Chev offers more options with its 7-seater Trailblazer

2017-03-15 08:22

CHEVROLET has recently revised its Trailblazer range to give buyers in the market for a seven-seater vehicle more options as far as drivetrain and specification levels are concerned.

The range now comprises five vehicles to choose from with new 2.5 LT Auto and 2.8 LTZ Z71 4x4 Auto models.

This will now allow buyers to choose between a manual and an automatic version of the 2.5 D LT 4x2 Trailblazer, as well as three 2.8D models - all with automatic transmissions.

In the 2.8D range there is a 4x2 and a 4x4 LTZ option, as well as the flagship Z71 which is based on the 4x4 LTZ option with some extra specs.

Express on Wheels recently had the opportunity to spend a week with the Trailblazer 2.8D LTZ 4x4 Auto (priced at R624 300), as well as the Trailblazer 2.8D LTZ 4x4 AT Z71 (R634 500).

What makes the Z71 different is a few changes in the looks department, such as the Z71 decal package (inside and outside), a gloss back B-pillar finish, black lower bodyside mouldings, black alloy wheels, door handles and mirrors.

Exterior

If you like a compact SUV or crossover vehicle then you might find the Trailblazer a bit big for you – being a 7-seater after all. And the extra seats and space will definitely cost you in terms of not being able to fit into too tight parking spaces.

However, compared to its main competitors, the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Everest, the Trailblazer can definitely hold its own in the looks department. And while big on the outside, one will be pleasantly surprised with the car-like feel on the inside with the added bonus of the high seating position.

The new Trailblazer features a bolder nose with new bonnet and headlights and redesigned lower valance, as well as daytime running lights (LED on the LTZ).

Interior

Befitting its price range, it is a high-spec vehicle. It has steering wheel controls for the audio system and navigation, as well as plenty of safety assistance features such as a rear camera and sensors – which are always handy in a car of this size where visibility at the back and around the vehicle is often limited.

The stitched leather trim, even on the dashboard, and touches of chrome give it a high-class feel.

Leather upholstery is fitted as standard on all the models.

The layout on the dashboard is simple and easy to operate. It is dominated by a touchscreen where the rear camera view is displayed as soon as the vehicle is put in reverse gear.

The second generation MyLink infotainment system is Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatible and smartphones and applications can be used via USB. Normal Bluetooth connectivity remains, even if the device is not paired in this way.

On LT versions phone-based navigation systems such as Google Maps can be displayed on the screen, while the LTZ models have a fully integrated satellite navigation system.

It has five points for charging devices and eight cup holders.

The back-seat passengers are treated to quite a lot of space –even those in the third row. Each row has its own air con and plenty of stowage space for bottles, cups and other paraphanalia.

The second row seats can also be tilted forward easily to allow the passengers room to get into the back seats. All of them have headrests.

The third row of seats can be folded flat for more bootspace.

Automatic start

Another unique feature available on all models fitted with automatic transmissions, is Remote Vehicle Start which allows the vehicle to be started from outside by pushing a button on the key.

This is especially handy in extreme temperatures allowing the air conditioning to be up and running at the right temperature before the passengers enter the vehicle.

In this mode, the vehicle remains locked and cannot be driven until the key is inserted into the ignition slot.

Ride

The Trailblazer offers much the same ride as the other 7-seaters on the market built on the platform of a bakkie.

It offers a more refined ride than a bakkie would, but is at times a bit floaty – especially at speed.

The new Trailblazer is now fitted with an all-new Electronic Power Steering (EPS) system which features Active Pull and Smooth Road Shake Compensation for a smoother driving experience.

It does offer more than enough power for long-distance travelling, and even with the automatic gearbox, overtaking on the open road was a breeze. The automatic gearbox also coped well with the peak-hour urban commute and obstacles such as speedhumps and traffic circles.

Fuel consumption during my time with the Trailblazer was around 11.2 litres/100km (open road and urban travelling) and the trip computer gave the best consumption achieved as 7.9 litres/100km.

Top of the range models come equipped with the 2.8 litre Duramax Turbodiesel (VGT) engine delivering 144 kW and 500 Nm of torque.

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 transmission. All models have a 76 litre fuel tank.

LTZ models are available with optional four-wheel drive with low range.

Safety features

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 and a driver’s knee airbag), pre-tensioning seatbelts, ISOFIX child seat anchors and front park assist.

LTZ models also have 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 - meaning the driver is alerted when there is traffic approaching from the side behind you if you want to reverse.

Other technology added to LTZ models for the 2017 model year are forward collision alert, lane departure warning, side blind zone alert and tyre pressure monitoring.

Pricing (incl. VAT):

Trailblazer 2.5D LT 4x2 MT R471 000

Trailblazer 2.5D LT 4x2 AT R489 100

Trailblazer 2.8D LTZ 4x2 AT R562 800

Trailblazer 2.8D LTZ 4x4 AT R624 300

Trailblazer 2.8D Z71 4x4 AT R634 500

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