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Chevy Trailblazer vs. Kia Seltos

1. Introduction

These two cars can be said to be rivals in the world of automotive, and if we look at the ranks of Seltos and Trailblazer in the International world often these products are compared. This comparison is also what we will discuss in this review. Keep reading! [1][2][3][4][5] Please visit our Comprehensive Guide to Kia Model Comparisons to learn more about Chevy Trailblazer vs Kia Seltos.

Not long ago Indonesia itself has received new cars from America and South Korea that are Chevrolet and KIA. Talking about SUVs, of course these two brands immediately launched their SUVs. Chevy came up with Trailblazer while KIA came up with Seltos. These two cars are now one of the top choices for urbanites to choose an SUV because it has a shape that is not too big but also not too small. This review will discuss in more detail about Trailblazer and Seltos, both in terms of design and features and driving performance.

Talking about cars, there are currently very many types of cars that we can buy. Starting from cars with a sedan type to an SUV. SUV stands for Sport Utility Vehicle itself is a type of car that is currently in great demand by urbanites, especially for those who want to buy a private car. SUV itself has a variety of sizes ranging from small to large depending on the consumer. This is what makes the automotive companies vying to continue making new innovations on SUV cars.

In today's era, the car has become a necessity for everyone. Especially in big cities like Jakarta, it is very difficult to rely on public transportation. Time is also very limited and must be used effectively. So it is not uncommon for people to choose to buy private vehicles ranging from motorcycles to cars.

2. Features and Specifications

The S 2.0L and SX Seltos trims come with a more powerful 1.6L Turbo 4-cylinder engine capable of 175hp at 6000 RPM and 195 feet-lbs torque at 1500-4500 RPM, paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This combination allows the front-wheel drive S 2.0L and the all-wheel drive SX to achieve a combined 31 MPG, while the all-wheel drive S 2.0L gets 27 MPG and the front-wheel drive SX gets the maximum at 29 MPG. So, to keep it short and sweet, the Trailblazer has a slight advantage in power while the Seltos has the edge in fuel economy. Take it as you will.

Let's get the given out of the way. Chevrolet has confirmed that all 2021 Trailblazers will feature the same 1.2L 3-cylinder turbo engine, unique for 137hp at 5500 RPM and 162 feet-lbs torque at 2500 RPM, paired with a continuously variable transmission. The Seltos is considerably more diverse. A 2.0L NU 4-cylinder engine producing 146hp at 6200 RPM and 132 feet-lbs torque at 4500 RPM, paired with a continuously variable transmission, is preferred on LX, S, and EX trims, with the front-wheel drive LX achieving up to 29 MPG combined and the all-wheel drive Seltos dropping down to 27 MPG combined.

Chevy offers the Trailblazer in five trims, from L plan to the element in crammed ACTIV enthusiastic RS line. The particular Seltos trims are LX, S, EX, S 2.0L, and SX. There may be a complete of 23 unique Seltos configurations. Chevrolet is yet to confirm pricing for the 2021 Trailblazer, even though the starting point for the lowest L trim is around $20,000. The Seltos begins modestly with the front-wheel drive LX at $21,990 and levels up to the aforementioned S 2.0L, which costs $25,490. Pricing for the 2021 Trailblazer will most likely increase through trims. For a rough comparison, we will take the highest Seltos pricing and the bottom L trim Trailblazer. With the bottom L trim Seltos priced at $21,990, it is only $1,000 more than the projected $20,990 fee for the L Trailblazer. Now, let's get into the nitty-gritty of tangible specifications and look at the head-to-head.

2.1. Exterior Design

The Chevy Trailblazer follows GM's current design lineage, and it bears a striking resemblance to other models in the lineup. The front fascia features a more squarish design compared to the rounded-off appearance that was present in the earlier models - and it looks good. A large grille is separated by a thick bar with a prominent Chevy emblem in the center. Bulbous headlights that hug the top of the fascia help to add to the aggressive appearance. The front features a black lower fascia to indicate the faux skid plate, and the front ends feature more cladding to help with the off-road appearance. From the side, the Trailblazer takes on a more traditional SUV appearance featuring more upright pillars and quite a bit of overhang in the rear. The roofline slightly tapers to the rear before it ends in an abrupt fashion. Full LED lighting is available on the higher-end trims of the Trailblazer just like the Kia Seltos. And the top RS model features a two-tone roof that gives it a sporty appearance. At the rear, the Trailblazer has large two-piece taillights that span across the hatch. The design is simple and not too aggressive; it fits the role as the more family-oriented choice while the Trax will be catered towards a younger audience. The rear has a faux skid plate as well to help indicate that it's a crossover SUV. Overall, the design is family-friendly and it's not too polarizing to keep potential buyers away. It's right in line with what we expect from Chevy. The Kia Seltos takes on a more aggressive appearance compared to the Chevy Trailblazer. The design begins with the large tiger nose grille with the prominent Kia emblem. There's a lot of design going on up front with the multiple creases in the hood and front fascia, and the headlights feature a unique design as well. The daytime running lights go up the hood for a more aggressive appearance. The Seltos has a more squared-off appearance compared to its cousin, the Hyundai Kona, and it has a lot of cladding at the front and the sides to help with its off-road appearance. The Seltos has unique optional front driving lamps which add to its personality. The side profile is less boxy, and it has a more modern appearance compared to the Trailblazer. The C and D pillars are slightly sloped, and the roofline ends in a more fluid fashion towards the rear. The rear features a roof spoiler, and the attached taillights feature a unique design with the lighting pattern stretching the width of the hatch. The rear bumper has a larger faux skid plate compared to the Trailblazer. Overall, the design is polarizing, and the variance in design between the different trims leaves Seltos with a bolder personality compared to the Trailblazer. [1][3][5]

2.2. Interior Comfort

The Seltos warranty stands out from most brands. COVID-19 has impacted many people in ways we wish it hasn't and for those of you who may be impacted in a way that a vehicle layoff is necessary, Kia is offering up to 2 years deferred payments. This means that the first 2 years of payments will not accrue interest to the total amount financed and your only required payment will be the last third starting from month 25. In addition to deferred payments, Kia's 10-year/100,000-mile warranty offers a guarantee of COVID-19 passed, ensuring no one is out of a vehicle for this period of time will be a financial burden to fix a vehicle if it has any unexpected coming time off the road. In times like this, peace of mind is always a good thing.

Interior trims and infotainment systems are almost equally matched for these vehicles. The Trailblazer offers an activated carbon filtered AC system, which can serve as a godsend for any known allergy sufferers. Sirius XM radio comes with a 3-month trial and a paid subscription will last significantly longer than that of a post-trial price for an ample amount of service providers. For ease in cleanliness, Trailblazer has incorporated into its design a rubberized storage bin for the rear cargo area which serves useful for protecting carpeted flooring from any form of spill damage. The only major contrast to the Seltos there is that Sirius XM is offered for 3 months and then to be paid.

The Chevy Trailblazer and Kia Seltos are both vehicles that are very distinctive in design and structure, sporty in their own way, while not compromising on interior comfort. The Trailblazer, being slightly longer and wider, offers a roomy interior with a visually larger layout. The Seltos, slightly shorter and taller, offers more in the sense of cabin height and trunk capacity, making it quite spacious when compared to the rest of its class. Both vehicles sit similar in height so I'll be comparing space for both vehicles as if it's a competition of length vs height.

2.3. Performance and Engine Options

The engine options for both SUVs reflect the target market that they are shooting for. The Trailblazer's engines are slightly closer to conventional passenger car engines and, at face value, the second option for the Trailblazer seems to be very similar to the engine offered in the current Chevy Equinox. The higher torque output for the second engine, however, may offer a bit more spirited driving compared to some other compact SUVs, but this will be determined when the vehicle is driven. The Seltos offers the option for additional torque and horsepower in the turbocharged engine, a common preference for younger SUV drivers looking for a sportier drive. It will be very important for Seltos sales that dealerships offer test drives in this particular model to give customers a true understanding of the difference in driving feel compared to the base Seltos engine. Both vehicles appear to have a focus on fuel efficiency by offering front-wheel drive and more advanced all-wheel drive systems as upgrade options for improved traction in poor driving conditions. These options will likely lead to some cases where dealers order more front-wheel drive models to keep the price down for the customer.

The Kia Seltos, on the other hand, will have a few different engine and drive options to pick from. Engine options will include a 2.0 litre, 146 horsepower (132 lb-ft torque) engine with a continuously variable automatic transmission, which will only be available on the LX, S, and EX models and front-wheel drive. The second option will be a 1.6 litre, turbocharged 175 horsepower (195 lb-ft torque) engine with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and available all-wheel drive. This second engine will only be available on the S and EX models.

Chevy Trailblazer will offer two different engine options for customers to choose from. The first option will be a 1.2 litre, three-cylinder engine producing 137 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. This engine will be supported by a continuously variable automatic transmission and will be equipped with a start/stop system to maximize fuel efficiency. The second option will be a 1.3 litre, three-cylinder engine producing 155 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. This engine will be paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and both will offer all-wheel drive as an upgrade. Also standard on all models is a selectable all-wheel drive system called the twin-clutch system. This system is capable of disconnecting the rear wheels to optimize fuel efficiency and engage automatically when it detects a loss in traction. This will feature a drive mode selector that allows customers to choose specific vehicle settings based on different driving conditions.

3. Safety and Technology

When it comes to safety features, both vehicles take a slightly different approach in terms of what is offered and at what level. The Kia Seltos takes a more broad stroke strategy. Standard across all models are highly regarded safety features such as lane keep, lane follow, and driver alert. It is a solid foundation to help prevent any sort of accident and Kia even makes it possible to have these features functionally active without having to pay a premium trim cost. Chevrolet is going a slightly different route with the Trailblazer. Offering more traditional safety features, Trailblazer uses high-strength steel for superior protection, airbags equipped with a passenger sensing system that will turn on or off depending on occupant weight, and a rearview camera. To get the more advanced safety features, one must spring for the most expensive Red Line edition. Price of entry to safety stance is less with Kia and though not an end-all solution, can save a life. This gives the edge to Seltos in terms of safety availability, but we will get into safety ratings later.

Chevrolet blazes a trail in its small SUV legacy with the Trailblazer. For those who want to engage in the wild, this baby Blazer can take you there. The Kia Seltos is a similar effort. It is a fairly recent compact SUV from Kia that definitely turned some heads when it first debuted. In a crowded field of small SUV segment, both Trailblazer and Seltos stand out as vehicles with a potential to engage on a mildly rugged level. But which one is better?

3.1. Safety Features

Teen driver technology is also a great safety feature for parents as it encourages safe driving habits of a provisional driver. A parent can set up a PIN to register their teen's key fob and then set certain vehicle settings to encourage safe driving habits. Whether you are after a safe vehicle for your family or an extra safe vehicle for yourself, the Trailblazer is sure to provide a range of safety features to accommodate your needs.

When it comes to the design of the Trailblazer, it may appear to be masculine accompanied by a sporty look. This may not attract a lot of females to drive this car. Therefore, it is crucial to implement additional safety features for women. Rear park assist can provide you with an alert when you are getting too close to a stationary object behind you. This feature is particularly useful due to the 18-24 year old age group having a higher chance of getting into a collision when they are reversing. These are the only parking sensors on the Trailblazer, but it does also provide a rearview camera to assist you when reversing out of tight spots.

When it comes to the safety features of an SUV, most of us would feel that safety is more important than looks. The Trailblazer provides a 360-degree safety alert that gives you an on-screen view of what is around you. This alert scans the front and rear of your vehicle and provides you with a bird's eye view of the vehicle. Front pedestrian braking applies hard emergency braking or enhances the driver's hard braking to potentially help avoid or reduce the severity of a collision with a pedestrian. Forward collision alert can sense when you are getting too close to the vehicle in front of you. It can alert you when a front-end collision is detected to be imminent. This feature can also alert you if you are following too closely behind a vehicle.

3.2. Infotainment and Connectivity

The Trailblazer comes with a standard 7-inch infotainment system that can be upgraded to an 8-inch screen. This system is compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Kia Seltos comes with an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, also compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The user interface found on the Trailblazer system is dull and often unresponsive, while the Seltos provides sharp graphics and easy-to-use features. The Trailblazer comes with the standard 6-speaker audio system but can be upgraded to the premium Bose audio system. The Seltos comes with a standard 6-speaker audio system and can be upgraded to a powerful Bose audio system as well. The Trailblazer is equipped with 4 USB ports so all passengers can charge their devices. The Seltos is only equipped with 2 USB ports. The Trailblazer has a standard OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot so passengers can use their devices on the go. This is a feature that's not found in the Kia Seltos. The Chevy Trailblazer offers wireless charging in the 2 top trims. Wireless charging is not an available feature in the Kia Seltos. Throughout the infotainment features and connectivity sections, the Chevy Trailblazer proves to offer more features to keep its passengers occupied and connected.

4. Pricing and Conclusion

To compare top models, the top-spec Premier Trailblazer has the top-spec SX Seltos beaten by about $800 in price. It does seem that Chevrolet has been thoughtful of the fact that often younger people will buy these types of cars. But marketing bucks and savvy sales maneuvers aside, it's important to take a look at the actual real value between these top models. High-end Seltos models do have a bit too reach for given that the Seltos has succeeded in proving itself as a reborn funky compact SUV. Dual-tone interior trim colors and styles and fancy features such as a heads-up display and a larger 10-inch touchscreen put the SX Seltos in a realm more aligned with larger compact and even mid-sized SUVs offering lots of extra bells and whistles. It's a similar story for the Premier Trailblazer, but still saving some dollars when comparing vehicle price, overall things you can actually add to your vehicle come under the Trailblazer.

The Seltos does also offer a lot for the LS label once it begins setting foot in Kia showrooms. However, the price duel takes a left turn, more aggressive and better geared towards the consumer's favor, when seeing that both models for Seltos with all-wheel drive are actually the same price as their Trailblazer equivalents. Detroit may have found that Korea actually outsmarted them when comparing what $25,000 can get you for a Kia Seltos, as this occurs when the Sport AWD model still has more to give in the value department, with the forthcoming Trailblazer base spec featuring semi-deprived L model features and an all-wheel drive only expected to cost nearly $26,000.

Jump up to the LS model Seltos and Trailblazer begin to perform in a price duel at $20,000, with second equivalent models being only $100 in difference. Around $1200 worth of packages are available for LD models for both vehicles, with Chevrolet unquestionably offering better value as it includes the safety package for a measly $445 extra to the total vehicle cost. This means that to completely fill what is a base model with semi-decent specs SUV, the Trailblazer has an asking price of approximately $25,000.

Kia has comfortably slotted the Seltos model right in between the Soul and the Sportage, so pricing and packaging is important for this one. Both vehicles do offer a solid amount of value with a lot of features available, but which one gives the most? The Trailblazer starts at $19,000 and comes standard with front-wheel drive. The entry-level L model has a youthful name to acknowledge its trying to appeal to younger consumers and includes 16-inch aluminum wheels and a set of roof rails outer to give a more athletic look. Channeling the interior, you will find standard single-zone climate control and a 7-inch touchscreen display, but Chevrolet's safety suite is unavailable until the mid-spec LT model, including features such as lane keep assist and autonomous emergency braking.


[1] K. D. Klinich, "Survey of Vehicle Controls and Displays," 2023. umich.edu

[2] 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

[3] T. L. Glenn, E. Glenn, and L. Neurauter, "Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke: Evaluation of Preventative Technologies," National Surface Transportation, 2021. vt.edu

[4] АА Тюльдиков, "Форсайт автомобильного рынка Казахстана," 2022. tpu.ru

[5] АО Деркачова, "Робоча програма навчальної дисципліни «Фізичне виховання»," 2021. zp.edu.ua​​​​​​​