Developed by Holden in collaboration with GM Brazil alongside the 2017 Holden Colorado, the new Holden Trailblazer looks and has a big emphasis on high-tech features.
Despite a long list of new technology and a design makeover, the 2017 Trailblazer pricing remains largely unchanged from its predecessor. The entry-level LT (our test vehicle) stays at the $47,990 of the corresponding Colorado 7, while the LTZ carries a skinny price premium of $1000 ($52,490) over the similar Colorado 7.
At close to five metres long and two metres wide, the Trailblazer carries its bulk in pleasing proportion, not allowing size or decoration dominate as in some of the larger sports utility vehicles.
Its height and width are emphasised by a wide bar, incorporating the headlamp set-up on the outer edges, and splitting the radiator grille in two.
Further styling enhancements include LED daytime running lamps surrounded by chromed accents complementing the front fascia and beefed-up bonnet design.
A redesigned interior includes premium-look heated leather seats with contrast stitching, a fresh new dashboard and updated centre console.
Adding to interior cabin comfort, remote vehicle start via the key fob allows Trailblazer to reach a comfortable cabin temperature before passengers climb in. However this not something we approve of, having an engine running with no one in the driver’s seat, and perhaps kids in the back is potentially dangerous.
GM-Holden has been strong in high-tech vehicle information, and more recently internet connectivity. The Trailblazer carries on the tradition. The big wagon boasts a new eight-inch colour touchscreen, with the latest Holden MyLink infotainment system and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, designed for seamless integration with the driver.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The 2.8-litre Duramax 2 four-cylinder common-rail turbo-diesel, mated with a six-speed automatic transmission, stumps up an impressive 500 Nm of torque at a low 2000 rpm which makes the Trailblazer ideal for towing. Peak power of 147 kW comes up at a rather low 3600 revs. This really is a truck-style engine, we’ve no problem with that.
Holden has had the Trailblazer confirmed with a five-star ANCAP safety rating. It has many active and passive safety features including driver’s knee airbag, trailer sway-control and hill descent assistance. Blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert are added to LTZ models.
With grab handles in all the right places, mounting the Trailblazer is no hard task. Getting into the back seats, with the second row tumbling forward to the back of the front seats allowing reasonably easy access to the space.
With the third row in use load space isn’t too bad. A waterproof well with lid across the back of the cargo compartment floor allows extra gear (or a few days’ groceries) to be stowed out of sight while still using the main luggage area on top.
There are quieter motors on the market than the Trailblazer’s old-style 2.8-litre turbo-diesel. The six-speed automatic transmission is a bit ‘yesterday’ but it offers seamless changes and smooth going. The 500 Nm of torque at 2000 rpm puts sees it delivering responsive overtaking. Shift-on-the-fly to 4WD is always handy.
There can be few complaints with fuel economy, with the Trailblazer using only 5.7 litres per 100 kilometres on the motorway and a miserly 11.7 litres per 100 kilometres in a stop-start town running.
Australian and Brazilian engineers have teamed up to deliver extensive improvements over the Colorado 7, including a revised steering calibration providing a more precise steering feel thanks to a faster steering rack ratio and fewer turns lock-to-lock.
While the variable steering effort in the electric system allowed the test vehicle to handle well at low speeds. At higher speeds steering tended to be on the light side with less driver feedback from the wheels. However, off road in tough going this could be an advantage.
Other key chassis developments include a revised set of engine, transmission and body mounts designed to provide a more refined ride, in addition to a new final drive ratio on manual transmission Trailblazer, again for better drive quality, especially while towing.
To say the Trailblazer is a little rough around the edges could be taking criticism too far but the big SUV is held back by the dated driveline in a market with some seriously smooth operators, albeit at a premium price.
AT A GLANCE
Holden Trailblazer LT 2.8 turbo-diesel 6sp auto $47,990
Holden Trailblazer LTZ 2.8 turbo-diesel 6sp auto $52,490
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Holden dealer for drive-away prices.
2.8L Duramax diesel engine
6-speed automatic transmission
17in alloy wheels with full size spare
New MyLink infotainment system
7in colour touchscreen
Apple CarPlay & Android Auto Phone Projection
Electric Power Steering
Rear park assist
LED daytime running lamps
7 Airbags (driver, passenger front, curtain, driver knee)
Electronic stability control
Hill start assist
Trailer sway control
Hill descent control
Remote window operation (via key fob)
SPECIFICATIONS (Trailblazer 2.8-litre Duramax 2 turbo-diesel 4WD wagon)
Capacity: 2.776 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line, double overhead cam common-rail injection Duramax 2 Diesel with 4 valves per cylinder
Maximum Power: 147 kW @ 3600 rpm
Maximum Torque: 500 Nm @ 2000 rpm
Fuel Type: Diesel
DRIVELINE: Six-speed automatic with Active Select, 4WD, limited-slip differential
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4878 mm
Wheelbase: 2845 mm
Width: 1902 mm
Height: 1833 mm
Turning Circle: 11.8 metres
Kerb Mass: 2175 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 76 litres
Five years / 100,000 km