Chevy Trail­blazer Facelift tested

2.8D LTZ 4x4

Nam Wheels - - Front Page -

Right, so you live in Subur­bia, have a cou­ple of kids and lead an ac­tive life­style.

Where be­fore a “Kombi”, some sta­tion wagon or 4x4 dou­ble-cab may have done the trick, your next au­to­mo­tive pur­chase must tick all those boxes.

Stand around any re­spectable Namib­ian braai and most at­ten­dees would strongly ad­vise Toy­ota's re­cur­rent For­tuner, but we at Namwheels would like to sug­gest the new Chevro­let Trail­blazer...

That's right, Chevy has a siz­able and rugged seven-seater SUV with the choice of two beefy Turbo-diesels, manual or au­to­matic gear­boxes, rear or four-wheel drive and var­i­ous trim lev­els.

We tested the sec­ond-best 2.8D 4x4 LTZ (Au­to­matic) model for a week, and this SUV was de­liv­ered to us in taste­ful grey metal­lic with black leather.

This Trail­blazer – any Trail­blazer – need not fear the com­pe­ti­tion when it comes to size and di­men­sions.

It's a big boy (4.9m length, 1.84m height) with a tow­er­ing driv­ing po­si­tion and rather com­mend­able min­i­mum ground clear­ance of 221mm.

Chunky chrome de­tails, fat 265/60R18 tyres and fresh light clus­ters com­plete a modern stature.

The brawny 2.8L Du­ra­max four-cylin­der turbo-diesel de­vel­ops up to 144kw or a colos­sal 500Nm in a rather noisy but oth­er­wise im­pres­sive fash­ion.

Its huge torque band peaks at 2,000rpm and the mo­tor is usu­ally kept in its happy place – the mid-range – by a stretchy, CVT­like, au­to­matic gear­box.

Full throt­tle is hardly nec­es­sary and the 2.8L never ven­tures be­yond 3,500rpm be­cause it doesn't have to. LTZ will even lay down rub­ber dur­ing spir­ited starts.

Its steer­ing and han­dling are se­date and spongy, well within tol­er­ances of this ve­hi­cle class. A plus point is its rear coil­sprung sus­pen­sion.

This also helps with the car's off-road abil­i­ties al­though I has­ten to add that we barely tested them. A bit of dirt road and a few soaked ditches were all we tra­versed while test­ing its 2 High, 4 High and 4 Low set­ting.

This Chevy has the right in­gre­di­ents that will surely help a skilled driver to get to their des­ti­na­tion off-road.

The in­te­rior is a good blend of hardy util­ity and car- like fi­nesse with many im­pres­sive gad­gets and a few stylish fea­tures scat­tered around the cabin.

We awarded gold stars to the funky lo­gos and chrome high­lights, se­lectable rear air-con, touch-screen me­dia/nav­i­ga­tion unit, com­pre­hen­sive trip com­puter and the horde of driver aids.

Be­sides sta­bil­ity and trac­tion con­trols, this butch beast of­fers you park beep­ers, re­verse cam­era, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, blind spot as­sist, col­li­sion warn­ing and hill coast­ing or brak­ing func­tions.

That's quite im­pres­sive for this util­i­tar­ian ve­hi­cle cat­e­gory, al­though some di­rect com­peti­tors of­fer sim­i­lar good­ies.

At roughly N$625,000 the Trail­blazer is well within the ball­park of chief ri­val pric­ing, trad­ing a few grand for a gizmo here or kilo­watt there.

Un­for­tu­nately it is the thirsti­est at a claimed 9.5L/100km and we strug­gled to get it be­low 11L/100km on our mixed driv­ing rou­tine. The 76L fuel tank is also not the largest of its seg­ment.

An­other crit­i­cism hit the mid­dle seat­ing row po­si­tion – which is too far for­ward be­cause of the far rear seats.

These are only suit­able for small peeps and leave lit­tle room be­hind them: 205L and a small hid­den com­part­ment. Flat­ten them again to get 1,229L and fold the mid­dle ones for up to 1,830L.

Other than that, the sturdy Trail­blazer with its many new fea­tures seam­lessly in­te­grated into our busy life­style and, bar­ring a few nar­row park­ing bays, never re­ally wor­ried us.

It may be ex­pen­sive but you get lots of metal for your money. Never mind space, brawn and gad­gets.

Text Hanjo Stier Images G.M. South Africa

ButchFord pres­ence and new gad­gets - we test the up­dated Chevro­let Trail­blazer.

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