The mid-size Chevrolet TrailBlazer, which went on sale in 2002, is built on a body-on-frame platform, a manufacturing method that has fallen out of favor due to its inherent high weight and trucklike driving experience. So-called crossovers, car-based and unibody SUVs, are quickly causing the extinction of trucks like the TrailBlazer. In fact, 2008 may be the TrailBlazer’s last year of production as the unibody-based Chevrolet Traverse crossover is likely to replace the aging ute.
Four-wheel drive is optional on all TrailBlazers, and rear-wheel drive is standard. Structural rigidity is poor, so the chassis is upset by road imperfections, and the steering requires constant corrections. This criticism applies to a lesser extent to the 390-hp SS model, thanks to the SS’s revised suspension and steering rack that give it a sportier and better feel than the regular TrailBlazer. The TrailBlazer is closely related to the Saab 9-7X and GMC Envoy and differs from them only in appearance and tuning.
For 2008, the TrailBlazer offers two trim levels—LT and SS—with different equipment packages dubbed 1LT, 2LT, 3LT, 1SS, and 3SS. Three engines are offered in the TrailBlazer: a 285-hp, 4.2-liter inline-six; a 300-hp, 5.3-liter V-8; and the SS’s 6.0-liter V-8 with 390 horsepower. All engines connect to a four-speed automatic transmission. A long-wheelbase EXT version was discontinued a couple of years ago. The TrailBlazer offers a good amount of space for passengers and cargo, but it has one of the cheapest-looking interiors in the automotive world.
Major competitors to the TrailBlazer include the Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, Mercury Mountaineer, GMC Envoy, Saab 9-7X, Mazda CX-7, Nissan Xterra, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota 4Runner, and Toyota Highlander.
After factoring in the inevitable incentives that accompany the TrailBlazer, it has a decent amount of equipment and is somewhat of a good value, but the interior and the driving experience place it at the bottom of its class. The SS model transcends its plebeian roots, however, and will provide some serious acceleration, handling, and grins.
Click here to read our full review of the Chevrolet TrailBlazer.
Click here to read our full review of the Chevrolet TrailBlazer SS.
Click here to read our latest comparison test involving the Chevrolet TrailBlazer.
Click here to read the latest comparison test involving the Chevrolet TrailBlazer SS.
What’s New for 2008
For 2008, XM satellite radio and curtain airbags are standard on all TrailBlazers. Three new colors are offered for ’08: Dark Cherry Metallic, Black Granite Metallic, and Desert Brown Metallic.