Chevy Trailblazer Facelift tested
2.8D LTZ 4x4
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.
ButchFord presence and new gadgets - we test the updated Chevrolet Trailblazer.