First Drive: Chevrolet Trailblazer 2.8 LTZ Is a Monster
The Chevy Trailblazer on Indian roads looks like the Incredible Hulk roaming the streets.
It’s massive. Let’s just get that part out of the way. The Chevy Trailblazer on Indian roads looks like the Incredible Hulk roaming the streets. Everything looks tiny in front of it, and all those hatchbacks have something new to look out for and scatter when it approaches! So, if big is your thing, then the Chevrolet Trailblazer delivers that in abundance. The story doesn’t end here, though, because the Trailblazer has more to offer than just immense road presence.
Sticking to the family look, the Chevrolet Trailblazer follows the same design language found on other Chevy SUVs across the globe. The large hood, massive headlights and the large bow tie right up front are all there. It is a broad vehicle that has a nice purposeful stance and it sits proud on those large 18-inch wheels.
Set your eyes on the Trailblazer and you wouldn’t doubt that this behemoth can go just about anywhere. The attention to detail is decent and there’s enough chrome splashed about to enhance its appeal. Bottom line being that the Trailblazer looks the part and you tend to take a minute to soak it all in before climbing aboard.
While the exterior might get your heart to beat a little faster, the interiors are a bit of a let-down. They are a little plain and the fit and finish could have been better for a vehicle in this class, however, you do get some nice touches such as the piano black finish on the centre console, neat icy blue illumination on the instrument cluster and beige leather seats to complement the two-tone dash.
In terms of features, the Trailblazer comes packed with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, six speakers, climate control, steering mounted audio controls and cruise control to name a few. Connectivity is provided through Chevy’s MyLink feature. Overall, you get a decent set of features on board and it stacks up well against its prime competition – namely the Toyota Fortuner and the new Ford Endeavour.
Passenger space on board the Trailblazer can best be defined as a mixed bag of emotions. At first glance, it does seem to be more than ample. The cabin is airy and there is enough shoulder room for second-row passengers thanks to it being a wide vehicle. It can carry a fair amount of cargo as well depending on the seating configuration. Basically, you can get close to 205 litres of cargo on board with all three rows occupied. Fold the third row down and the cargo space increases to 878 litres and if you plan on moving your house, you get the option to fold the second row down as well and this frees up 1,830 litres of cargo space! The second row offers a 60:40 split, while the third row boasts of a 50:50 split in order to further customize your cargo needs.
Also Read: Is India Ready for Pickup Trucks?
However, while there is space, the downside is a lack of comfort. Since the Trailblazer is based on the Colorado pickup truck chassis, it has a rather high floor and second-row passengers will find that they don’t get enough under thigh support which can be an issue on long drives. The third row is best left for kids or very short adults!
Powering the Trailblazer is a 2.8-litre turbocharged diesel unit that produces 200 PS of power @ 3600 rpm and an ample 500 Nm of torque @ 2000 rpm. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox and GM claims that the Trailblazer can deliver an average fuel efficiency of 11.45 kmpl (which isn’t too bad for an SUV this big actually). Fire it up and you can get the Trailblazer to hustle along, however, the tall gearing does take away a little in terms of how quickly it gets off the mark. To put it simply, the Trailblazer is more of a cruiser.
Don’t expect to break any speed run records with this, but revel in the knowledge that you can keep this SUV pegged at a steady pace and drive all day without a hassle. The ride quality is commendable and it soaks in all the little bumps and potholes with ease. It feels nice and planted on the highway and you always feel in control.
Also Read: Review: Mahindra TUV300 is Surprisingly Awesome.
Being big and tall (it has 253mm of ground clearance), you’d expect it to be wafty around corners, however, it remains composed. To keep matters in check, the Trailblazer comes fitted with Traction Control, ESP, EBD, ABS and Corner Brake Control as well. It is quite a well-behaved machine on tarmac.
If you decide to venture out on a nice dirt road or head out where there is no road, you’ll be pleased to know that the Trailblazer comes with hill descent control and hill brake assist as well. You also get skid plates and reasonable approach and departure angles (and let’s not forget the massive amount of ground clearance it offers). Sadly, it doesn’t offer you a 4x4 system.
Before you wonder why, the reasoning is simple – most people who buy the Trailblazer will most likely never use it on any surface other than tarmac. It would make for a fine off-roader, but sadly the bean counters don’t see the numbers coming from there as it would escalate the price of the Trailblazer even further. Regardless, you can take it out for a bit of fun in the dirt – just don’t venture too deep into anything!
So we come to the big question – should you buy the Trailblazer? Unfortunately, I don’t have a straight answer to this primarily due to the fact that the Trailblazer does face stiff competition. Choosing between the Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour (launching on the 20th of January 2016) and the Trailblazer is where the conflict lies and just about every prospective customer will have to battle out the pros and cons of each in their mind a couple times over before making their final decision.
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