Holden recently revised the Colorado ute and the Holden Trailblazer SUV on which it’s based, transforming both vehicles from average to impressive.
The Trailblazer is an “old school’’ large fourbie built on a ladder chassis with selectable 4WD offering high and low range as well as 2WD to the rear wheels.
They changed the rear suspension to coil springs and made it a more civilised beast for passenger duties.
Initially called Colorado7, the new Holden Trailblazer is a worthy competitor for Jeep’s pressed metal chassis Grand Cherokee, Toyota’s Fortuner, Mitsubishi’s Pajero Sport, Ford’s Everest and the Isuzu MU-X to name a few.
Trailblazer has a utilitarian style that’s fairly generic in the ute-based, large, fourbie wagon segment – rounded at the front and a rounded-off box at the back with small side windows.
Short of going full military style or ‘slique/chique” like some of the prestige offerings, there isn’t much you can do with a ute-based SUV to mask the origin of its lines.
That’s not to say Trailblazer is ugly, far from it. I would classify the exterior as easy to look at but uninspiring.
At least they didn’t do the Salvador Dali melting tail light treatment like Mitsubishi Sport.
In LTZ form, Trailblazer gets splashes of chrome trim and body hardware along with sparkly alloy wheels.
It’s a big vehicle with a strong on-road presence that holds appeal in itself.
The recently revised interior offers seven, leather upholstered seats in the LTZ and a standard, Holden style dash, in this case hard feel, with all the accoutrements expected these days built around a centre touchscreen control panel.
It’s roomy in the front and middle rows and the rear seats are a decent size though access to them is problematic for your arthritic grandparent.
The rears fold easily and flat into the floor but the lid on the small storage compartment behind can be difficult to close.
There’s generous headroom and the driving area is well planned. Boring colour scheme though with some textured fascia material to lift the look.
As the penultimate Trailblazer, the LTZ scores plenty of kit in terms of luxury and safety.
Local calibration and engineering input has transformed it into a vehicle you could comfortably take around Australia, towing a van if you want.
They laid on the driver assist stuff as well as adding plenty of creature comforts.
- Heated front seats
- Leather upholstery
- Premium audio with 8″ MyLink screen
- Remote vehicle start
- Dual zone climate control
- All coil spring suspension
- 18″ alloys
- Hard wired sat-nav
Using the same 2.8-litre turbo diesel as Colorado, Trailblazer has plenty of performance thanks to the 147kW/500Nm output.
They tweaked the engine at the recent revision changing the balance shaft and other internals along with new engine mounts and other sundry items.
It drives through a six-speed conventional auto transmission with drive selection by console mounted dial.
Other changes were made to the steering with fewer turns lock to lock and suspension changes.
All for the better.
It is a smooth vehicle to drive in, comfortable and controlled with minimal noise intrusion and decent reflexes on the road.
At 2200kg it aint no sports car though but will clip along at a fast pace like a luxury car on the freeway. On dirt roads – same, same. Off road – it’s almost unstoppable limited only by the road tyres.
Holden says it will do 8.6-litres/100km which I achieved during the test drive.
The all coil suspension delivers a supple ride and the all-wheel discs bite hard.
A job well done by Holden. Pity they were forced to accept the ill-mannered Colorado7 in the first instance. The full size spare is appreciated.
Safety is rated at five stars by ANCAP but the LTZ goes way further than that offering nearly the full suite of advanced driver assist features like blind spot warning, lane keeping, cross traffic alert and (pessimistic) forward collision alert.
- Powerful engine
- Good fuel economy
- Tows 3.0 tonnes
- Supple ride
- Quiet interior
- Proper 4WD system
- Dramatic improvement to drive feel with recent refresh
- Seven seats
- 5 year/unlimited km warranty
Not So Good Bits
- Doesn’t quite get all the advanced driver assist tech
- Can be thirsty
- Tailgate doesn’t open high enough for tall people
- Rear storage compartment won’t take towing apparatus
- Boring interior look
- Couldn’t figure out remote vehicle start
Grey nomads take note, Trailblazer would make a great around Oz tow vehicle thanks to the powerful engine and comfortable suspension.
As a Holden, there would be a dealer in just about every town, the vehicle is super robust, built on a ladder chassis and has a proper 4WD system.
Facts And Figures: 2018 Holden Trailblazer Ltz
- Engine: 2.8L four-cylinder turbo diesel producing 147kW/500Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic
- Warranty: 5 years/unlimited km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Thailand
- Price: from $52,490