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Date: 20 Jan 2017 Author Type: Press Release
Author: Julian Lurie Edited by Donovan Banks
Source: Julian Lurie Edited by Donovan Banks
The Chevrolet Trailblazer seven-seater SUV range has been completely updated and upgraded for 2017 and I was privileged to have two variants on test over the holiday period. I can honestly confirm that the changes for the 2017 year are all for the better offering better value for money, improved management of noise, vibration harshness, and driver aids such as lane departure warning and blind spot alert for LTZ trim level models.
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 4x4. Prices start at R464 000 up to R623 200 for the Z71, which pays homage to Chevrolet's rich 'Zee' car performance heritage. The models featured in these road impressions are the Trailblazer 2.8D LTZ 4x2 and the Trailblazer 2.8D LTZ 4x4 both with the 6-speed automatic gearbox.
Viewed from the front, the Trailblazer takes on a styling that echoes the North American trucks. It incorporates the Chevrolet’s bold face design defined by a strong dual-port grille with the traditional “bow-tie” emblem placed on the separator bar between the two ports. On the new model the trademark 'bowtie bar' is now wider while the upper and lower grille sections now run the full width of the nose and have a series of bolder, horizontal slats.
The new bonnet has sleeker contours on the leading edge. Maximum visibility is ensured thanks to daylight running lights - which are of the powerful LED type in the case of the LTZ.
Viewed from the sides, the Trailblazer has twin aluminium roof rails and black side steps which are much needed to climb into the high-standing vehicle. The wheel-arches on the two LTZ models were filled with 12-arm alloy wheels shod with beefy Bridgestone Dueler All-terrain H/T 265/60R18 tyres.
Moving inside, the Trailblazer boasts a newly designed dashboard and front console with a contemporary upmarket feel, enhanced by soft-touch materials, leather upholstery and updated satellite controls on the leather-rimmed steering wheel. 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, eight cup holders and a rear view camera. A unique feature of the Trailblazer is the provision of adjustable air conditioning for passengers in all three rows.
Another unique feature available on all models fitted with the automatic gearbox is the Remote Vehicle Start which allows the vehicle to be started from outside using the buttons on the key fob, 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.
From behind the wheel, the seats are comfortable, the driving position is good, and there is decent rear vision. Headroom is more than generous up front and there's plenty of legroom for adults in the middle row. The third row will also accommodate a pair of adults with reasonable room. Luggage capacity ranges from 205 litres with all 3 rows upright, 1 229 litres with the 3rd row down, to 1 830 litres with the 2nd and 3rd row seats folded flat.
The centre-piece of the Trailblazer's cabin is the seven-inch touch screen. The second generation MyLink system is now Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatible, and is by far the easiest to use in the segment. It’s also intuitive with clean, crisp graphics and is lighting fast in operation. Smartphones and associated applications respond effortlessly and seamlessly once connected via USB, and a fully-integrated satellite navigation system.
Safety equipment includes ABS with EBD, Panic Brake Assist, Hydraulic Brake Fade Assist, seven airbags, Stabilitrak electronic stability/traction control, Hill Descent Control, Trailer Sway Control, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert and tyre pressure monitoring.
The two LTZ models were powered by Chev’s proven 2.8 litre Duramax Turbo-diesel engine making 144 kW at 3 500 rpm and a healthy 500 Nm of torque from 2 000 rpm which is which beats all other body-on-frame SUVs on the market.
Mated to the 6-speed automatic gearbox with manual selection mode and grade braking, according to the specs both the 4x2 and 4x4 versions will accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 10.4 seconds with top speed limited to 180 km/h. Combined fuel consumption figures are given as 9.5 l/100 km with CO2 emissions at 249 g/km, and the tank holds 76 litres.
Equipped with four channel ABS with electronic Brake Force Distribution, ventilated discs in front and solid discs at the rear, the Trailblazer has excellent braking performance.
The 4x4 LTZ auto model with four-wheel drive, is simple to operate so to change between the two-high, four-high, and four-low drive modes, all you do is rotate the dial to the mode required and that’s it.
On the road, both variants were very impressive and so much more refined compared to the previous model, while the new electric power steering reduces steering effort and is very accurate even at high speeds. Also the Trailblazer is a large vehicle, and for driving around town, the lighter steering makes for easier parking and maneuvering in confined places. At idle and at parking speeds there is a bit of diesel clatter in the cab, but as the speed builds up, it quietens down and is just as quiet as the petrol models.
Travelling on the freeways at the 120km/h legal limit with the auto in 6th gear, the motor turns at a relaxed 1 900 rpm, and when extra power in called for, like for overtaking, the box responds instantly to ensure an easy overtake. There is some body roll in fast cornering, but the road-holding is well contained. On gravel roads both models now have a much more planted and stable feel while the revised suspension does a good job ironing out the rough parts.
I took the LTZ 4x4 to my usual off road testing track which is not severe but never-the-less good for testing a 4x4’s capability. Selecting 4x4 low range, and thanks to its very good approach, break-over, departure angles and ground clearance, the Trailblazer breezed through the obstacles making it all look so easy. The new Chevrolet Trailblazer is a very impressive SUV, and in addition to its good performance, comfy interior, excellent MyLink system and high level of standard equipment, it is also very competitively priced.
 The recommended retail selling price of the Chevrolet Trailblazer 2.8D LTZ 4x2 6-speed automatic is R552 800 and the Trailblazer 2.8D LTZ 4x4 6-speed automatic is R613 200.00 . The prices include a5-year / 90 000 kms service plan.