Metro Manila has this tendency of transforming into a pond whenever there’s a sudden downpour of rain. This caused midsize SUVs to become one of the common vehicles you see on the road. The category was even one of the most popular in AutoDeal last year, accounting for 15% of all purchases.
The 2017 Trailblazer is perfect for the typical Filipino family with its 7-seat capacity, high ground clearance, and reliable engine. Chevrolet Philippines was kind enough to lend us the top of the line 4x4 Z71 variant so we can get to know it better.
The front end of the 2017 Trailblazer looks more striking, more aggressive, and more composed compared to the older model. It seems like Chevy’s midsize SUV got agitated or provoked but we like its new look. Moreover, the black sticker placed on the hood compliments well to the redesigned fascia. The side and the rear is a carry-over from the previous model while the 18-inch gloss black alloy wheels makes this top-of-the-line variant stand out – talk about style points.
Same as the exterior, the Trailblazer received a number of design updates inside. For one, the window and side mirror controls (found on the driver’s side) are placed in a more relaxed position like that of a sedan. Below the headunit, the circular control panel found on the outgoing model is gone. It was replaced with a new, simple layout that goes well with the overall look of the dashboard.
They removed the gauge covers in the instrument cluster, then surrounded the fuel and temp gauge with a bigger chrome accent. Gauge color theme was now more pleasing to the eye, with the numbers now illuminating white instead of blue. If you’re a tech savvy individual, it’s worth knowing that this Trailblazer is integrated with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Rear aircon comes with independent control, with ceiling-mounted vents to cool down second and third row passengers.
The 2017 Trailblazer is powered by the same engine from the previous model. Its 2.8L Duramax turbodiesel engine puts out 200 hp and 500 Nm of torque mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Despite the new iterations from its competition, the Trailblazer’s power ratings are still untouchable in the midsize SUV segment at this price point.
Another great thing about the new Trailblazer is the lighter steering feel. The electronic power steering system makes it less tiring in comparison with the older model. You’ll appreciate this feature when you’re driving around the congested city streets and winding roads (goodbye biceps workout). In terms of ride comfort, the vehicle could rock your world in case you miss a pothole but, on the flip side, the Trailblazer can absorb Metro Manila’s dilapidated roads within reason.
What about the cabin space? Well, the 2+3+2 seat configuration is the usual design of current midsize SUVs. With that in mind, the second row seats have more than enough head- and leg-room. Tall individuals (5’ 8” and above) would be comfortable at the second row. The third row seats also have a decent head- and leg-room but still not an ideal place for people gifted in height. On the other hand, backing up into a parking space is not a problem for this Trailblazer because the touchscreen infotainment system transforms into a reverse camera.
On the highway, the Trailblazer showed that it’s never short of power. It has good throttle response and the engine shifts right above the 2,500 rpm mark, which allows us to do swift overtaking. It’s also stable and planted on the road when cruising at highway speeds that gives confidence to the driver. Furthermore, driving through the road less travelled is a piece of cake for this midsize SUV.
Fuel economy-wise, the Trailblazer yielded 7 km/l in the city (average speed of 25 km/h). The number goes up when you’re driving on the highway, registering 14 km/l while running at an average speed of 80 km/h.
In roads full of Japanese-brand midsize SUVs, the 2017 Chevrolet Trailblazer 4x4 Z71 is a refreshing sight to look at, and a great ride to drive. If its powerful engine, slew of features, and significantly lower price tag (P1,881,888) than its top of the line competition are not enticing enough, you have to get yourself checked in the nearest Chevrolet dealer.