrolet Trailblazers show that the car has a 1.2-liter 3-cylinder turbo engine which produces 155hp/230Nm. It offers a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. This particular model has all-wheel drive and an automatic CVT-style transmission. The horsepower is relatively good for this type of car and uses the same sort of turbo-powered small engine that many SUVs use to combine power and fuel savings.

2.2. Acceleration and Top Speed

The TrailBlazer will shift gears much like a standard automatic and is expected to have a traditional automatic available at a later date for improved fuel economy. Step-off acceleration and throttle response have been described to have a "peppy" and lively feel. Traction off the line has resulted in some "tire chirp" from the standard front-wheel drive, and there is no information available yet on 0-60 times with the available all-wheel drive.

The main reason for the Seltos' poor acceleration times is due to its CVT transmission, which is supposed to emulate an "infinite" gear ratio to improve fuel economy when compared to a traditional automatic. They've become popular on smaller, entry level vehicles for this reason. The disadvantage is that it hampers acceleration, and in the Seltos' case, increases the droning noise and vibration from the engine's continuously high RPMs, particularly while under heavy throttle. A small percentage of buyers may not even notice or care about any of these drawbacks, but others must wonder why an "engine and powertrain" package equipped with such sophisticated technology failed to provide a less noisy and more smooth, "luxury car"-like driving experience.

In terms of acceleration, the TrailBlazer offers a bit more oomph for the drivers who are frustrated with the Seltos. Both are powered by 1.3L turbo engines, but the TrailBlazer's is good for 155 hp and 174 lb-ft torque, while the Seltos puts out 156 hp and 175 lb-ft torque. Perhaps the difference in power was evident when we tested 0-60 MPH times. TrailBlazers seem to have little trouble reaching 0-60 within 8.0-8.5 seconds, the most favorable time posted by owners being 7.7 seconds. The Seltos was shown to run it in about 10.5 seconds, some taking a full 12.0 seconds.

2.3. Fuel Efficiency

Kia Seltos has a fuel economy of 9.7 liters per 100km in the city. For the top speed, it can reach 200km/h on the highway with a fuel economy of around 6.8 liters per 100km. Seltos also has a similar fuel economy compared to TrailBlazer, but there is a difference in engine power. With a lower body weight, Seltos only needs to equip itself with a 2.000cc engine to achieve competitive performance and fuel efficiency in its class. Between the two, Kia Seltos' fuel economy on the highway is slightly better than in the city. This is due to the less stop and go driving conditions in the city, which makes Seltos' fuel economy still effective for daily activities. [2]

Chevrolet Trailblazer comes with good fuel economy and catches attention from car enthusiasts. Compared to Kia Seltos, Chevrolet Trailblazer has better fuel economy than its competitor. In the city, Chevrolet TrailBlazer has around 9.4 liters per 100km fuel economy, while on the highway it only consumes 6.6 liters per 100km. Compared to Kia Seltos, even though both have similar fuel economy in the city and on the highway, TrailBlazer has a bigger engine power. This condition gives TrailBlazer a bonus point for fuel economy because it already has above-average power in its class. This is a good potential for those who are looking for a car with above-average performance and power, but still fuel efficient and not wasteful for daily use.

3. Features and Technology

Using a monocoque chassis allowed the Seltos to adopt a more intelligent interior layout, not too dissimilar to Kia's passenger cars. Dual-zone climate control, ventilation ducts for rear passengers, a powered driver's seat with lumbar support, a bigger central storage box, and a sliding front center console armrest cater predominantly to those who will spend most of their time inside or driving three or fewer passengers. Small detail touches, such as the large bottle holders in each door and the rubberized slot ahead of the shifter specifically designed to store a phone, also suggest a rather practical and thought-out semi-premium feel. Boot size is identical for both cars, but the Seltos offers a more usable space with a lower load lip and a level with the boot floor when the 60/40 rear seats are stowed. The Trailblazer, in contrast, takes a more utilitarian approach, certain to appeal to families who like to include outdoor pursuits as part of their lifestyle. Non-branded Ouruert scrub/wet seat trim and twist beam rear suspension on all AWD variants cater to the inevitable mud and abuse likely to be received by trips to sports grounds and bushwalk locations. While an LT or LTZ with the optional third-row seat plus raise-lower function would allow the Trailblazer to be used as a more practical alternative to a people mover.

Chevrolet's extensive experience in traditional SUVs throughout the decade and Kia's impeccable reception to a strong market demand for modern compact crossovers has materialized into two distinctly different interpretations of what features an SUV should have. The Trailblazer sticks closer to the conventional SUV blueprint, providing ample space and towing capacity to satisfy the desires of middle American families. The Seltos, on the other hand, offers a more rounded versatility package, answering the demand for a comfortable city dweller with adequate space and an elevated driving position. Both cars are well-equipped, depending on the variant, and more importantly, both target differently focused consumers with different needs.

3.1. Interior Features

The Trailblazer's versatile seat and cargo configurations contribute to subjective space-optimization that is substantial for its size. Front head and leg room are very good, with plenty of space for tall occupants. There is a good amount of shoulder and hip room as well, and the driver will appreciate the good visibility afforded by the vehicle's more upright styling. The Seltos also has respectable front seat dimensions. Moving to the rear seat, both vehicles provide good head room, but the Trailblazer has substantially more leg room in spite of its sliding and reclining rear seat. The Seltos has a fair amount of space considering its size, but is still not as roomy and accommodating as the larger Sportage. Both vehicles are similarly rated for cargo capacity, although the Trailblazer provides slightly more cargo room and clearly has the advantage for flexible cargo and passenger-carrying capability due to its various seating configurations. [3]

The Trailblazer has a reconfigurable interior. The 40/60 split-folding rear seat not only folds flat, but also has a movable cushion that can be adjusted to change the amount of rear legroom or cargo room. The front passenger seat can also be folded flat to accommodate long items. The rear liftgate glass can be opened independent of the liftgate. The Seltos, by comparison, has a more traditional interior. The rear seat is a fixed 60/40 split-folding design. Both the Trailblazer and Seltos have a second glovebox, but the Seltos one is cooled. The Seltos has a two-step recline feature for the rear seatbacks and an automatic climate control system is available. The Trailblazer's optional climate control split allows the driver and front passenger to have different temperature settings, and also has a rear seat climate control system (both are automatic systems).

3.2. Advanced Safety Systems

For the active and passive safety features in a car, everything can be found in the Chevrolet Trailblazer, from the basic features such as the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Traction Control System (TCS), Hill Start Assist (HSA), and 6 airbags for the airbag system. All of these features have become standard for a modern car. But the advanced safety features in Trailblazer are the ones that make it or break it. That would be the Side Blind Zone Alert (SBZA) and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. It may not prevent an accident from occurring, but it acts as an additional sense to the driver to warn them of something that they are not able to see. It’s a very useful feature today. Unfortunately, there’s no Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) feature in Trailblazer. That's the exact opposite for the safety features in Kia Seltos. Even though Seltos has the basic safety features, the advanced safety features are not yet available in the Malaysia spec. This can be a deal breaker in terms of buying an A-segment SUV since the additional safety features are very crucial today.

3.3. Infotainment and Connectivity

Both vehicles contain a rearview camera and rear parking sensors for convenience when reversing. The Trailblazer will have a rear park assist system only for the higher-spec LT, which includes semi-automated parking. These are great features. Parking sensors are beginning to become a standard for most small to mid-sized SUVs, and it is recommended to have considering the blind spots in these vehicles. Rear park assist systems will likely become a standard in the future. The Seltos currently does not have any parking assist features.

The higher-spec Seltos contains an inbuilt navigation system with 10 years mapcare and live traffic information. No info has been released to say if the maps are going to be updated, and no word on if there is a built-in navigation system for the Trailblazer. But we can assume that there could be an update provided in the future for inbuilt navigation. Consumer preference is steering more towards Google Maps, so this might not be an important feature for many people.

Both vehicles contain DAB+ (Digital Audio Broadcast) information. This provides a much better signal and sound quality when listening to the radio. Digital radio is something that is starting to become a standard for most new vehicles and is highly recommended.

The Trailblazer features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. This is a very convenient feature and great for if you hate wires. Unfortunately, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are only available for the Trailblazer. The Seltos only has wireless CarPlay and Auto for the higher-spec GT Line. This is a difference in preference between buyers, but the Trailblazer offers both for all specs.

The Trailblazer is fitted with a 7.0-inch touchscreen system featuring Chevrolet Infotainment 3, while the Seltos holds a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen. This seems to be more modern, but it does all depend on preference. In other regions, the higher-spec Seltos has a Bose premium 8-speaker sound system. The Trailblazer does come with a 6-speaker sound system, but it seems to be less advanced. This is insignificant if audio systems aren't your thing.


[1] C. W. Evan, "The Last Weinrip," 2020. drew.edu

[2] Z. MERA and G. BIEKER, "Comparison of the life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of combustion engine and electric passenger cars and two-wheelers in Indonesia," 2023. researchgate.net

[3] S. An, J. Park, H. Kim, H. Kang et al., "An Ergonomic Study on the Operation Method and In-Vehicle Location of an Automotive Electronic Gearshift," Applied Sciences, 2024. mdpi.com​​​​​​​