2021-2022 Chevy Trailblazer and Buick Encore GX earn Top Safety Pick awards

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A pair of GM’s small crossovers earned top marks for safety, the IIHS announced Tuesday. The 2021-2022 Buick Encore GX earned a Top Safety Pick designation, while the 2021-2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer one-upped its cousin with a Top Safety Pick+ award, considered by many to be the industry’s toughest safety recognition. 

Headlight ratings separate the two awards. The Chevy Trailblazer’s standard and optional headlights earned at least an “Acceptable” rating, whereas the halogen headlights standard on the 2021-2022 Encore GX warranted a “Marginal” rating. The top rating for the Trailblazer applies only to vehicles built after July 2020.

Both vehicles earned “Superior” ratings in preventing crashes with other cars and pedestrians, and both crossovers earned top “Good” ratings in all six crash tests conducted by the IIHS, which is a non-profit funded by the insurance industry. 

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When the Trailblazer relaunched as a small crossover for 2021, the NHTSA ranked the Trailblazer at four stars in crash tests, including a subpar three-star front passenger side crash test. Updates for 2022 bumped it up to a five-star rating, same as the 2022 Encore GX.

Standard safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and automatic high beams come standard on both models, but only the Encore GX gets standard LED headlights. 

The five-seat crossovers join 120 other vehicles to earn Top Safety Pick awards in 2021, nearly doubling the total from 2020. Several automakers have adjusted the headlights in the middle of the production year to satisfy the stringent requirements of the IIHS, which tweaks the criteria for the awards once more automakers achieve them. 

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The 2022 Chevy Trailblazer joins other small crossovers such as the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, 2022 Hyundai Tucson, and 2021 Mazda CX-30 with a TSP+. The 2022 Encore GX finds competitive company with the 2021 Hyundai Kona and 2021 Lexus UX. 

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