Trailblazer - more refined and safer than before

2016-10-13 06:00
Photo: supplied The new Chevrolet Trailblazer.

Photo: supplied The new Chevrolet Trailblazer.

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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 4x4. The price band is from R464 000 to R623 200 for the Z71, which pays homage to Chevrolet’s rich “Zee” car performance heritage.

“The new Trailblazer brings together superior levels of refinement, styling, comfort and technology with class-leading performance and drivability to meet the versatile needs of increasingly discerning customers,” said Brian Olson, vice president vehicles sales, service and marketing General Motors Sub-Saharan Africa.


· New 2.5-litre LT model fitted with six-speed automatic transmission. Upgraded Duramax engine for this auto model rated at a class-leading 132kW and 440Nm.

· Improved management of noise, vibration harshness reduces cabin noise by more than half (four decibels).

· Driver aids such as lane departure warning and blind spot alert for LTZ trim level models.

· Bolder nose with new bonnet and headlights and redesigned lower valance, while retaining the distinctive horizontal bar separating the updated upper and lower grilles.

· Next generation MyLink 2.0 multimedia interface, fully compatible with both Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

· Daytime running lights (LED on the LTZ) for heightened visibility.

· New LTZ Z71 flagship gets ‘blacked-out’ wheels, door handles and mirrors along with a unique decal treatment for a distinctive visual persona.

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 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. All models have a 76 litre fuel tank.

All Trailblazer models (bar the 2.5 manual – 2515 kg) can legally pull a braked trailer weighing 2 965kilograms.

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.

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.

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.

The Trailblazer is a very attractive proposition in this segment with its intelligent tumble flat seven-seat configuration, generous equipment, excellent safety levels and established engines backed up by Chevrolet’s Complete Care after sales package with a best-in-class 5-year/120 000 km warranty and a highly-competitive 5-year and 90 000 km service plan.

“The recent upgrade reaffirms that the Trailblazer is great value – in fact, it is better value than ever - with more surprise and delight features than its rivals, especially in the way it integrates with mobile devices.

“Take the new safety equipment into account and the LTZ versions compare very favourably to more expensive vehicles as far as technology goes. At the other end of the range, the combination of the automatic box with a high output version of the 2.5-litre in an LT grade will make Trailblazer accessible to a wider audience, while the styling update means it is still very contemporary too,” said Olson.

- Supplied.

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