The Chevy Trailblazer is definitely one of the most imposing cars we’ve had on test at www.runridedive.com this year. The big 4 x 4 is close on 5 metres long and stands over 1,8 metres tall, and has a macho stance that makes it hard to ignore.
Your first impression is that this SUV means business: with 218mm of ground clearance, muscular 18” alloys shod with 265/60R18 tyres and full length side steps, the Trailblazer is not your average city slicker.
This is a good looking car. The family resemblance to the rest of the new generation Chevy models is clear, and the front split grille translates well to the Big Brother of the range. The rear view is equally attractive, with large LED tail lights and a massive tail gate merging into a neatly moulded rear bumper. Despite its bulk, the Trailblazer would look as at home in a Sandton driveway as it would camping out under the stars in the Namib desert.
The interior is spacious, with vast leg room for five adults in the standard seating configuration and an additional two folding seats at the rear if required. Luggage space is also capacious, with 1,229 litres in standard format and a truly enormous 1,830 litres if you drop the rear seats. This does reduce dramatically if you need to use the 7-seater option, though.
I found it easy to select my ideal driving position in the electrically powered driver’s seat, and visibility is excellent between the height of the car and the huge electric side mirrors. A rear view camera and rear park assist is standard, which is useful on a car of this size.
The overall impression of the Trailblazer’s interior is classy: finishes are good quality, leather seats are standard and the seats are comfortable enough to encourage you to hit the road out of town as soon as possible. Creature comforts are numerous, with climate control throughout, electric windows, steering wheel controls and cruise control all standard features.
The Trailblazer has Chevrolet’s MyLink 7” touch screen display, allowing you to hook up your phone hands free, stream music and video. It’s an easy to use and quite intuitive system, and the six speaker sound system should be good enough for most people’s needs. There are 4 12 volt sockets on hand and plenty of useful stowage compartments, along with enough cup holders to suit a rugby team.
Our test car was equipped with the 2.8 litre Duramax diesel motor, mated to a six speed auto ‘box. This engine is a four cylinder making [email protected] and a solid [email protected] rpm – good enough to move over 2,700kgs of SUV from 0 to 100 km/h in a claimed 10.6 seconds and a top speed of 180 km/h. I was impressed with the Trailblazer’s performance: it never felt slow off the mark and was an absolute pleasure to drive at highway speeds.
Although the Duramax motor is not especially quiet, its engine note is not intrusive and with so much torque on tap, it rarely needs to work hard. It’s well matched to the auto box and hunting was minimal, even when overtaking. I found it easy to keep overall fuel consumption down to just over 10 litres/100kms, not too far from the claimed combined cycle of 9.5l/100kms.
The Trailblazer is a genuinely capable off roader, although unfortunately I did not have time to fully test its capabilities. Using a rotary switch mounted on the central console, you can select 2 wheel drive high, 4 wheel drive high or 4 wheel drive low with ease. With an approach angle of 30 degrees and a departure angle of 22 degrees, Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control you can surmount most off road obstacles with confidence.
The Trailblazer ticks all the safety boxes, with ABS, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Panic Brake Assist (PBA), Hydraulic Brake Fade Assist, Traction Control, and driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags.
We were impressed by the Trailblazer. It’s an outstanding all-rounder – a real pleasure to drive around town, a super cruiser on the open road, and a genuinely capable off-roader. This car should definitely be on your test drive list – current pricing for the top of the range model we tested is R575,500.00, competitive against similarly and lesser specced SUVs. An added bonus is the Trailblazer’s towing ability – you can safely tow 2,950kgs with an overrun brake equipped trailer and Trailer Sway Assist is standard. Ideal for horsy families, bikers, caravaners and, of course, people who need to tow heavy race cars around…
The Trailblazer comes with a 5 year / 120,000 km warranty and road assistance package and a 5 year / 90,000 km Service Plan.
Follow me on twitter @clarevale or Facebook for more motoring updates and motorsport news.