While the good-looking TrailBlazer would certainly look right at home sitting next to the 2013 Malibu on dealer lots, Chevy already has a three-row utility vehicle in the Traverse. Buyers in Thailand, where the vehicle debuted ahead of the Bangkok International Motor Show, are more apt to need a real body-on-frame SUV like the TrailBlazer. And U.S. buyers looking for a three-row truck can still roll in a Tahoe. Either way, The General has to figure it doesn't really want another burly three-row utility vehicle sitting on its CAFE ledger.
Still, there's much to like about the 2013 TrailBlazer, especially underhood. GM is offering two turbo-diesel four-cylinders in 2.5- and 2.8-liter displacements. The smaller engine is rated at 150 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, while the extra displacement bumps horsepower to 180 and torque to a particularly impressive 346 lb-ft. A five-speed manual and six-speed automatic will be offered. GM says the engines are designed to last for 240,000 kilometers – nearly 150,000 miles.
The TrailBlazer will hit dealers in Thailand in June, with much of the rest of the world – minus the U.S. – to follow. Don't thing this is some stripped out truck for developing economies though, as the TrailBlazer is sporting a pretty long list of standard features, including lots of safety equipment – stability control, ABS, traction control, electronic brake-force distribution, and hill descent control – that we take for granted here.
Click past the jump to read the full press release, and be sure to check out our high-res gallery.
BANGKOK – The Trailblazer, Chevrolet's tough new "haul-anything, go-anywhere" SUV, made its world debut today at a special event ahead of The 33rd Bangkok International Motor Show in Thailand.
First previewed in concept form at last year's Dubai International Motor Show in the Middle East, the Trailblazer will go on sale around the world, beginning with Thailand in June.
Based on General Motors' new global body-on-frame midsize truck architecture, the Trailblazer was designed to feature premium ride comfort and handling dynamics for urban and highway driving, matched by superior off-road capabilities.
Inside, the all-new Trailblazer features leading interior space and intuitive three-row tumble and fold-flat seating, representing Chevrolet's most significant play in the competitive body-on-frame midsize SUV segment.
Available in two- and four-wheel-drive configurations, the Trailblazer is powered by GM's new four-cylinder Duramax turbo-diesel engines that offer class-leading power and torque matched with efficiency and refinement.
Martin Apfel, president, GM Southeast Asia and Chevrolet Sales Thailand, said the introduction of the new Trailblazer, which will be built at GM Thailand's manufacturing facility in Rayong, will boost Chevrolet's presence in the world's fast-growing SUV markets.
"True to its name, the Trailblazer will blaze the trail for new Chevrolet vehicles coming into the market. It has been built tough to offer Chevrolet customers everything they need from a heavy-duty SUV," he said.
Designed for family transport and urban commuting, the Trailblazer is equally at home negotiating off-road terrain as it is with urban traffic and highway cruising," Apfel added. "It will hit the sweet spot, not just for consumers in Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia, but in every place around the world where it will be sold."
The Trailblazer was developed in tandem with the all-new Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup truck by a highly skilled team of GM engineers, who used their expertise to add passenger vehicle attributes to the midsize truck architecture.
Team members lived in Thailand during the development of both vehicles, immersing themselves in the highly competitive truck and SUV market and observing how Thais use their vehicles and the driving conditions they experience. The insights gathered led to the development of Trailblazer models covering two specification levels: the mid-level LT and the range-topping LTZ.
Powertrain and Transmission
The Trailblazer will be powered by GM's all-new family of Duramax four-cylinder turbo-diesel engines, featuring 2.5L and 2.8L displacements. The engines incorporate a host of technologies aimed at delivering an optimal balance of power, performance and fuel economy.
The range-topping 2.8L variant features a variable-geometry turbocharger for optimal power and efficiency across the engine's revolution band, and a balancer-shaft for greater smoothness. Both engines feature components designed to last for 240,000 kilometers, enhancing durability and reliability while contributing to lower cost of ownership.
A choice of two drivetrains will be offered – a five-speed manual transmission and a six-speed automatic featuring electronic shift-control with clutch-to-clutch capability and an electro-hydraulic control module.
The 2.8-liter engine is rated at 180 horsepower (132 kW) and 346 lb.-ft. of torque (470 Nm) with an available six-speed automatic transmission (324 lb.-ft. / 440 Nm with a five-speed manual). The 2.5-liter engine is rated at 150 horsepower (110 kW) and 258 lb.-ft. of torque (350 Nm).
Additional powertrains for specific markets will be announced later.
Ride and Handling
The Trailblazer's foundation for both its on- and off-road capabilities is its robust body-on-frame architecture. With the support of an independent five-link rear suspension, a feature found in more upmarket, premium SUVs, the Trailblazer displays none of the typical characteristics of conventional body-on-frame SUVs. In fact, it enjoys a combination of best-in-class luxurious ride and responsiveness. The use of coil springs throughout also provides the Trailblazer with better suspension articulation, a useful trait in off-road conditions, in addition to providing passenger car-like handling dynamics on the road.
"Our objective when developing the Trailblazer was to achieve ride and handling dynamics that match, and in many cases exceed, those of similar-size crossover vehicles," said Brad Merkel, GM's Global Vehicle Line Executive for Midsize Trucks and SUVs. "The Trailblazer will cater to a wide range of driving styles and requirements. It is car-like responsive and premium in its ride quality while offering the off-road capability that our customers demand. That makes it the complete SUV package."
The Trailblazer range boasts an impressive array of active and passive safety features, including:
• Electronic Stability Control
• Anti-lock Braking System
• Hydraulic Brake Assist
• Traction Control
• Dynamic Rear Brake Proportioning (first use of Rear Drive Brake in the market)
• Electronic Brake-force Distribution
• Panic Brake Assist
• Engine Drag Control
• Hill Descent Control
• Driver and Occupant Air Bag Protection
Exterior Design – Sophisticated Muscle
The Trailblazer's bold road presence was created by the GM South America Design Center in São Caetano do Sul, Brazil, and shares a number of design cues with its sister vehicle, the Chevrolet Colorado, in line with Chevrolet's global design DNA.
Exterior highlights include a "body in-wheels out" design that delivers high approach and departure angles. A dramatic power dome in the hood combined with a raised cowl designed to give the Trailblazer a strong, purposeful appearance, while higher-mounted dual projector headlamps are positioned beneath the power dome, emphasizing the visual strength in the face of the vehicle.
Also prominent is the contemporary dual-port grille – an unmistakable Chevrolet cue – that carries a three-dimensional grille mesh. It is complemented by polished aluminum decor trims in the fascias, rockers, belt line, tailgate and roof rack.
"The Trailblazer delivers a great combination of capabilities, from negotiating off-road trails to daily city driving, that we wanted to convey visually," said Matt Noone, director of Design for GM do Brasil. "There's an obvious sense of muscle in the design, but at the same time a very sophisticated appearance in line with the world's premium SUVs. From every angle, the Trailblazer looks agile and athletic, with a refined finish that makes it a vehicle our customers will aspire to own."
The Trailblazer will be available in seven exterior colors: Summit White, Black Sapphire, Sizzle Red, Auburn Brown, Blue Mountain, Royal Gray and Switchblade Silver.
Interior – Spacious, Refined and Flexible
Signature Chevrolet cues continue inside, conveying spaciousness, flexibility and an upscale appearance in all control interfaces. With a flowing instrument panel, integrated center stack and signature Chevrolet dual cockpit design, the interior of the all-new Trailblazer combines car-like characteristics with the boldness expected of a true SUV. The seven-passenger interior offers intuitive three-row tumble and/or fold-flat seat versatility and best-in-class spaciousness in the third row.
"We made the seating both flexible and intuitive. There's no need to pull out the owner's manual to figure out how to configure the seats," Noone said. "The third row in the all-new Trailblazer isn't an afterthought. It's an authentic third row where people can sit comfortably for long trips. Combine that with luxurious interior appointments and it is easy to see why the Trailblazer really is an all-purpose vehicle."
Additional interior details include:
• Second row 60/40 split seats with single latch forward gravity tumble, fold-flat capability, and six-degree seat-back reclining with integrated folding armrests, incorporated with cup holders;
• Third row 50/50 split seats with center console storage and fold-flat capability;
• Flat floor storage from the front row rearward when all seats are folded to provide extreme load capability;
• Auxiliary power plug with USB and Bluetooth connectivity.
Contrasting trim used with the light-colored leather seating and dual-grained surfaces on the instrument panel provide a premium feel. A number of storage compartments are located throughout the interior, including a covered center bin for the concealment of valuable items, and a large dual glovebox.
Pricing, full specifications and features will be released later.