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Chevrolet Trailblazer LTZ (2002)

SEE ALSO: Chevrolet Buyer's Guide

By Matt/Bob Hagin

SPECIFICATIONS

     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 33,730
     Price As Tested                                    $ 35,175
     Engine Type              DOHC 24-valve 4.2 Liter I6 w/SMFI*
     Engine Size                                 256 cid/4195 cc
     Horsepower                                   270 @ 6000 RPM
     Torque (lb-ft)                               275 @ 3600 RPM
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                  113.0"/74.6"/191.8"
     Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
     Curb Weight                                     4639 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  18.7 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                          P245/65R17 all-season
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
     Drive Train                    Front-engine/all-wheel-drive
     Vehicle Type                       Five-passenger/five-door
     Domestic Content                                        N/A
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               N/A

PERFORMANCE

     EPA Economy, miles per gallon
        city/highway/average                            15/21/18
     0-60 MPH                                        9.0 seconds
     Maximum payload capacity                        1150 pounds
     Maximum towing capacity                         6200 pounds
                 * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

(Matt Hagin likes the new Chevy TrailBlazer sport/utility vehicle because it makes a good ski tramsporter. Bob Hagin laments the fact that the current crop of SUVs are boulevard dandies.)

BOB - This newest addition to the Chevy SUV lineup is another all- wheel-drive highway cruiser that will never see duty any rougher than the gravel driveway up to into a rustic, but fancy resort. But it has a transfer case that allows the driver to shift from two to all- wheel- drive on the fly. It's versatile enough that the AWD mechanism can be left engaged on dry pavement, too, but it isn't a true off-roader.

MATT - You're right, Dad, and the public likes it that way. Less than five-percent of the buyers of any of these latter-day off-roaders ever intend to do any serious rock-climbing or any other strenuous automotive activity that might scratch their fancy aluminum wheels or scratch the paint. Off-road devotees have evolved past the point where they take a stock SUV on those excursions. They might tow their custom-built, specially-constructed, single-purpose 4x4 to an event or a jumping off point, but they leave their '02 TrailBlazer tow vehicles at the ranger's parking lot. It's the newest addition to Chevy's SUV lineup and brings the bow-tie boys in line with their major competition. It's a step up from the decontented Blazer and now Chevy salesmen can offer their buyers a long line of SUVs that range from the little Tracker to the gargantuan Suburban. It's probably the most comprehensive line-up of SUVs on the market.

BOB - The "star" item in the new TrailBlazer is the new powerplant that it shares with a couple of other General Motors SUV "clones." It's a straight-six that GM developed as an "international" engine, which means that the corporation's engineering department can produce it as a four and even a five cylinder unit, depending on the conditions or requirements in the other countries that are being targeted. It's said to be a relatively simple trick to design one or two cylinders out of the middle of it. It's a nice unit that's all-aluminum with dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. The exhaust side of the valve train has a variable timing system that helps spread its 275 pound-feet of torque over a wide RPM range. The TrailBlazer comes as a two wheel-drive, but our upscale LTZ model carries full-time all- wheel-drive that doesn't need any input from the driver. If it encounters wheel slip on winter roads or if the driver gets too playful, the power is shifted to all four wheels. The only transmission available on the TrailBlazer is a four-speed automatic so to get a stick-shift, a Chevy fan will have to go for the hold-over Blazer.

MATT - The suspension on the TrailBlazer has been updated, but it's still conventional A-arms up front with a solid "live" axle in back. But GM has finally abandoned the archaic leaf spring system in back. It's gone over to a five-bar system with two trailing arms, a panhard rod and a pair of progressive coil springs to hold it up. It's not independent like some of its competition, but it's a great improvement in handling and ride comfort.

BOB - The TrailBlazer is a very slick vehicle, but it remains to be seen if the lack of a third-row seat is going to be a drawback to sales. Lots of SUV buyers determine their choice on how many people can be stuffed inside, regardless of whether they ever carry enough passengers to fill the thing. The Chevy development people say that a long wheelbase TrailBlazer that will carry a third-row bench seat is in the works, but it won't come out for about a year.

MATT - The TrailBlazer would make a great tow vehicle for a family ski boat or a vacation trailer. It weighs 4600 pounds and has a tow capacity of 6700 pounds.

BOB - Chevy markets so many different kinds of SUVs that between them and the "personal" pickups, GM could set up a whole separate brand.

MATT - Personally, I hope that doesn't happen, Dad. I have enough trouble keeping track of the brands that are sold now.

 

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