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Oct 19, 2012

GM unveils SUV aimed at challenging Japan’s market dominance

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First showed in concept form in 2011, Chevrolet’s Trailblazer sports utility vehicle (SUV) has now hit showroom floors in South Africa, with the clear aim of challenging Toyota’s dominance in the SUV D-segment of the local market.

“We are going after Toyota’s Fortuner. It’s the Trailblazer’s reason for being,” says General Motor South Africa (GMSA) marketing GM Alastair Ironside.

“The Trailblazer is coming in a segment of the market we are not currently competing in,” adds GMSA president and MD Edgar Lourencon.

He says he is confident the seven-seater SUV has the characteristics to be a success in the South African market, offering “outstanding comfort, an outstanding interior and great performance”.

Ironside also notes that the Trailblazer offers more standard features than rival products, as well as a 15 000 km service interval as opposed to the 10 000 km often seen in this segment. This means the General Motors (GM) SUV is 12% to 18% less expensive when it comes to service, maintenance and collision parts, he says.

The Chevrolet Trailblazer was developed by GM’s Brazilian subsidiary, GM do Brasil, for markets in Africa, the Pacific Rim, the Middle East, South America and Eastern Europe. It is manufactured in Thailand.

“The Trailblazer had to appear agile and athletic,” says GM do Brasil design director Dagoberto Tribia. “It had to be powerful, but nimble in an urban environment, but also superbly capable in an off-road rock-climbing role. This had to be backed up by a high level of refinement, comfort and safety for the occupants.”

VEHICLE SPECIFICATIONS
The Trailblazer is 4 878 mm long, 1 902 mm wide and 1 848 mm high. Ground clearance is 267 mm. Approach and departure angles  are 31 degrees at the front and 26 degrees at the rear courtesy of short front and rear body overhangs.

Inside, load space ranges from 205 l with all seats upright, to 1 830 l with seats folded flat.

The seven-passenger seating configuration, with all seats suitable for adults, offers three-row tumble and fold-flat versatility to grow luggage space if necessary.

The Trailblazer design team adopted a high-to-low, theatre-style seating arrangement for the second and third rows of seats.

Some 32 individual compartments of varying size are located throughout the interior. These include a covered centre storage bin, a dual glovebox, and a storage space large enough to accommodate a jumbo-sized golf bag.

Useful amenities include auxiliary 12 V power points and USB and Bluetooth connectivity through the infotainment system. A separate heat, ventilation, and air-conditioning control system is mounted in the roof of the rear compartment to provide rear seat passengers control over their own ventilation flow.

The body-on-frame Chevrolet Trailblazer is offered with a choice of 2.5 l or 2.8 l Duramax diesel engines, or a 3.6 l V6 petrol 24-valve engine.

The 2.5 l diesel engine produces maximum power of 110 kW with peak torque of 350 Nm, while the 2.8 l Duramax engine delivers 132 kW with 470 Nm of torque when mated to the six-speed automatic transmission, and 440 Nm of torque when coupled to the manual five-speed transmission.

GMSA says fuel consumption for the combined cycle has been measured at  8.2 l/100 km for the 2.5 l diesel and 8.8 l/100 km for the 2.8 l manual diesel. When supplied with the automatic transmission option, fuel consumption for this model is an estimated 9.8 l/100 km for the combined cycle.

The 2.5 l engine option drives via a five-speed manual transmission and two-wheel drive. The 2.8 l diesel engine is available with either five-speed manual transmission or six-speed automatic transmissions, the latter featuring driver shift control. There is a choice of either two- or four-wheel drive.

The part time four-wheel drive system offers a choice between two-wheel drive motoring (2H), high-ratio four-wheel drive (4H), or low-ratio four-wheel drive (4L), for when the going gets really tough.

The mode required is selected via an electronic switch mounted on the centre console. The transfer case can be shifted on-the-fly between 2H and 4H modes, at speeds up to 100 km/h.

The Trailblazer’s 3.6 l, four-camshaft V6 engine produces maximum power of 176 kW, with peak torque of 329 Nm. It achieves this with claimed fuel economy of 11.9 l/100km in average use.

The 3.6 l V6 engine is mated to an electronically controlled six-speed automatic transmission with driver shift control.

Towing capacity on the Trailblazer is up to 2 950 kg, making use of the 2.8 l derivative.

Driver aids on the SUV include a traction control system, hydraulic brake assist, electronic brake force distribution, panic brake assist, electronic stability control, cornering brake control, hill descent control, and hill start assist, which prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards when pulling away on a steep uphill gradient.

The LT specification level is offered as a base line on just one model, the 2.5 LT Diesel 4X2. It includes body colour side mirrors and door handles; front fog lamps; electrically activated rear lift-gate latch; six-speaker audio system with front loading CD, MP3 compatibility and iPod functionality; satellite controls for radio and cruise control; tilt adjustable steering wheel; power windows; remote keyless entry; power steering, air-conditioner with driver control for rear ventilation; 16-inch aluminium wheels; anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution; front airbags for driver and front passenger; curtain side airbags; side-mounted running boards; ultrasonic rear park assist retractable cover for cargo area; and underbody shields for the fuel tank and transfer case.

The LTZ specification is available with either the 2.8 l diesel power or V6 petrol engine, and adds, among others features, projector lens-type headlamps, rear fog lamps, chrome side mirrors and door handles, roof rails, 18-inch aluminium wheels, six-way power adjustable driver’s seat, multiple information display, leather trim, eight-speaker audio system, and auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Warranty cover on the Trailblazer is five years/120 000 km. Roadside emergency protection is provided for the full warranty period.

Pricing starts at R364 000.

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter

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