The updated entry-level version of Chevrolet’s Trailblazer is offered at a pretty good price. It also comes with a surprising amount of kit. But it faces some stiff competition…
The Chevrolet Trailblazer received some minor updates earlier this year, and while none of the changes were particularly dramatic, they did result in a more impressive overall package.
While it might not seem like much of a change on paper, the Trailblazer is now available with a new Dark Ash Grey interior. Why is this significant? Well, South Africans aren’t too fond of light cream interiors, so a darker cabin is always preferable. The darker colour also manages to make the cabin seem more plush and upmarket than the lighter colour of old.
Another nice addition is the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system, which is standard on all models – even the 2.5 LT we tested. MyLink brings smartphone technology to the Trailblazer with a large seven-inch touch-screen display and a host of media capabilities. There are video and picture playback, full audio format support linked to six speakers, USB and AUX integration, as well as Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free cellphone use and audio streaming.
The updated Trailblazer also features a new, multi-information central LCD display panel. It provides the usual trip computer readouts, as well as two new menus for additional vehicle particulars. The information display imparts useful information such as battery voltage, an adjustable speed warning, transmission fluid temperature (particularly useful when off-roading), total engine hours and an oil-life indicator.
The additional economy gauges include an instantaneous throttle position indicator that shows when economical driving is being achieved, as well as a fuel economy graph that relates the fuel-consumption record for the last 50km.
Under the bonnet, the 2.5 LT model’s 2,5-litre oilburner now offers 120 kW of power (up by 9%) and 380 Nm of torque (up by 8,5%). It is mated to a six-speed manual transmission, and the Trailblazer feels eager and very willing to accelerate. In fact, its overall performance really surprised us during our test. The increase in power and torque is undoubtedly noticeable, making the Chevrolet very pleasant to drive. Overtaking at 120 km/h is easy.
The 2.5 LT lacks some of the features of the more expensive 2.8 LTZ models. For instance, there’s no 4×4 option, no reverse camera and no leather seats. It also doesn’t boast the LTZ safety features, such as ESC (Electronic Stability Control) and TCS (Traction Control System), HDC (Hill Descent Control), TSC (Trailer Sway Control), and EDC (Engine Drag Control).
That said, the 2.5 LT does have ABS with EBD, PBA (Panic Brake Assist), HBFA (Hydraulic Brake Fade Assist), a limited slip differential, six airbags including the two additional side airbags, Isofix child seat anchors, a collapsible steering column and remote central locking with auto-locking doors.
It also has cruise control, a multi-function leather-bound steering wheel, four 12V power sockets, side steps the MyLink system and 11 cup holders, so it isn’t lacking in features.
If you don’t plan on venturing too far off road, the 2.5 Trailblazer is an excellent buy, offering loads of space and features for the price. Like that other bakkie-based SUV, the Fortuner, it doesn’t quite boast the soft, comfortable ride and refinement of some other SUVs priced around the R400 000 mark, but you get more for your money.
The Trailblazer is a big SUV with loads of packing space and a third row of seating that can be folded away when not needed. However, the price is still a factor. It retails at R398 100 – a good price, but not as good as that of the ever-popular Fortuner. The 2.5D-4D Fortuner retails at R372 400, and has excellent resale value.
But the 2.5 LT Trailblazer now has more power and torque than the 2.5 Fortuner, and has enough kit to tempt buyers away from the Toyota. It’s definitely worth a test drive!
CHEVROLET TRAILBLAZER 2.5D LT
Engine: 2,5-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged, diesel
Power: 120 kW @ 3600 r/min
Torque: 380 Nm @ 2000 r/min
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Fuel tank: 76 litres
Price: R398 100
Service plan: 5-year/90 000km
Warranty: 5-year/120 000km