LA Auto Show 2019

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer is a funky subcompact that wants to be rugged but isn't

The Chevy Trailblazer is back though its lack of off road prowess may disappoint some.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The Chevrolet Trailblazer is a funky subcompact SUV that is making its way onto dealership lots in the spring of 2020. Like the Blazer that was revived before it, this Trailblazer may disappoint some that were hoping the return of the moniker meant a rugged off-roader was about to be born.

"Slotting between the Trax and Equinox, the addition of the Trailblazer provides us with a great opportunity to expand the Chevy SUV family to new audiences," said Steve Majoros, director of Chevrolet passenger car and crossover marketing. "With the new ACTIV trim, plus the sporty RS trim, we can appeal to customers' varying active lifestyles."

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer ACTIV trim Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

On the outside, the Trailblazer is a fun-looking little SUV in the same way that the new Kia Seltos is. Two-tone paint jobs are obviously back in a big way, especially in the subcompact segment and the Trailblazer is no exception. The model does have familial looks, playing on what the Blazer's front and rear end look like while still maintaining its own identity.

At the front it has an accent bar that is integrated with the headlamps and a faux a skidplate. In the ACTIV and RS trim levels, the Trailblazer has unique fascia elements to differentiate the grades.

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer RS trim Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The Trailblazer has a base turbocharged 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine and an available turbocharged 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine. Both engines are paired with a standard continuously variable transmission with selectable stop-start capability (read: it doesn't always have to be on). Buyers who choose the 1.3-liter engine can opt for a nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive as well.

These are the same power plants that are available in the new 2021 Buick Encore GX.

The Trailblazer's all-wheel drive is selectable, allowing drivers to determine when it is active for better fuel economy. There are also three drive modes in front-wheel drive models: Normal, Snow, and Sport.

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer Chevy has made the cockpit of the Trailblazer driver-focused but it's still easily accessible for the front seat passenger.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The Trailblazer's cockpit is driver-focused but relatively accessible for the front seat passenger. The car has good small item storage thanks in no small part to the small shelf on the dashboard in front of the passenger seat - something that the Toyota Highlander has effectively executed for generations.

The center console allowed up to 3.5 liters of open storage and 4.4 liters of storage under the armrest, as well as dual cupholders.

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer ACTIV trim Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

In the ACTIV trim level shown at the LA Auto Show, the model had a handsome interior with a variety of materials that all added to the car's appearance including some denim-like cloth and leatherette-like seating appointments.

The Trailblazer will have Chevy's latest infotainment system, complete with dual Bluetooth capability. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be available, as will SiriusXM with 360L.

It has a 40-60 split folding rear seat. The new Trailblazer has 54.4 cubic feet of storage space with the second row folded. That is significantly more than what is in the Hyundai Kona but slightly less than what is in a Nissan Rogue Sport. A hands-free lift gate will be available.

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer cargo storage trunk folding seat For ease, the Trailblazer's front seat also folds flat.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The Trailblazer comes standard with a long list of safety technology including forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, rearview camera, Teen Driver, rear seat reminder, and OnStar. Additional technologies are available.

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer ACTIV trim Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Chevy says that the ACTIV trim level is tuned for off road use, and by that they mean on gravel, not ascending rocks in Moab. It has unique tires and shock tuning. The standard all-season Hankook Sport Terrain 17-inch tires have an aggressive shoulder design. The model has a revised lower area to add ground clearance. However, no additional undercarriage protection is included.

Chevrolet is already teasing a sub-$20,000 starting price for the Trailblazer but it's likely that the ACTIV and RS models will go for closer to $30,000. That pricing is in line with what other automakers sell their subcompact crossovers for.

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The Recreation Module fits into the Cullinan's boot.

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

If you're driving in your Rolls-Royce Cullinan and hear Rare Earth come on the radio, it's generally not a bad thing. If you happen to change the lyrics to their best-known hit to "I just want to recreate", Rolls-Royce has a solution for you.

The new Recreation Module brings bespoke storage solutions for adventure enthusiasts to the bespoke SUV in proper Rolls-Royce fashion. This isn't just underfloor storage or bins. This is an entire solution designed around an owner's hobbies.

The 48-liter motorized drawer cassette fits invisibly into the luggage compartment of the Cullinan. Via the touch of a button, the Module slides open to reveal equipment, accessories, and paraphernalia that has been personally selected by the motor car's commissioning client. This is no junk drawer setup. Each item is ensconced in its own individual, tailored container.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan Recreation Module The Recreation Module allows for bespoke storage.Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Rolls-Royce Cullinan Recreation Module

Rolls-Royce designers are able to trim out the Module to match or contrast with the car's interior and exterior.

Cullinan owners who wish their model had come with the Recreation Module aren't out of luck. They can have the Module retrofitted to their vehicle - the electric connections are already existing.

Rolls-Royce clients that demand even more can have multiple Modules configured. Say, for example, the owner is simultaneously a shooting, skiing, and photography fanatic but they don't do all those at once. Before setting off to a hunt, heading out to ski, or setting out on an excursion, the owner can install the proper Module in the cargo area while leaving the others behind.

You may remember a similar storage solution from 2019. That year, Rolls-Royce commissioned photographer Mark Riccioni to create a series of innovative and subversive images featuring Black Badge Cullinan, under the cover of darkness, in Los Angeles. To support the project, the marque developed a personalised Urban Photography Recreation Module, incorporating specialist equipment including a DJI Mavic Mini drone, 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro, 16-inch Apple MacBook Pro, Sennheiser PXC550 MkII noise-cancelling headphones, Persol PO3225-S sunglasses and outerwear from streetwear brand Supreme.

Cullinans outfitted with the Module do not have their cargo capacity lessened. The length and boot capacity remain the same as vehicles without the component.

Commissioners can have their Cullinan outfitted with both the Module and the Viewing Suite – two rear-facing sociably arranged either side of a retractable cocktail table. It too deploys via the touch of a button.

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The 2022 Lexus ES will debut next week.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The meat and potatoes of the Lexus sedan lineup, the ES, is due for a refresh, and it will get one. The 2022 Lexus ES will be shown publicly for the first time this Sunday as part of the festivities of the Shanghai auto show.

While the photo doesn't tell a lot, there's some things you can bet on in the 2022 ES. For starters, look for all the improvements that the auto has gotten over the last two years to carry over into the new model. That includes the addition of all-wheel drive to the lineup and standard blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.

The ES Black Line may not make its way to the 2022 version of the midsize sedan. Generally, blacked out editions are available only at the tail end of a model run ahead of a refresh or generational redesign. However, the blacked out elements could become available as part of a package.

The headlight photo that Lexus has offered as a teaser shows a housing that is not dissimilar to the one that the Lexus IS wears. However, the daytime running light is on the bottom here, instead off the top. Like the IS, there are strong hood lines.

At the back, the preview video shows a vehicle that is very similar to the current model. It's taillights, a strong chrome line that runs the width of the year, and rear lip spoiler all look mostly same as before.

As for what to expect underneath the body of the car, there's not a lot of indication from the teasers, which leads one to believe that's where the biggest changes are coming. There's a good chance that we'll finally say goodbye to the Lexus touch pad in favor of a touch screen display that's within a comfortable distance.

It's also likely that Lexus will fine tune the dynamics of the ES in a similar fashion to how the Lexus IS got more performance-focused driving dynamics in its latest redo.

Stay tuned for more specifics are the curtain is pulled back on April 19 in China (April 18 in the U.S.).

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