South Africans love SUV’s; I’m almost certain it’s one of the most popular vehicles on the roads today, that is if you can look passed the trucks, buses and taxis. On a serious note though, they are awfully practical and offer a purpose.
For a long time, the Fortuner has been the king of this ring and, to an extent, will probably still be for a while. It is established and, as with most things, people love to follow other people and do what they do.
But then you get that certain individual who steps away from the crowd and does something different. Instead of buying Fortuner, he buys a Trailblazer and starts his own trend… see where I’m going with this?
The Trailblazer LTZ is a good, solid, practical vehicle and its inception came with one goal: to dethrone the Fortuner.
So initially, everything about the Trailblazer had to be made better or be better at most things.
The 3.6LTZ is the flagship model of the range, and rightfully so. It’s fitted with all the bells and whistles available in this section of the market, which is mostly all factory-fitted. While the interiors are similarly designed, they are rather different.
The Trailblazer gives you an SUV type of feeling when you hop behind the wheel. Mostly SUV’s are just bakkies, which run on the same suspension. The Trailblazer features a 5 point rear suspension with gas shock absorbers which claims to not only ride and handle better, but also offers better articulation. The ride certainly is pretty good on the road and fairly acceptable on very bad corrugated gravel.
The interior layout, some might say is a little plasticky, however, to be honest, for the duty this vehicle is meant to do, I really think it is spot on. If they had gone the soft touch route, with leather here and there, you’d have it scruffed up in no time and we all know what dusty and grubby leather looks like. This vehicle was intended to take you to work and out to the farm, heck while you are at it, take it to the beautiful mountain kingdom!
The 3.6LTZ off road is extremely capable with traction control aiding those slippery situations and on the fly 4wd is switch-able for added, sure-footed driving on really muddy or slippery roads. We’ve tested the Trailblazer in various conditions and the traction control kicked in every time things go even the slightest out of hand. A low range transfer case is also standard on the 3.6, with a limited slip differential in the rear. There are rumours of a diff lock, which is available as an add on accessory from the dealer. Hill Start assist and hill decent control is standard on all 4×4 models.
Our LTZ model was fitted with leather seats and an electric driver adjustable seat. The windows also offer 1 touch up and down. The radio and telephone is also operated via the multifunction steering wheel. The radio supports USB, but via micro-usb only.
The 3.6 has a gem of an engine. The 176kw engine is responsive and very economical. We averaged 9.3km/l on our daily drive and ended up with a final figure of 8.8km/l after performance testing. The 0-100km came up in a staggering 9.6seconds.
The 6 speed automatic box is manually switch-able and I found this extremely helpful, especially when off the beaten track. I also liked the fact that I could hold my gears longer on the road if I wanted to. This also had a positive effect on fuel consumption.
Overall the new 3.6 Trailblazer offers good value for money with a decent engine which is not only economical for a petrol, but offers pokey performance and decent acceleration over all. The high ground clearance also makes it very competent off the beaten track. It’s a true seven-seater, where adults would actually be able to use the 3rd row of seats, should they need to.
All Trailblazers come with a 5 year / 120 000km warranty and service plan.
Price: R479 500
For more info, www.chevrolet.co.za