Tried & Tested: The 2017 Trailblazer LTZ

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Ready to go wherever your passion will take you


The Chevrolet Trailblazer has been known to the public since the 2000s. Unfortunately, production ended in 2008, but luckily for
fans,resumed after a few years, with the company re-starting production in 2012.

The new 2017 Chevrolet Trailblazer is certainly one of the best mid-size SUVs on the market. Starting at AED 99,900, the Trailblazer offers not only seven seats; it also takes you wherever your passion leads you. The 2017 model had a facelift, and we had the chance to test drive the top of the line model, the LTZ.

As a new father, I have had to look differently at the car market with new demands and requirements. In a country like the UAE there are a lot of chances to go off-road and so an SUV is the best choice of car if you don’t want to compromise on anything. The challenge for any car manufacturer is to put all of these demands in the perfect mix, giving the consumer a lot of space but not making the car too big, providing the maximum driving comfort without giving up off-road driving capabilities and loading it with safety and other features but not making it too heavy. This is, in my opinion, the core and foundation of a good SUV, and all the other extra features are just the icing on the cake. If you don’t have a selection of cars each optimised for a specific use, then like most of us you will be left with a tough decision when deciding on a single car. Chevrolet seems to have found a magic mix with the new 2017 Trailblazer.

2017 Chevrolet Trailblazer Exterior Design
The new design of the 2017 model has a signature dual-port grille with a refreshed front fascia and bold new headlamp with modern LED Day light running lights design. Add in a ground clearance of 218mm for a tall athletic stance and better off-roading capabilities. The rear carries over from the pre-updated model except for some minor tweaks on the taillights and bumper. The 2017 Chevrolet Trailblazer measures 4.9 meters long (4887 mm), 1.90 meters wide and 1.85 meters tall (1847mm).

The 2017 Trailblazer is fitted with new 18-inch alloy wheels as standard, along with revised stepboards which make for easier access both into and out of the vehicle.


Engine and Transmission of 2017 Chevrolet Trailblazer
The Trailblazer comes with a 3.6-litre gasoline V6 engine producing 275 horse power and 350 Nm torque with two and four-wheel drive option. The six speed automatic transmission ensures a smooth ride. The 2017 Trailblazer included driver aids are Hill-Start Assist (HSA) and Hill-Descent Control (HDC), Traction Control (TC) and Electronic Stability Program (ESP).


Hill Start Assist
Hill Start Assist (HSA) works to stop your vehicle from rolling backwards when moving up an incline. HSA engages automatically when a gradient of 3% or more is detected, holding the car stationary for two seconds after the brake is released in order to give you time to accelerate.

Hill Descent Control
Hill Descent Control (HDC) allows for a smooth and controlled descent downhill, by using the ABS braking system on each wheel as you descend. You can confidently take on steep slopes.

Interior and Features
The interior is inviting with a fresh modern design. The high quality leather seats stand out and are fully electrical on the driver’s seat. The car can seat up to seven people and all the rear seats can be folded down to a flat surface, giving the car a lot of versatility no matter what your needs are. The revised center console houses Chevrolet’s second generation MyLink infotainment system.
The Trailblazer has a multi function steering wheel with cruise control and Bluetooth hands free. Other new amenities available in top-of-the-range LTZ models include automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, electro-chromatic rearview mirror, reverse camera with guidelines, front parking sensors, remote control function for the engine and power windows, plus automatic climate control.
The LTZ is loaded with driver aids which kits out the Trailblazer with several new features like blind spot warning, lane departure warning and front collision warning. It also comes with front, side and curtain airbags, ISOFIX anchors for child seats and Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD).

Test Drive
These are just some of the technical features of the new Trailblazer LTZ, but in the end it all comes down to real world situations and how useful these features really are, as well as how well the car performs. The seats are very comfortable and easy to adjust for any driver, and the arrangement of instruments and buttons is clear and well organised so it is easy to handle. The new infotainment systems can often be a challenge to get through all the menu options, but not here. Everything is more or less self-explanatory and easy to access via the big and very visible touch screen (even during broad daylight). The engine and its 275HP are enough for any road condition and the six speed automatic shifts smoothly even if you push the accelerator. The breaks and steering are accurate even though the suspension is a bit soft for my taste, especially when cornering.


One of my favourite features is the remote start which comes in handy especially in summer when it is very hot, as you can start your car remotely a few minutes before you enter it, so you never need to get in a hot car. As mentioned before, with a new born baby there are also some features which are suddenly of higher importance, and while I am able to sit in a 50C hot car I would never think of putting a baby in such a hot car before it is cooled down to a bearable temperature.


ISOFIX was also a feature I never even looked at but it is a great little feature which makes putting a baby seat into the car so much easier and safer. Unfortunately, a lot of people still don’t use baby or child seats or even use a seat belt for their children, and therefore I think highlighting this feature is important. I hope that the convenience of the ISOFIX will convince a few more people to give the safest ride to their children.


Hands-free should be a standard feature in all new cars in my opinion, since few of us resist taking or making calls while we drive. The Chevrolet ‘MyLink System’ is very easy to use and it’s a matter of seconds to pair your phone with the system. If you use an iPhone there are even additional features you can use such as full siri functionality.

The LTZ has fully automatic air conditioning in the front and rear, which, especially with five seats in the rear and given the local temperatures, is important.


Electronic Stabilility Control
Applies brake pressure to the wheels while limiting the engine power when necessary to prevent your vehicle from skidding out of control.


Active Safety to Keep you Moving
Traiblazer comes packed with a host of available driver assist technologies that use strategically located radar sensors around the vehicle to protect you and your passengers.

The side blind zone alert is also a very useful feature. Just think how easily a delivery bike driver completely vanishes from your vision; this technical aid can save him from serious injury and your car from damage. I am sure most of us have had this type of close encounter with motorbikes in traffic.


The lane departure warning is considered first as a small unimportant feature, but after using and thinking about it I actually believe it is a great feature. First of all, I never realised how many times I change lanes without signalling; the lane departure warning did remind me of that with an acoustic tone and a small warning lamp. The feature works well and is quite accurate. Getting back to how many people use their phone even if they shouldn’t, it would be great to have this feature in all cars. On many occasions I have seen other cars drifting across their lane and when I passed them I noticed that the driver is using their mobile phone. I believe that a lot of accidents are caused because people play with their phone rather than paying attention to the traffic. The lane departure warning could help with decreasing these accidents since I think it would be naïve to believe that people will stop using their phone while driving.


If you have a family or outdoor hobbies, you will need to transport a lot of things. The Trailblazer gives you this space. All the back seats can be folded down to a flat surface so that you can use all the room in the boot and the back of the car to load your gear, or you could even use the back of the car to sleep in. If you go to the desert and can’t find a flat surface to camp on, it will top any tent in terms of comfort.

The clearance of the 2017 model is great for a factory car, and you can ascend and descend steep dunes without breaking the front or the rear bumper. You can never have enough power if you go off-road, but the 275 horse power is sufficient, especially since the Trailblazer is not as heavy as bigger SUVs or trucks. The tyre pressure monitor comes in handy if you have to deflate or inflate tires for an off-road drive, since you can easily read the pressure of each tire without having to use a separate pressure gauge.


Verdict
If you are looking for a car that is ready to go anywhere, yet you still need comfort and space, the Trailblazer is a good choice.
Furthermore, if you don’t want to miss out on any of the latest features and want a more aggressive look, the 118,500 AED Trailblazer LTZ model is ideal.

For those looking for more aggressive off road styling, the Chevrolet offers a Z71 variant of the Trailblazer which boasts black hood decals, black wheels, along with other various blackened accents and Z71 badging.

For more details and a test drive contact your local Chevrolet dealer or visit: chevroletarabia.com


Words by: Daniel Birkhofer
Photos by: Jung Francisco and Supplied

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