The 2021-22 Chevrolet Trailblazer, a small SUV, qualifies for a TOP SAFETY PICK+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Another small SUV from General Motors, the 2021-22 Buick Encore GX, earns a TOP SAFETY PICK award but misses out on the “plus.”
For either of the Institute’s two awards, vehicles must earn good ratings in all six IIHS crashworthiness evaluations, including the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. They must also be available with a front crash prevention system that earns advanced or superior ratings in both the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations.
For the lower-tier TOP SAFETY PICK award, at least one headlight system that earns a good or acceptable rating must be available. For the higher-tier TOP SAFETY PICK+, vehicles must come with good or acceptable headlights across all trims.
The Trailblazer meets all the requirements for the higher-tier award. The standard front crash prevention system earns a superior rating in the vehicle-to-vehicle test and an advanced rating in the vehicle-to-pedestrian test, while the two available headlight systems earn acceptable and good ratings.
The Encore GX meets all the criteria for TOP SAFETY PICK. Its standard front crash prevention system earns superior ratings in both evaluations, and the LED projector headlights available with the Essence trim are rated acceptable. A marginal rating for the halogen reflectors that come with the two other trims prevents it from earning the “plus.”
Both the Trailblazer and Encore GX were introduced last year, though General Motors previously used the Trailblazer name for a midsize SUV that was discontinued in 2009. For the Trailblazer, the award applies to vehicles built after July 2020.