Chevrolet has some big plans for the Indian market and a lot of it is centered around this SUV that you see here. As it was announced earlier Chevrolet has first launched the Trailblazer SUV and then it will launch its Spin MPV. With the Trailblazer, GM now wants to re-establish the Chevrolet brand and for that a big luxury SUV is perfect. Launched as an import only model with one fully loaded variant on offer, the Trailblazer is squarely aimed at the Toyota Fortuner so without doubt it needs to deliver the goods from the word go, so does it? Read our Trailblazer first drive review for all the details.
No doubt the Trailblazer has presence and that is its trump card. The styling is edgy and aggressive with a proper SUV stance. The dimensions of the Trailblazer include length of 4878mm, width of 1902mm and a class best ground clearance of 241mm. The big Chevy grille nicely blends in with those projector headlamps plus the healthy dose of chrome would be appreciated by Indian SUV lovers too! The side view sans cladding is nice and solid with the 18 inch wheels providing the required muscle though with that massive ground clearance even these wheels look lost in the wheel arches! At the back it is the traditional wrap-around rear styling with neat LED tail-lamps which look rather nice. It would not be stretch to say that this SUV is among the best looking in its class and pictures do not do it justice in terms of its sheer presence.
Inside and its quite a sporty look with funky instruments and steering wheel plus with a simple yet well designed dash. Quality is decent (for the expected price) and overall it does feel quite premium. As said earlier since there will be only one fully loaded variant, equipment levels are quite generous. The main talking point is the MyLink 7 inch touchscreen with smart phone App link (which is responsive and easy to use) plus features like reverse camera, smart-phone connectivity. Other stuff includes climate control, cruise control, Electronically adjustable drivers seat, dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, 6 speaker audio system etc.
The Trailblazer is a 7-seater and a spacious one at that with the second row in particular being very comfy with excellent headroom and legroom. The third row seats also have enough space and access to them is also not difficult which is a plus point. When not required both second (60:40 Split Double Folding) and third row seats (50:50 Split) can be folded to liberate tonnes of storage space, with all seats in place, luggage space is also decent.
Trailblazer engine, efficiency and performance
The Trailblazer in India is powered by a 2.8-liter Second-generation MY14 Duramax four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine with 198 bhp and 500Nm of torque. Healthy numbers for sure. For other markets there is also a 2.5l variant but for India the Trailblazer will get this 2.8l diesel only. Also there is no 4WD option but the Trailblazer does come with Traction Control System, Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist. At the start you are immediately aware of the fact that the Trailblazer feels faster than its rivals and acceleration is strong with the ample torque output kicking in nice and early. Thus you will like the eagerness of the motor and in the city it performs really well with excellent bottom-end punch. The steering though is a bit heavy at low speeds and as is the case with this and its rivals the turning circle is also big but you get used to it.
While our time with the Trailblazer was short, we did point its massive nose towards the highway and here the six-speed auto was fairly responsive but it is best keeping it in the mid-range as the engine/gearbox is at its happiest as there is not much point in using manual mode (via the gear lever) as both power and refinement take a nosedive. So the Trailblazer makes for a great cruiser and its best to soak in the mid-range here. At high speeds we did note that the Trailblazer does feel more stable than its rivals especially with the steering giving the required confidence. Hurl it at a corner and there is body roll which is expected but it is never is out of control and its balance is kept in check. Other characteristics are similar to other cars in its class i.e. slightly choppy ride at high speeds and the excellent ground clearance being a boon for our roads. While being RWD only the Trailblazer did handle most of the rough stuff we threw at it but yes 4WD would have added to its appeal.
Trailblazer expected price
We are glad that finally we have got a proper Chevy and this will be the much needed boost that the car-maker is expecting. There is a lot to like about the Trailblazer and SUV fans in India will certainly take to the butch styling plus its well equipped, spacious and at the moment is the best to drive with its engine being a major highlight of the package. For a large SUV it really ticks all the boxes only perhaps for 4WD but other than that the Trailblazer would appeal to those who want a big SUV but want to stand out from the crowd of Toyota Fortuners. Despite being an import it is also decently priced at Rs 26.4 lakh so we have to say that the Trailblazer has great potential to do well in India and bring Chevy back in the game, big time.
Also read- New Chevrolet Cruze first look
Photography- Rajiv Bhendwal