Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Review: 2017 Chevrolet Trailblazer 4WD Z71


The Trailblazer is a very important vehicle for Chevrolet Philippines. Becoming the main entry point of thousands of Filipinos into the world of the bowtie brand, it accounts for the lion’s share of Chevy’s annual sales. Already boasting some of the segment’s best specifications way back when it was first launched in 2013, Chevrolet could have sat back and relaxed. But its rivals didn’t allow that respite.

In the three years that followed, everyone else from Ford to Toyota presented their own second-generation Pickup-based Passenger Vehicle or PPV. Soon, everyone had something equally sophisticated or something close to what Chevy offered. Knowing they had to protect their corner, Chevrolet had to dig deep and transform their Trailblazer into this: the 2017 Trailblazer Z71. And all things considered, this could very well be the best PPV in the market.




Pricing it at P 1,881,888, the range-topping Trailblazer Z71 easily undercuts its competition by hefty margins: P 107,112 less than the Ford Everest 3.2 Titanium, P 116,112 less than the Montero Sport GT, and P 244,112 less than the Toyota Fortuner 2.8 V. And this time, it’s not just about the bottom line. For this update, Chevrolet has thrown in features that you should care about; features that make all three of its competitors green with envy: Electronic Stability Control with Traction Control, Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, forward collision alert, front and rear parking sensors with backup camera, side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, and tire pressure monitoring system.

Already looking great based on the spec sheets, the Trailblazer Z71 manages to look even better in person. For 2017, Chevrolet has finally moved away from trying to give the Trailblazer some ill-fitting curves (those scallop-shaped headlights definitely had to go). Instead, it has gone angular with a fascia that finally matches this SUV’s tough-as-nails attitude. The squared headlights, larger grille, and angrier looking bumper all contribute to a meaner look while also managing to plant the stance even more. The Z71 trim also adds some playful touches: the matte black hood stripes, high-gloss black side mirrors and door handles, and 18-inch gunmetal wheels. Love it or hate it, it does add character especially when paired with the arresting Pull Me Red paintjob.




As impressive as the new sheet metal is, Chevrolet has done much more than just give the Trailblazer a new front-end. In fact, extensive work has been done to reduce NVH levels by 8 percent through a variety of means from new seals to a 10 percent thicker front glass that necessitates a slight drop whenever the front doors are closed; otherwise because of the curved shape and resulting vacuum, the doors won’t shut. Even without quoting Chevy’s numbers on NVH, the 2017 Trailblazer is noticeably quieter and smoother than ever before. The 2.8-liter Duramax engine isn’t exactly known to be the smoothest or quietest operator out there, but all the ruckus it makes is quelled the moment you step inside. Whether at idle, partial, or full throttle application, everyone can now carry a conversation without worrying that they’ll be drowned out by diesel clatter.

Continuing on the subject of the cabin, extensive work has been done to refine the inside. The 2013-2016 Trailblazer is often criticized for its plasticky interior, sometimes called out as unbefitting of its premium positioning. This year, Chevy has ripped out that entire dashboard and replaced it with something much more respectable. For starters, the fit and finish are clearly better than before, with consistent graining from the dashboard to the door panels and the center console. And then, on the seats themselves, you have contrasting stitching on the black leather, a much better execution than the old beige thrones. Yes, there are still some hard plastic bits here and there, but they’ve been reduced to areas usually untouched by the driver or passengers.




Equally appreciated is the 2017 Trailblazer’s new driving environment. The new gauges may drop the Camaro-inspired dual binnacle, but they’re much easier to read and offer much more information than before. And then, you have the next-generation Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system which is best described as the polar opposite of the disastrous Ford MyTouch. MyLink’s simple interface has crisp graphics, snappy operation, and easy to digest menus which don’t require a read through of the owner’s manual. Although there’s no GPS navigation built in, since it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it can simply mirror the map application on your mobile phone.

Great as those features are, there are some carryover components which could have been improved. For one, the driver’s seat is one movement short (it moves six ways as opposed to eight), preventing you from finding the perfect driving position. Though it’s something you adjust to eventually, the bolstering is the main problem. They’re ample but not good, requiring constant fidgeting just to alleviate back or bum discomfort during long drives. It’s exacerbated by the steering wheel which is good well enough for a proper 9-3 hand position, but a bit too far for easy lock-to-lock operation. Meanwhile, those in the second row will fare much better with generous knee and shoulder room, though it must be said that the seatback itself doesn’t adjust. And despite its generous footprint, the third row isn’t as good as some of its competitors. With a second row that doesn’t slide fore and aft, the available knee room back there is limited to short adults or kids.




While seating comfort is still something to be truly desired, there’s no questioning the improved road manners of the 2017 Trailblazer. The drivetrain may be carried over, but they still produce the segment’s best numbers: 200 horsepower and 500 Nm of torque four years on. More than just being capable of hitting 100 km/h in just 10.4 seconds, there’s excellent tractability at every part of the rev range.  There’s no shortage of power and this boosts confidence during overtaking or merging maneuvers. A slight tap of the throttle is enough to dig you into the driver’s seat. As mentioned previously, the Duramax isn’t exactly the best in terms of quietness or smoothness, but the improved NVH does mean all that clattering is isolated to the outside. The same thing can be said about the carryover 6-speed automatic. Listen carefully, and you’ll sometimes hear the shifts engage roughly, but no amount of shift shock makes it into the passenger compartment; all of it is well mitigated. During a week’s worth of driving, the Trailblazer manages 6.49 km/L at an average speed of 12 km/h.

Despite the large footprint (it’s the widest and tallest in its class), the Trailblazer is surprisingly easy to drive around town. The commanding view of the hood, well-positioned A-pillars, and large side mirrors already make it easy to jostle around traffic, and now add the new Electric Power Steering, and you have an easy to drive, easy to maneuver SUV. Not only does it sometimes belittle its size, but the new steering system reduces judder at higher speeds, contributing to better comfort. And as always, the ride comfort is exemplary on all rows with the rigid fully-boxed frame and Double Wishbone/5-Link suspension returning a solid and stable driving experience. Even the brakes have been tweaked to return a more positive pedal feel and progressive engagement compared to before.




When Chevrolet set out to improve the Trailblazer for 2017, they had one mission: to make sure it meets the demands of increasingly discerning drivers. In that regard, they’ve largely succeeded. The Chevrolet Trailblazer doesn’t need to grab headlines by doing off-road stunts in deserted locations. Instead, it delivered on the terrain that matters the most: the concrete jungle of the city. Chevorlet Philippines’s most important vehicle has become their most convincing yet, boasting of excellent refinement, styling, comfort, and technology. There are still some areas for improvement, but priced and speced as it is, it has become the segment’s best offering.


2017 Chevrolet Trailblazer 4WD Z71
Ownership 2017 Chevrolet Trailblazer 4WD 6AT Z71
Year Introduced 2013 (Refreshed: 2016)
Vehicle Classification Mid-sized SUV
The Basics
Body Type 5-door SUV
Seating 7
Engine / Drive F/4WD, Low
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.8
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Common Rail, Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 200 @ 3,800
Nm @ rpm 500 @ 2,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Diesel
Transmission 6 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 6.49 km/L @ 12 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,887
Width (mm) 1,902
Height (mm) 1,852
Wheelbase (mm) 2,845
Curb Weight (kg) 2,097
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Rear Suspension 5-Link, Coil Spring
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires Bridgestone Dueler H/T 684 II 265/60 18 T (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 2
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front and Rear, with Camera
Other Safety Features Hill Start Assist
Hill Descent Control
Forward Collision Alert
Lane Departure Warning
Side Blind Zone Alert
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps Yes, Front and Rear
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Electric (driver)
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40 (2nd row); 50/50 (3rd row)
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Yes
Audio System Stereo
USB
Bluetooth
Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 7
Steering Controls Yes

25 comments:

  1. Best in class hp and torque, but best in class weight as well, lol. The power advantage will be nullified by the weight. The fuel economy is also just average. But overall, it seems one of the best SUV's in the market.

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  2. Waiting for AutoActiv's comment on his most favorite car.

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    Replies
    1. The best damn car mankind has ever made according to him. Talo pa ata ferrari dito. Most powerful engine daw eh. Tapos may nalalaman pang adventures sa countryside or something si ulol.

      Delete
    2. To be honest, im a fan of the Duramax engine but im not impressed with its body built. Manipis yon lata, magdikit ka ng sticker by pressing eh lumulubog. Unlike Ford, kahit idiin mo ng todo, hindi nabe-bend.

      As for the engine, whether the skies are gray or blue, driving on a hot sunny day, on a dark and stormy weather, trekking the dangerous peaks on the mountain trails, in the long lonely and endless stretches of the flat highways, nothing threatened and comes close to the Duramax!

      My other headache? Chevy Service.

      Delete
    3. Hot girls put their make ups, polish their nails and ride their Honda's and Mazda's.

      The boys go under and removes rust from their trucks. After a hard days work, they ride on their pickups and to home straight they go...

      Delete
    4. Real car people respect each other's ride. No matter if its a Honda City to A Subaru STI. We respect each others ride. Stop being so sexist and act mature.

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    5. Now this is the autoactiv we all remember. Dumb to the point of weeping hilarity. I guess he's back!

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    6. @Anon 6:00pm 1:22am You ignorant guys shut your mouth off. There is nothing in autoactive comment that amounts to harrassment, threat or intimidation. One is always entitled to his opinion according to his experience. Wla kasi kayo mai-comment na maganda Palibhasa mga bobo kayo!!!

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    7. Autoactiv called his best friend I see......who is also stupid. How can you not agree with that guy. Its true ! You respect other people's ride. Real car guys respect other car guys. Like he said, it doesnt matter if you drive a Mobilio or an NSX, we RESPECT !

      Delete
    8. Meron talaga yang fanboy dito si autoactiv. Kahit dati pa may supporter na yang si autoactiv. Kaparehas niya rin mag isip. Parehong maliliit ang utak.

      Delete
    9. To Anonymous November 24, 2016 at 8:16 AM

      Ang dapat sayo tumahimik ka na lang. STFU!!

      Delete
  3. I really wonder why people dont read brochures. They just keep buying toyota when there are cheaper and better equipped options (fortuner still comes with drum brakes for a 2.2 million suv). I know the after sales service of chevy is less desirable and expensive, but do you think toyota is also cheap?

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    Replies
    1. Do you own a trailblazer? Do you bother asking owners what their experiences are? I have a couple of friends who own these and had different problems. One took a month before getting his unit back, while the other almost half a year. Casa keeps delaying them, saying parts still have to arrive.. Anyway, they happened to had theirs repaired on the same dealership. Others might be better?

      But try asking mechanics from big shops also if they have done repairs on Chevys, especially the underchassis. You'll understand when you hear from them =)

      Delete
    2. yep, I have a 2015 model, we dont service our trailblazer to the casa, we have our own shop which we perform all the maintenance based on the user manual. once I got quoted for 17 thousand for just changing oil, air and fuel filter, when we estimated the actual cost after doing it in our shop, it only cost me 6600 pesos. 2.5k for the oil (fully synthetic), 1800 for air filter, 800 for oil and 1500 for fuel filter

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    3. I dont have any complaints though, the stock audio system is kickass, ive installed HID's, dunnow why they omitted the projector lenses in this new version. 20 inch black mamba rims, k&n filter. engine is pretty much bulletproof, im at 60k kms and still nothing has been broken. my only one complaint is the white leather seats, they soil easily.

      Delete
  4. Added all those safety features but forgot the side and curtain airbags. Srsly Chevy.

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  5. For LTZ & LTZ Z71 Variants

    LED Headlamps and Foglamps
    Power 8 Way Driver Seat & Power 4 Way Passenger Seat
    GPS Navigation*
    10 Speakers
    SRS Airbag (Driver & Passenger + Side + Curtain Shield + Driver's Knee)*
    Emergency Stop Signal*
    Paking Sensors & Rear Camera*
    9' DVD Headrest Monitors*
    2' Coil Spacers
    20' Alloy Wheels (Optional)


    *All Variants: LTZ Z71, LTZ & LT

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steering Wheel Audio Controls*
      Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel*
      Hill Sta Assist Control*

      *All Variants: LTZ Z71, LTZ & LT

      Delete
  6. Could have really been the best if it wasn't for the absence of side and curtain airbags. Even the mid-range offerings of other competitors have it.

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. I really like how powerful the Duramax engine but sometimes you have to factor in maintenance, parts-availability and aftermarket value.

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    Replies
    1. It's hard for us to factor in things like maintenance, parts, and aftermarket value when it comes to doing reviews like these. We don't own these vehicles. We simply drive them for a week and report them as brand-new car purchases.

      Even if Chevrolet or any other carmaker would lend us a car for a month, it's still not going to be the same. That's why this comments section is open for everyone to comment whether they agree or disagree with the review. It's also the place for people to comment about ownership experience as well.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the reply sir but they "you" in my statement should have been in first person as I was speaking out of my own personal experience.

      Anyway, I do appreciate your reviews sir. I honestly think that you give out a fair assessment of these vehicles.

      Delete
  9. Hi uly! I am planning to purchase an suv now. I want the new trailblazer for it's new look. It looks more inline with the Chevy's in the US. Can you recommend this vs the rivals namely montero, everest and fortuner. Also, hyundai is offering a lot of discount for the Facelifted sta fe. Is hyundai also worth a try?

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  10. At least Autoactiv got the unsatisfactory chevy service... so true

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