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Sunday, October 9, 2022

Review: 2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer Premier


What’s in a name? That’s perhaps a question best lobbed to Chevrolet when they decided to name their new crossover, the Trailblazer. Unlike its most immediate predecessor, this one gracing the remaining Chevy showrooms nationwide is neither pickup-based nor is it a 7-seater. Still, re-using the name could, at least theoretically, lead to some name recognition or confusion.

Either way, Chevrolet Philippines needs this. Sure, they also launched the Tracker, but we reckon that for the brand to survive, let alone flourish, they need to be not just in one, but in several key segments. Chief among them is the compact crossover segment. Now, you’re probably thinking: isn’t Chevy calling the Trailblazer a compact SUV? A rival supposedly against the likes of the Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V? At P 1,621,888 for this Premier variant (P 1,488,888 for the base LT), it’s sure priced like it. But talking a closer look at its overall packaging and execution, we beg to differ.



Measurements alone betray it as being half a size smaller. At 4,408 mm in length—it’s at par with the CX-30 (4,395 mm), Corolla Cross (4,455 mm), and HR-V (4,385 mm). Get over that initial disappointment though, you’ll see a crossover’s that actually well-designed. Compared to Chevrolet’s previous effort—the lumpy, potato-on-silts Trax—the Trailblazer looks cool and well-proportioned. Calling it Camaro-inspired is an exaggeration, but at least it still looks legitimately good with enough style and character to stand out.

As the top-of-the-line Premier model, the Trailblazer gets LED on both ends (with automatic high beams at the front, for good measure), two-tone 17-inch alloy wheels, and a hands-free power tailgate with two adjustable heights (3/4 or full).



The cabin’s design isn’t as cheeky as the exterior, but there are some interesting cues like the neat cloth pattern (Chevy calls it Victorian Herringbone) on the front doors and brushed chrome embellishments. Still, for the most part, it pretty much echoes every modern Chevrolet product. The all-black plastic switchgear is typical GM fare in that it’s rather uninspiring to look at, but at least it doesn’t feel low-rent either.

It also happens to be spacious and functional. Again, it can’t compete with bigger compact SUVs, but in some ways, it can get pretty close. Upfront, the seats are perched high but is lacking in bolster support. There’s no power adjustment of any kind too, but getting comfy is easy enough with ample adjustments available to the steering column and driver’s seat. At the back, the flat rear floor means three adults can squeeze in without banging knees. Each of them gets their own headrests too. Unfortunately, cut the backseat body count to two and there are some notable compromises such as the lack of a center arm rest or even rear AC vents. The cargo hold, meanwhile, is generous and with an adjustable shelf that can be configured for a flat floor or more vertical volume.



In terms of infotainment, the Trailblazer comes with Chevrolet’s MyLink. With an 8-inch screen and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it’s easy and straightforward enough to use. The display and responses are snappy enough, but because the display doesn’t adjust for brightness/contrast, the resulting images can appear washed out during the day. Switching between smartphone mirroring and the native OS requires pressing the hard buttons (as opposed to an on-screen icon), but that small adjustment aside, it’s easy and straightforward enough to use. Equally direct to the point is the instrument cluster which doesn’t have any LCD screen apart from the monochrome display positioned between the large tach and speedo.

Most of the time, this segment prefers a clearcut and simple powertrain formula. And while there’s a slight twist in that the Trailblazer makes power not from a normally-aspirated or hybrid powerplant, but from a turbocharged 1.3-liter 3-cylinder, the net on-road behavior is largely run of the mill. With its peak torque arriving at just 1,600 rpm, it feels reasonably peppy with abundant low-end grunt at city speeds. Mind you, the 3-cylinder doesn’t sound like much from a driver’s seat, but our butt dyno suggests some decent shove. Sadly, that initial grunt all but disappears on the highway. High speed overtaking requires advanced planning, and even then, it feels fairly blah.



While the engine will put enthusiasts to sleep, it scores high with its eco credentials. It comes with all sorts of novel solutions from its electric turbo wastegate, electric oil pump, active grille shutters, and even an idle start/stop feature. All these advancements mean it’s best to fuel it up with the best gasoline in the country—Petron Blaze 100 Euro 6. This offers powerful performance, excellent cleaning capability, and fuel-efficient operation reaching up to 13.1 km/L on the highway (32 km/h). In the city though, it drops down to just 7.51 km/L (average speed 15 km/h).

In terms or handling and ride, the Trailblazer is simply, “okay.” It certainly doesn’t quite live up to its sporty physique, but it isn’t cumbersome either. Overall, it feels composed and stable on smooth, winding roads though it feels more top-heavy than its looks suggest. Steering is nice and responsive, and together with its tidy dimensions make it a breeze to maneuver in tight confines. Sadly, its compact wheelbase affects the ride. It’s easily unsettled with bumps and dips jostling the cabin a lot. The choppy ride is also backed up with copious amounts of road noise. The brake pedal is also quite sensitive, though stopping power is merely adequate.



Setting the Trailblazer apart from other compact crossovers, it comes loaded with a wide array of driver assistance technology. It comes with things like forward collision alert with automatic braking, following distance indicator (a handy feature to remind you to keep a safe distance to the car or motorbike in front), lane departure warning with lane keeping assist, and even a blind spot indicator with rear cross traffic alert. This is on top of a full suite of 6 SRS airbags, ABS with EBD, stability control, and tire pressure monitoring.

It's always dangerous business using a famous model name, particularly when you put it in a body style that doesn’t quite match the one that made it a household name in the first place. Look beyond that though, and the Trailblazer is quite alright. By and large, compact crossovers are now the ubiquitous, affable choice as a family car. And this one manages to fulfill the basic requirements such as space, packaging, and safety. Giving credit where it’s due, it is decent in the urban setting. At the same time, it’s not sexy, lavish, amazing to drive, or efficient—adjectives its competitors have. With that, it may be in for a tough time.



2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer Premier

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Ownership 2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer 1.3T Premier
Year Introduced 2021
Vehicle Classification Compact Crossover
Warranty 5 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 5-door SUV
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.3
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders 3
BHP @ rpm 155 @ 5,600
Nm @ rpm 236 @ 1,600-4,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 95~
Transmission CVT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 7.51 km/L @ 15 km/h,
13.1 km/L @ 32 km/h
(fueled with Petron Blaze 100)
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,408
Width (mm) 2,052
Height (mm) 1,656
Wheelbase (mm) 2,640
Curb Weight (kg) 1,373
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Parking Brake Electric
Tires Continental ProContact TX 225/60 R 17 H (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Rear
Parking Camera Yes, Rear
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Forward Collision Alert
Following Distance Indicator
Autonomous Emergency Braking w/ Pedestrian Braking
Blind Spot Indicators
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front (LED)
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers No
Tailgate Electric
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Manual, 6-way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Manual, 4-way
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40
Sunroof No
Trip Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes
Rear View Mirror Auto-dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Yes
Audio System Stereo
Bluetooth
USB Type A
USB Type C
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes

12 comments:

  1. Chevrolet Trailblazer crossover SUV is made in Korea that's why its priced like that..Its currently the 2nd best selling vehicle of Chevrolet Philippines..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are made in Korea cars cheaper?

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    2. @GR no, korean made cars are pricey but not as pricey as japan made ones. That's the advantage of thailand, indonesia and china. However, our tax here ahhhmmmmm.... nevermind.

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    3. Chevrolet Trailblazer previously sold by Chevrolet Philippines came from Thailand..Its a PPV SUV originally developed by GM Brazil..Its still available in Brazil just like the Spin MPV.

      Delete
  2. Isn't it the previous gen Trailblazer used the platform of the Isuzu mu-X?

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  3. Chevy needs to up their game honestly, they're like ssangyong now.. no matter how good their cars if distributors aren't innovative, they'd be dead. And that's coming from a no expert person. Just some observation from afar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ssangyong is much worse as it only got one active dealership and the importation of brand new units was suspended last year.
      Chevrolet Philippines mainly competes now with Jeep and Dodge Philippines in terms of product lineup..They'll still sell affordable new cars like the Groove SUV and likely the Seeker SUV which are made in China.

      Delete
  4. I have never seen this one on the roads, like ever. I've seen the Tracker tho, like once.......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chevrolet Philippines sell at least 10 or more units of Chevrolet Trailblazer Premier SUV per month..Tracker is selling much better as its cheaper.

      Delete
  5. Sounds like engine is a small u it. Can it haul heavy stuff?

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  6. 7.5 km/l city fuel mileage from a tiny 1.3L turbo engine with that light subcompact body is terrible. Heck, even the 13.1 km/L FC in extra-urban driving is poor for this class of vehicle, heavier & bigger-engined vehicles routinely achieve more than that in the highways! And this one's using a CVT already.

    ReplyDelete

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