Chevrolet has come out swinging in the seven-seater SUV market once again, with a revised Trailblazer line-up that represents even better value for money and gives buyers more options in terms of drivetrains and specification.
The 2017 model year range now comprises five manual and automatic versions of the rear-wheel-drive 2.5-litre LT, rear and four-wheel-drive auto and manual versions of the 2.8 LTZ and a new flagship in the shape of the Z71, which is based on the LTZ 4×4. The price band is from R464 000 to R623 200 for the Z71, which pays homage to Chevrolet’s rich ‘Zee’ car performance heritage.
Chevrolet Trailblazer buyers can now opt for an uprated 2.5-litre turbodiesel engine (VGT – Variable Geometry Turbo) with a six-speed automatic transmission in the LT trim level. This 132kW/440Nm combination is unique to models equipped with automatic transmissions and gives it impressive punch exactly where it is needed, irrespective of load. Combined fuel consumption for the 2.5L Automatic models is rated at 8.6 l/100 km with 226 g/km of CO2 emissions. Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes 11.0 seconds with a top speed limited to 180 km/h.
A ‘gradient braking’ function assists drivers with maintaining speed on difficult down hills – an especially useful safety benefit when towing. A fast-acting limited slip differential is ideal in this regard too (and also when driving on low traction surfaces), and remains a feature of all models.
The familiar 2.5L Duramax four-cylinder turbo-diesel (FGT – Fixed Geometry Turbo) engine continues to do duty in the 2.5 LT when matched with the six speed manual transmission. Power is rated at 120 kW, with 380 Nm of torque. Combined fuel consumption is 7.6 l/100 km, CO2 198 g/km. Acceleration form 0 to 100 km/h takes 11.8 seconds with a top speed limited to 180 km/h.
Top of the range models come equipped with the proven 2.8 litre Duramax Turbo-diesel (VGT) engine which boasts 144 kW, and a class leading 500 Nm of torque. No other body-on-frame SUV on the market can match this proven powerplant when it comes to torque output, which makes tackling even the toughest on-road as well as off-road challenges a walk in the park for the Trailblazer.
The combined fuel consumption figure for models with this engine is 9.5 l/100 km, CO2 is 249 g/km. Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes 10.4 seconds with a top speed limited to 180 km/h.
Buyers have a choice of either a six speed automatic transmission with manual selection mode and grade braking or a six speed manual.
LTZ models are available with optional four wheel drive with low range, which is the default set-up on the Z71. Changing between the two-high, four-high, and four-low drive modes is just a turn of a dial away.
Brakes are equipped with four channel ABS with electronic Brake Force Distribution on all models. Brakes are 300 mm ventilated discs in front and 295 mm discs at the rear.
The new Trailblazer is now fitted with an all new Electronic Power Steering (EPS) system. The new EPS system features Active Pull and Smooth Road Shake Compensation which all add to a smoother more refined driving experience.
Active Pull Compensation constantly measures steering wheel torque being applied by the driver to maintain the vehicle’s path. When the software detects extra effort being used, the steering assist motor adds torque in the proper direction to prevent the driver from having to make corrections to keep the vehicle on course. The torque assistance makes steering easier thus reducing driver fatigue and effort.
Smooth Road Shake Compensation reduces steering wheel vibration caused an imbalance from the front wheels. The rotational vibration transmitted to the steering wheel is referred to as Smooth Road Shake and is a phenomenon that occurs only at highway speeds and on smooth roads.
The Trailblazers power steering control module employs active controls to sense and reduce the periodic torque component applied to the steering wheel caused by front wheel imbalance. This software feature will compensate for a specific range of imbalance. If the imbalance is above a certain level, the power steering control module will disable the smooth road shake compensation software feature.
The Chevrolet face has become a familiar one on South African roads and the Trailblazer’s genes are very much apparent. The trademark ‘bowtie bar’ is now wider. Upper and lower grille sections now run the full width of the nose and have a series of bolder, horizontal, slats. Maximum visibility is ensured thanks to daylight running lights – which are of the powerful light-emitting diode (LED) type in the case of the LTZ. The new bonnet has sleeker contours on the leading edge.
Wider tyres (255mm width compared to 245 previously) on new 17-inch wheels are fitted to LT derivatives and give it a more purposeful stance, while LTZ versions remain on 18-inch wheels with a glossy black design for the Z71. Tyre size is unchanged at 265/60.
Inside, the trailblazer boasts a newly designed dashboard and front console with a contemporary upmarket feel, enhanced by soft-touch materials and contrast stitching.
The Trailblazer is well suited to both the urban commute as well as long cross country adventures. It has all the comfort and convenience features expected from a luxury SUV of this size including no fewer than five points for charging devices and eight cup holders.
A unique feature of the Trailblazer is the provision of adjustable air conditioning for passengers in all three rows.
Fold-flat third row seating is also a key defining feature of this thoughtfully-designed family SUV. The new Trailblazer offers a more hushed ambience in the cabin thanks to a revised sound-deadening package and a more premium look and feel has been achieved with more widespread use of soft-touch materials and updated satellite controls on the leather-rimmed steering wheel. Leather upholstery is fitted as standard irrespective of the model.
Another unique feature available on all models fitted with automatic transmissions is Remote Vehicle Start which allows the vehicle to be started from outside using the buttons on the key fob. This functionality allows for additional driver and passenger comfort by activating the climate control system and rear demister depending on ambient conditions. In this mode, the vehicle remains locked and cannot be driven until the key is inserted into the ignition slot.
Luggage capacity ranges from 205 litres with all 3 rows upright, 1229 litres with the 3rd row down, to 1830 litres with the 2nd and 3rd row seats folded flat.
The centrepiece of the Trailblazer’s cabin is the seven-inch touch screen. The second generation MyLink system is now Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatible which will enable consumers to use smartphones and associated applications effortlessly and seamlessly once connected via USB. Normal Bluetooth connectively remains however, even if the device is not paired in this way. This will mean that on LT versions phone-based navigation systems such as Google Maps can be displayed on the screen, while LTZ already have a fully-integrated satellite navigation system.
Safety equipment across the range still includes ABS with EBD, PBA (Panic Brake Assist), HBFA (Hydraulic Brake Fade Assist), seven airbags (including full-length curtain airbags) – the Trailblazer also picks up a driver’s knee airbag for added protection, pre-tensioning seatbelts, ISOFIX child seat anchors and front park assist.
LTZ models benefit from the addition of Stabilitrak electronic stability/traction control, HDC (Hill Descent Control), and TSC (Trailer Sway Control). A rear mounted camera parking assistance system with cross traffic alert is also fitted.
Technology added to LTZ models for the 2017 model year are forward collision alert, lane departure warning, side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert and tyre pressure monitoring; giving it one of the most comprehensive driver aid packages available at this level.