Its massive size attracts massive attention. People not only look ‘up’ to you driving the Trailblazer, many also give it the right of way. However, not everything appears perfectly fine—either its driving dynamics, or an engine trying hard to pull its massive weight, or the body roll that appears at the drop of a hat … something feels odd steering this big, brawny SUV.
Measuring a length of 4,878 mm, width of 2,132 mm and height of 1,851 mm—with a wheelbase of 2,845 mm—Chevrolet Trailblazer is the largest SUV in its class. (Yes, it is bigger than Toyota Fortuner.) It has a high ground clearance, too, of 253 mm. Look at it head-on and you will notice a ‘body-in wheels-out’ pattern. A prominent Chevrolet design cue is the dual-port grille. This SUV, clearly, conveys a sense of confidence and power.
The 18-inch alloy wheels emphasise the visual strength and, on the sides, there are integrated running boards that aid entry and exit from the vehicle.
As far as electronics are concerned, the Trailblazer gets projector lamps that provide good visibility at night and in low-light conditions. At the rear, there are horizontal LED tail lamps. The outside rear-view mirrors are power-adjustable and there is a rear-view camera along with park assist.
The cabin, as expected, has acres of space. The seven-seater Trailblazer features a three-row tumble and fold-flat seating. While the visibility from the driver’s seat is impressive, what is little less striking is the dashboard design and the materials used. The interior combines car-like characteristics with the boldness expected of a true SUV, but the plastic quality is not what you expect from a premium vehicle. Clearly, while the cabin is well-appointed, the plastic quality and overall theme may just disappoint you. But then one must keep in mind that its closest competitor, the Fortuner, doesn’t score high on plastic quality either (in this aspect, Hyundai Santa Fe is far ahead of the competition).
The good part is that seats are tastefully done and are very comfortable. The rear air-conditioning controls are located on the ceiling and include four vents for the second and third rows.
There are 32 storage compartments located throughout the interior, including a covered centre bin for concealing valuable items, and a dual glove box.
The Trailblazer gets the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system, featuring a seven-inch colour touchscreen with a six-speaker system, Bluetooth hands-free calling function and music streaming, apart from auxiliary port and USB. The MyLink touchscreen also doubles up as a reverse parking camera in combination with park assist; however, the images the camera projects onto the screen are not really ‘crystal-clear’.
Powering it is the second-generation Duramax four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This 2.8-litre mill produces 200 PS of power and 500Nm of torque—on paper, this is the most powerful engine in its class.
Although there is a lot of power under the hood, it somehow doesn’t reflect under actual driving conditions. Press the accelerator and the engine growls, but this mammoth of an SUV takes some time to pick up speed. Don’t get me wrong, the acceleration is not slow, but is slower than what you may expect from a 500Nm engine. Although the SUV’s straight-line performance—as well as its towing and payload capacity—is impressive, there is a good amount of body roll because of its tall stature. SUVs this size do have a body roll—the Fortuner is a case in point—just that in the Trailblazer it feels a bit over the top.
Off the road, the Trailblazer feels at home, tackling soft desert sand and slush with equal ease. On the road, at least on a straight line, it has car-like handling dynamics. The company-claimed fuel economy is 11.45 kmpl.
There are ample, and needed, safety features, such as dual airbags, electronic stability control, ABS with EBD, cornering brake control, hill-start assist, hill-descent control, traction control system, panic-brake assist and hydraulic-brake assist. Further, its body-on-frame architecture with the support of a five-link rear suspension lends it not only robustness but also stability.
The Trailblazer—which comes only in the automatic variant and is a rear-wheel drive vehicle—is priced Rs 26.4 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Compare that to Rs 25.17 for the Fortuner 4×2 and Rs 28.3 lakh for the Santa Fe 2WD, and the Trailblazer finds a sweet middle spot. It looks more macho than the Santa Fe, but its cabin is less cosseting. It looks bigger than the Fortuner, but then it is not a ‘Toyota’.
Does Size matter?
* It is the largest SUV in its class.
* Gets highest ground clearance in its segment.
* It is also the most powerful SUV in its segment.
* 500Nm of torque and 200PS of power.
* Gets several first-in-class features.
* Priced Rs 26.4 lakh. Fortuner is Rs 25.17 lakh, Santa Fe is Rs 28.3 lakh (for similar trim levels).