May 11, 2016: The production-spec mid-life updated version of the Chevrolet Trailblazer was revealed in Brazil recently. It was showcased as a concept at the Bangkok Motor Show in March and was christened the Chevrolet Trailblazer Premier concept. The company has comprehensively updated the new 2017 version inside-out. It has largely focused on the face and the interiors while the side and rear profiles have seen subtle changes. In terms of features, the new Trailblazer has received an updated version of the MyLink infotainment system, which now supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with a new electronic power steering. The 2.8-litre diesel engine and its six-speed automatic transmission have remained unaltered.
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|Variants||Fuel Type||Mileage (kmpl)||Transmission||Engine Description||Power|
|LTZ 4X2 AT||Diesel||8.9||11.45||Automatic||2776cc
||197.2bhp @ 3600rpm|
The SUV segment has seen quite a boom in India in the recent past. New launches from various brands sizzle the market every now and then. The Chevrolet Trailblazer is a real ladder on frame SUV unlike crossovers that have flooded the market like the Renault Duster, Hyundai Creta and many others. The Trailblazer comes out as a replacement to the widely unpopular Captiva. Can the Trailblazer turn things around for Chevrolet, not only in this segment, but in India as a whole? Let's find out!
1. Large cabin space. First two rows are particularly comfortable. Third row is not too bad either with a roomy atmosphere, adjustable headrests and 3 point seatbelts.
2. Torque! 500 Nm is a figure that is unheard of, even in a segment above it.
3. Impressive feature list: projector headlamps, projector foglamps, touchscreen infotainment system etc.
1. Available only in one trim level. Significantly more expensive than an equivalent Fortuner and Endeavour.
2.No manual transmission. Lazy automatic gearbox isn’t too great either.
3. No 4x4/AWD variant. Toyota Fortuner and the Ford Endeavour have a 4x4 variant.
1. Class-leading 253mm of ground clearance. Endeavour = 225mm | Fortuner = 220mm
2. Amongst the biggest cars in its class. Dominating road presence comes standard.
The Trailblazer is Chevrolet’s replacement for the age-old Captiva. While the Captiva sunk without a trace, the Trailblazer wants to go straight for Fortuner’s jugular. It does the basics i.e big size, big list of features and space for 7. Let’s delve deep into the Chevy’s bag of tricks.
Its large and masculine presence is balanced out by plush elements. The Trailblazer plays the size-card very well. From the outside, it looks every bit a macho SUV should.
Now, getting into the finer details, the front is dominated by a powerful dual port radiator grille. A large Golden Bowtie like Chevrolet logo and some chrome accents complete the massive grille. The pullback headlamps makes for a more aggressive look at the front.
The foglamps are tucked away in the lower half of the bumper. They aren’t the usual halogen fogs, but a proper projector setup. They get a dollop of chrome too.
The commanding aura of the front, we thought, came from the hefty position of the bonnet, and the sleek design lines add to this effect.
By the side, the wheel arches are beefed up for a more prominent look, but you would notice some considerable space between the wheels and the surrounding skin.
The 18 inch, 6-spoke alloy wheels don’t look too bad. That said, bigger wheels would have definitely filled in the wheel wells better.
The profile on the Chevy is more or less slab-sided. Just a couple of clean creases run across its length to break the sheer bulk of sheet metal. The large windows, chunky door handles and the roof-rails tie up the profile really well.
The rear is rather clean. The large wrap around tail-lamps have a hint of the previous generation Toyota Fortuner to them. However, the rear 3/4th is possibly the best angle to view the big Chevy in.
The dimensions, in our opinion, are quite appropriate. With a length of 4878mm, a width of 1902mm and a height of 1838mm, it surpasses its closest visual competitors, the Fortuner and Hyundai Sante Fe, in every respect. It also boasts a class leading wheelbase of 2845mm, which also beats its near rivals.
The cabin is large, spacious and very comfortable. The assortment of fine materials, garnishes and highlights are straight from the top-shelf. Quality, although better than the Fortuner isn’t in the league of the new Endeavour.
The visual aesthetic of the inside is pretty much close to what the industry norms are in the segment. The top half of the dashboard is coloured in black, while the lower half is beige for a diversified effect.
The centre console gets a glossy piano black finish, and we felt that it looked just perfect. The console houses a 7-inch touchscreen unit that Chevrolet calls ‘My-Link’. It does support all possible input formats and the audio quality is decent too. However, it does miss out on Satellite Navigation, something that is present on the Endeavour as an option.
The buttons of the HVAC controls are placed in a circular layout beneath the audio system, and at the centre is a screen displaying the temperature. Our favorite bit however is the rotary knob that surrounds the screen. The chrome finished knob controls the temperature - a cool touch!
Integrated at the bottom of the console are two 12V power sockets, along with buttons for the Traction Control and Hill Descent Control.
The chrome plated gear lever brings just enough glitz for any ordinary day, and most passengers would love it. Expect this to get scratched over time (due to rings, other jewellery) though.
The steering wheel is just the right design - feels nice to hold. But we personally found the wheel to be a little too close to the driver's chest.
On the right side the steering wheel hosts buttons for audio and phone, while on the left, cruise control settings are present. It feels rather comfortable over time.
At the front, the instrument cluster houses the speedometer and tachometer in two separate capsules, and at the centre, you have a cluster that displays fuel usage, speed, battery, battery health and many more vital features.The Camaro-inspired design of the dials, along with the vapour-blue illumination looks super-cool, but ever so slightly out of place in an SUV.
Storage space for 1L bottles have been carved out in all doors, and we noted that they are not quite as shallow as the door side pockets generally seen in other vehicles.
Coming to the interior arrangement, the seats have been ergonomically placed.. The high-quality leather makes the cabin a premium place to be in. However, it would be a hassle to keep it clean. The wide black armrest comes with contrasting white stitching, and is wide enough for both front passengers.
The mid row is well spaced, and the seats were larger than we expected. Every passenger gets a neatly incorporated headrest too! An exceptional feature that we observed here was the foldable second row, which can be neatly halved and then tucked away, leaving far more room for the rear row occupants. They however cannot be moved forward to accommodate taller occupants on the third row.
Turn the key and the 2.8 litre engine sputters to life with noise and clatter like typical diesel motor. While the clatter is evident on the outside, the cabin manages to cut the noise off really well.
Once past the initial turbo lag, the 500 Nm of gut-wrenching torque hits you in one whack. If you do plant the right foot hard down, you will be grinning - that’s for sure! The engine can cruise extremely comfortably. 100km/h is dealt with at a lazy 1500rpm - the engine can do this all week long if required!
Ride and Handling:-
The front arm of the suspension has a double wishbone independent mechanism, while the rear has been compounded with a 5-link coil spring. We were happy to notice very little bumps and jerks, and really impressed us in the way it tackled the brutal conditions of Indian roads. Compared to the Fortuner, this model has a slightly softer suspension set-up, and as a result, you're likely to lose resilience at high speeds when driving over some lanky potholes. The passengers in the third row would be uncomfortable at higher speeds, regardless of the road condition. But we've got to say that the ride feels balanced and steady at almost all speeds. In a car of this size, body roll is obvious and expected, but it's not the type or the scale where passengers would feel frightened. In any case, stitching corners should not be on your agenda whilst driving the Trailblazer.
The safety department is upto the mark with airbags, seat belts that come along with pre-tensioners, a warning for the driver's seat belt and ISOFIX child seat anchor points. A strong level of stability is enforced with a brake assistance program, together with traction control.
The model comes in only one variant, which is the LTZ 2WD AT. But the company has loaded it to the brim, all features which one would desire. This includes a theatre dimming effect for the map lamp and centre lamps, illuminated vanity mirror, a driver-side armrest that comes along with a storage box, power steering, and a rear view camera that comes with a 7-inch display. All of this and more is sure to imbue this sole variant with the most polished aura possible.
At the end of the day, the vehicle has its own set of 'wow' factors. But you're going to have to put up with a fair share of turn-offs too. The Trailblazer does seem like a nice alternative to the Toyota Fortuner. If you need a big and comfortable SUV and do not intend on going off-road ever, the Trailblazer fits the bill rather well.
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