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Chevrolet blazes all kinds of trails - Chevrolet Trailblazer


THERE exists a segment where one vehicle has had things its way for some time now. That vehicle is the Toyota Fortuner, which has been a success since its introduction and currently leads the segment in sales by a very long way.

With Mitsubishi’s Pajero Sport recently enhanced and the Toyota’s seemingly unwavering appeal, Chevrolet has released an updated version of its flagship SUV, the Trailblazer.

The five Thai-made models have received minor cosmetic enhancements and bigger upgrades in terms of specification. For starters, all LTZ derivatives now have a reverse camera as standard while the unpopular beige interior trim has been replaced with a new Dark Ash Grey. There are also front side airbags mounted in the seats. In addition to the regular trip computer, which shows battery voltage, adjustable speed warning, transmission fluid temperature, engine hours and an oil-life indicator, there are also two new gauges in the form of an instantaneous throttle-position gauge as well as a fuel-economy graph.

One of the most important additions to the 2014 Trailblazer is the MyLink infotainment system as seen in the Sonic RS. It comprises of a seven-inch touch screen that supports video and picture playback, six-speaker audio, USB and auxiliary integration as well as Bluetooth. There is even app compatibility that works with your smartphone. The infotainment system gives the Trailblazer some much-needed life.

The oil-burners in the range have received a few tweaks to improve performance and economy. The 2.5-litre turbo-diesel gets power and torque gains of around 8.5%, taking it to 120kW and 380Nm and lowering consumption to 8.0 litres/100km. The popular 2.8D LTZ models now boast claimed fuel returns as low as 8.5 litres/100km while seeing a power increase to 144kW and when coupled with the automatic transmission, an extra 30Nm of torque, which equates to a total of 500Nm.

I had the opportunity to put one of the 4x4 models through what proved to be gruelling off-road conditions. It has 230mm of ground clearance and off-road settings that are adjustable on-the-fly. When I inevitably got bogged down, I simply feathered my throttle inputs and allowed the clever electronics to pull me through the obstacle. I was impressed with the Trailblazer’s ability. Its two main rivals, however, are also not exactly scared of performing when the going gets rough.

There is quite a bit of kit as standard, including 11 cup holders, cruise control, multi-function leather-bound steering wheel, multi-info trip computer, four 12V power sockets, side steps and mud flaps.

In terms of safety, ABS with EBD, Panic Brake Assist, Hydraulic Brake Fade Assist, a limited slip differential, six airbags and Isofix child-seat anchors are all standard.

The 2014 Chevrolet Trailblazer range starts at R386 500 for the 2.5D LT 4x2 manual and goes all the way to R516 700 for the 3.6 LTZ 4x4 automatic.

All models come with a 5-year/120 000km warranty as well as a 5-year/90 000km service plan.

Article written by Sean Nurse
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