Saturday, September 17, 2016

First Drive: 2017 Chevrolet Trailblazer and Chevrolet Colorado


Chevrolet has one mission when it comes to updating the Trailblazer and Colorado. Knowing they have the segment’s best mechanicals that still deliver class-leading numbers, they simply needed to make both exude a more premium feel. Chevrolet acknowledges the criticisms leveled at their less than stellar interiors before, and now, they’ve come back with a vengeance. The 2017 Trailblazer and Colorado may very well be the best in their segments.

The change happens even before you see, let alone step inside one of these Chevrolets. Invigorating their employees with a passion for quality, the first order of business is to achieve new levels in assembly quality. Tightening process controls and adding automation processes enables the Rayong, Thailand assembly plant to reach new benchmark levels in quality.



Improved quality is just the first step. The next is to create a thoroughly modern, well thought of SUV and pickup truck. Leveraging a global development program as well as getting local market feedback, the result is the 2017 Colorado and Trailblazer.

Upfront, it’s far removed from its predecessor. It takes on a styling that echoes the North American trucks and that’s deliberate because Chevy wants to tap into its one hundred year truck heritage. The new squared off lights, large grille, and hood all play a part in transforming these machines into something more masculine. While all higher-end models benefit from beefy 18-inch alloy wheels, the Trailblazer Z71 looks off-road ready with the blacked out chrome, hood decals, and all-terrain Goodyear Wrangler tires.




Apart from aesthetics, work is done to refine the chassis to the point that Chevy cannot quantify the changes in a percentage. Everything from the engine and transmission mounts, stabilizer, springs, dampers, and seals have been changed or optimized. The end is impressive: 8 to 10 decibels quieter than before. Plus, there are crazy details like how the thicker front side glass necessitates a slight drop, coupe style, whenever the door is opened or closed to equalize air pressure; otherwise, the doors would be harder to shut.

Beyond the vastly improved NVH, Chevrolet is most proud of the new interior and they have every reason to be. It’s now genuinely a good place to spend some time in. The entire dashboard is fitted with soft-touch materials highlighted by stitched inserts. The new horizontal layout also promotes better ergonomics and usability while toggle switches that operate functions like the stability control and hazard lights are a nice touch. The over-styled Camaro gauges are now gone and in its place are straight-forward ones that are much more legible. Even the seats are new. Apart from the better leather material, it also incorporates various firmness rates to reduce pressure on the spine and back.



Chevrolet is also proud of the new infotainment system that’s essentially “Future Proof”. It offers the latest MyLink system that’s by far the easiest to use in the segment. It’s also intuitive with clean, crisp graphics and is lighting fast in operation. Plus, not only does it integrate GPS, voice recognition, and Bluetooth, but is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto—the first in its class to do so.

Driving both vehicles on the road first, they immediately impress with their newfound refinement. The new electric power steering not only reduces steering effort (perfect for negotiating U-turns), but also gives better precision as the speeds build up. It makes the Trailblazer and Colorado much easier to navigate in tight city streets. On the highway, it lends better confidence thanks to less steering pull. On rougher roads, it mitigates any judder that otherwise might crawl up the steering rack. Both models now have a much more planted and stable feel thanks to the revised suspension. It also improves the overall riding comfort, though it’s pretty obvious that the unladen Colorado would ride firmer. The Trailblazer also has a noticeable edge in braking performance thanks to its four-wheel disc brakes with a larger booster for better pedal bite.




In this particular occasion, the drive didn’t require it, but it’s good to know that both the Trailblazer and Colorado now come up with a beefed up set of safety equipment. Both now have a driver’s knee airbag, tire pressure monitoring, lane departure warning, and front and rear parking assist. While, the Trailblazer builds on that by adding vehicle stability control, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision alert, and side blind zone warning.

Stepping onto the off-road course, both the Trailblazer and Colorado remain extremely capable in traversing any kind of terrain. It has all the same key numbers from before such as the approach, breakover, and departure angles, water wading depth, and ground clearance. Despite lacking a rear locking differential (or even stability control for the Colorado), it made short work of a 35-degree tilted road, 500-millimeter river crossing, large undulating mounds, and a 45-degree uphill climb. And in terms of power output, it keeps its king of the hill status: 200 horsepower and 500 Nm of torque from its 2.8-liter Duramax. What’s more, the shift to the electric power steering system means less parasitic power loss and improved emissions. Meanwhile, the lower-end models continue on with the 160 horsepower, 380 Nm of torque output.



Chevrolet recognizes that its brand recall isn’t as strong as they want it to be in this part of the world. However, they are planning to change that in a big way. With the 2017 Trailblazer and Colorado, Chevy has dug deep, making both the Trailblazer and Colorado lead their respective categories. More than ever, they’re now carrying Chevrolet’s century-long experience in building some of the best trucks in the world. In that regard, the Trailblazer and Colorado have signed, sealed, and delivered on the brand promise and heritage.

The 2017 Chevrolet Trailblazer and Colorado arrives in showrooms this October. The Trailblazer will be available in three models: 2.5 4x2 LT 6MT (P 1,378,888), 2.8 4x2 LT 6AT (P 1,509,888), and 2.8 4x4 Z71 6AT (P 1,881,888). While, the Colorado comes in four flavors: 2.5 4x2 LT 6MT (P 1,167,888), 2.8 4x2 LT 6AT (P 1,267,888), 2.8 4x4 LTZ 6MT (P 1,613,888), and 2.8 4x4 LTZ 6AT (P 1,689,888).


48 comments:

  1. Nice pricing and power. I gotta give it to Chevy this time. If only they could improve reliability and fuel consumption.

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    1. Didn't want to quote fuel consumption on the course we took in this story, but based on the meter which I reset, we were doing about 7.81 km/L.

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    2. I average about 13kms in highway and 10 in the city in my 2015 colorado ltz auto. havent had problems, its now 52430 kms. just had to replace the shackle bushings on the rear as the factory one was too soft. factory brake pads and tires are still thick.

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  2. Great set of active safety features, but kind of disappointed that it still got only 3 airbags. Should have 6 at least especially for the middle and high-end variant since most competitors of that price range are offering it.

    Btw sir Uly, how does the steering feel and ride comfort this new Trailblazer compare to its competitors like Everest and Montero, or its mechanical sibling Mu-x?

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    1. Steering feel is the best balanced in this segment now. Fortuner, mu-X, and Montero Sport all feel heavier while Everest is just way too light for its size. The Trailblazer manages to be somewhere in the middle. The feel is just right, though the turning circle remains the same according to engineers.

      As for the ride, the Everest still takes the top honors, but the new Trailblazer is easily the most improved. It'll be second in its class now thanks to the reduction of NVH. There's also not much juddering in the interior.

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    2. Why don't you just test drive it. lol

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  3. Another truck to pick. Uhmm sir Uly how do you compare it to navara, hilux and ranger? Im torn between these trucks but I'm considering versitility and balanced.

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    1. I am thoroughly impressed with the new Colorado. It's going to be a tight fight against the Hilux, Navara, and Ranger.

      Here's my two cents:

      - Navara is best as a lifestyle pickup. It's got the best ride thanks to its coil spring rear suspension. It's not pretty good with overloading and it might even be more expensive to maintain in the long run given the complexity of a coil spring set-up versus leaf springs.

      - Hilux is very stiff riding and rather plain for the price. However, Toyota will be the cheapest to maintain in this lot. Plus, it's pretty adept at off-roading because it does have a rear-diff locker.

      - The Ranger is the only other pickup with a rear diff locker. The 2016 Ranger is pretty good as well, only let down by the after sales service. It's a good compromise between the comfort-oriented Navara and the workhorse Hilux.

      - The 2017 Colorado still is the most powerful in its class and with the tuning down to quell the NVH, it's also pretty good as a lifestyle vehicle. I'd say it can finally give the Ranger a run for its money. Sadly, after sales is also a bit questionable (or so I hear from the comments here and elsewhere).

      So, taken in its entirety:

      As a workhorse first, family vehicle second:

      1. Hilux
      2. Colorado
      3. Ranger
      4. Navara

      As a family vehicle first, workhorse second:

      1. Ranger / Colorado (tie)
      2. Navara
      3. Hilux

      Hope this helps!

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    2. Uly, you forgot about the DMax and the Strada with MIVEC Diesel

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    3. The question is to compare the Colorado to the Ranger and Hilux :-)

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    4. For a more detailed comparison, how does the new Colorado compared to the Strada with MIVEC diesel and DMax? And what would be your new ranking if workhorse and lifestyle pickup once you include the Strada with MIVEC and the DMax?

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    5. Hmmm...I think this means I should do a comparison LOL.

      Honestly, I've yet to try the Strada with the new engine or the D-Max with the 3.0 engine.

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    6. sir uly, i think you should do a massive pick up comparo. ill be waiting for it! :D

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    7. We've owned a Ranger Wildtrak 3.2AT for a year and our only complaint is the seat fabric seems to have faded or discolored. We would not replace it with another truck as in our opinion there would be no discernible benefit. The Wildtrak has rear camera, parking sensors, electronic steering, lane-keeping sensors (where in the Philippines are lane-keeping sensors even remotely useful?).......
      We live in General Santos and average around 9.3km/l in and out of the city. We're not interested in being car-napped by rebels so anyway never go far on the open-road.
      The real issue with owning a truck is that (regardless of brand) they are not ideal for family use. You're basically trucking an empty rear-end around when you'd be better off with an SUV that has the extra seats and luggage space as opposed to a truck-bed. We have a baby arriving next year and will probably switch to an Explorer or Everest.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Tanong ko lang po. Wala po ba ung Specs & Brochure?

    Thank you po.

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    Replies
    1. Wala pa. Once Chevrolet gives us the lowdown, we'll have it up here.

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  7. Hi Uly,

    How many airbags does the new Trailblazer and Colorado have? Is it 3 as per one of the commentators here? Or is it 6, at par with most of its competitors?

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    1. It's available with 7, but as far as I could tell...the Philippine spec models have 3.

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    2. That's a bummer if the Trailblazer does have 3 airbags only here in the Philippines. I'd still choose the SUVs that has 6-7 airbags especially the top of the line variants

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  8. Most filipinos don't wear seatbelts anyway so airbags will be more dangerous

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    Replies
    1. Funny. That's the unfortunate truth though. Sali mo na rin yung 5 seater na sasakyan na nagiging 8 seater.

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  9. Good day sir ulysses...how bout the rating of toyota fortuner, everest,mux,montero,crv,cx5 if family first to work and work to family

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  10. Hi Uly,

    In terms of ride comfort which one is the best in its class? and which one do you personally prefer? We are plannning to get a new SUV, leaning towards Mu-x please give your input. Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Test drive.. don't let someone you personally don't know to provide you "how it feels to drive the car".

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  11. If you're looking for comfort then the Everest and Santa Fe. Based on Test driving alone. I test drive all and I bought the Santa Fe. Already had a old model fortuner in terms of comfort it's night and day.

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  12. Santa Fe is a sonata-based SUV so naturally it would be a lot more comfortable. For a PPV based SUV the Everest is imo the best out there. Too bad I hear a lot of bad things regarding service at Ford dealerships.

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  13. Will they also offer the Pro Tracker package on the new Colorado?

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  14. Sir Uly,
    Ive been waiting for these new Trailblazers since last year. Luckily i did not go for the old Trail. How about the new LT 4x2 AT model? Do u have specs for that? Interior and exterior. Thanks...and more power.

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    1. They only let us test the Z71 model. We'll try to get our hands on the LT and we'll let you know. Chevrolet Philippines hasn't released final specs yet...that'll be for the October launch.

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  15. IS it Euro IV compliant?

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    1. Yes. The 2017 Trailblazer and Colorado are Euro 4 compliant

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    2. Autoactiv will be proud.

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    3. Yes he would have. RIP autoactiv. You will be missed.

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  16. Hi sir Uly,
    This Blazer in Thailand has remote engine start feature. Is it gonna be the same with units coming to PH?

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  17. Got hold of the specs and was able to view it myself.
    The 2.8 4x2 LT 6AT lost alot to the 2.8 4x4 LT Z71
    ie does not have the following:

    Front / Rear Park Assits
    Remote Start Engine
    Standard Traction Control System
    Hill Start Assist
    Hill Descent Control
    Trailer Sway Control
    Brake Assist
    Electronic Brake Force Distribution
    Electronic Stability Control
    Front Collision Alert
    Lane Departure Warning
    Active Safety Side Blind Zone Alert
    Rear Cross Traffic Alert
    Steering Wheel Radio Controls
    Steering Wheel Phone Controls
    Steering Wheel Cruise Controls
    Roof Rail
    Auto Rain Sensor
    Back Up Camera

    too bad it's stripped down.

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    Replies
    1. dami nga nawala, pero kung lahat nga yan nasa 4x4 totl eh maganda pricing nila conpared sa toyota, mitsu, at ford na 2m na totl napaka mahal

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  18. Sana ang mga nauna na model palitan din ng brake discs tulad nito para hindi na mang araro ng traysikel at libre dahil covered pa ng warranty.

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  19. Is the Trailblazer 4x4 variant equipped with powered lift gate?

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  20. May dash cam pa rin ba itong bagong model?

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  21. I visited the Chevy showroom last weekend to look at the Trailblazer Z71. Quite impressive. Lacks a few amenities here and there, but for what you get for the price, its a very good deal. And whats nice, the models are readily available as of now, not waiting time...

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  22. *jrn,

    From what I know these are included in the 4x4 Z71 Trailblazer...

    Front / Rear Park Assits
    Remote Start Engine
    Standard Traction Control System
    Hill Start Assist
    Hill Descent Control
    Brake Assist
    Electronic Brake Force Distribution
    Electronic Stability Control
    Lane Departure Warning
    Active Safety Side Blind Zone Alert
    Steering Wheel Radio Controls
    Steering Wheel Phone Controls
    Roof Rail
    Auto Rain Sensor
    Back Up Camera

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  23. the best ang Traiblazer z71 ng chevy kakainlove talaga
    New lang sya pero dami nadagdag
    guys baka naghahanap kayo ng good costumer service at maganda magbigay ng deal
    chevrolet shaw mandaluyong
    0916-634-2472
    di kayo magsisisi

    ReplyDelete
  24. the best ang Traiblazer z71 ng chevy kakainlove talaga
    New lang sya pero dami nadagdag
    guys baka naghahanap kayo ng good costumer service at maganda magbigay ng deal
    chevrolet shaw mandaluyong
    0916-634-2472
    di kayo magsisisi

    ReplyDelete
  25. got my new Chevy Trailblazer 2017 LTZ Z71 here in Bahrain last week...great car to drive. city and off road desert driving. great interior and specs, good looking exterior with sporty style.

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