|Photos by Ulysses Ang|
Priced at 1,588,888, it’s P 93,000 and P 120,000 more than the prehistoric Toyota Fortuner and Mitsubishi Montero Sport. Yet, with the Chevy, you get stuff its rivals could only dream about: a 200-horsepower, 500 Nm of torque Duramax diesel engine; a 6-speed automatic with sequential shift; and 800 millimeters of water wading depth. In short, a mechanical package that’s already worth the additional cash. And yet, there’s more.
Powertrain is just a part of the Trailblazer LTX’s winning formula. Compared to its barer LT sibling, the LTX has been kitted up with leather seats, reverse parking sensors with back-up camera, and beefy 18-inch alloys. All for, you guessed it, an additional P 100,000. Unless you need the mountain goat climbing ability of the LTZ’s 4WD system, it certainly makes the additional P 145,000 seem frivolous.
Sporting the second-generation Duramax diesel engine, the LTX gets an even 200 horsepower and 500 Nm of torque from a ridiculously low 2,000 rpm. The power bump is courtesy of a re-designed cylinder head and block; new exhaust gas recirculation valve, EGR cooler; and reworked piping. As noted in the Trailblazer LT drive before, this new Duramax is quieter and smoother. Gone are the days when it sounded like marbles in a blender. There are still some instances where diesel clatter would overwhelm the cabin (usually during partial throttle application), but for the most part, it’s perfectly suited for everyday driving.
Like other automatic transmission-equipped Trailblazers, the LTX gets a 6-speed automatic with sequential shift override. It’s a smooth gearbox and keeps engine revs to a minimum to maximize fuel economy. The first five gears are close together, but sixth is on the tall side, engaging only at speeds approaching 100 km/h. At full throttle, the Trailblazer produces enough power to dig you into your seat and sometimes, it chirps the rear tires. After a week of use, the Trailblazer LTX returned 14.08 km/L on the highway and 7.35 km/L in the city—pretty solid figures considering the performance.
Despite the rather large footprint, the Trailblazer has always been great with its city manners. The front Double Wishbones and rear Five-Link coil spring rear suspension makes it feel stable while returning a comfortable ride. The levels of NVH isolation are nowhere near a unibody crossover, but for a ladder-on-frame SUV, it’s exemplary. At low speeds, it can go through any pothole or rut without causing discomfort to any of the passengers. At higher speeds, the suspension does tend to hop over shallower obstacles sending minor shocks up the cabin to the discomfort of those in the third row. But at least the overall feel is one of solidity. The steering is very truck-like, but that’s to be expected. At least it feels stable and responsive enough during cornering. The brakes are also finely tuned though the initial pedal feel is mushy.
The build quality is generally up to par with consistent fit and finish throughout. The use of a two-tone cabin with a gray dashboard and beige leather seats does the job in uplifting the feel, though jeans will eventually stain the cowhide after prolonged use. The first two rows of seats are generous, but those in the third row will find the seating a bit knees-up. The controls are clearly marked and operate with a crisp and tactile feel. The Camaro-inspired gauges are on the small side, but thankfully, the multi-function display offers a digital speedometer among other functions. It must be noted though that the more discerning consumer (like those coming from luxury SUVs) may find the Trailblazer’s cabin a bit too plasticky. In Chevrolet’s defense, this is pretty much de rigueur in this class. Although, one gripe is that the steering wheel is still finished in urethane.
Aside from the 18-inch alloys, leather seats, and rear back-up sensors with camera, the LTX also comes with an auto dimming rear view mirror. And these are on top of a generous list of standard equipment from dual SRS airbags, anti-lock brakes with EBD, and an integrated audio system with USB and Bluetooth hands-free support. In fact, the only things differentiating the LTZ from the LTX, aside from the 4WD system of course, is the automated climate control, steering wheel audio controls, powered driver’s seat, and the MyLink audio-visual system.
Considering what you get in return, P 100,000 goes a long way in the new Chevrolet Trailblazer LTX. Although budget-conscious consumers will still head towards the entry-level LT, the LTX’s additional luxury equipment makes it even a better value-for-money SUV. The midsized SUV category is the country’s fastest growing and is also the most hotly contested. A huge chunk of sales is down to 2WD variants and this makes the arrival of the Trailblazer LTX very opportune.
2014 Chevrolet Trailblazer LTX
|Ownership||2014 Chevrolet Trailblazer 2.8 4x2 LTX|
|Vehicle Classification||Mid-sized SUV|
|Body Type||5-door SUV|
|Engine / Drive||F/R|
|Under the Hood|
|Aspiration||Common Rail Direct Injection, Turbo|
|Layout / # of Cylinders||Inline-4|
|BHP @ rpm||200 @ 3,800|
|Nm @ rpm||500 @ 2,000|
|Fuel / Min. Octane||Diesel|
|Dimensions and Weights|
|Curb Weight (kg)||N/A|
|Suspension and Tires|
|Front Suspension||Independent, Double Wishbone|
|Rear Suspension||5-Link with Coil Spring|
|Front Brakes||Vented Disc|
|Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)||Yes|
|Traction / Stability Control||No|
|Parking Sensors||Yes, Reverse Camera|
|Fog Lamps||Yes, Front and Rear|
|Steering Wheel Adjustment||Tilt|
|Steering Wheel Material||Leather|
|Folding Rear Seat||Yes, 60/40 (2nd), 50/50 (3rd)|
|Power Door Locks||Yes|
|No. of Speakers||6|
|Steering Wheel Controls||No|