2005 TrailBlazer EXT New Car Test Drive
Chevrolet TrailBlazer is powerful, rugged and capable, yet smooth, comfortable and civilized. Its rigid chassis, sophisticated suspension, powerful brakes and impressive details place it among the best of the mid-size SUVs. It's stable and manuverable, and provides a smooth ride. It handles rough washboard surfaces well and is capable off-road, offering a sophisticated four-wheel-drive system and skid plates. TrailBlazer comes standard with a superbly smooth and modern inline six-cylinder engine.
An extended-wheelbase model called the TrailBlazer EXT adds three-row seating, accomodating up to seven people. It comes standard with the same excellent six-cylinder engine, but a new V8 is also available.
New for 2005, the Vortec 5300 V8 with its Displacement on Demand technology promises about 8 percent better fuel economy than the engine it replaces. Equipped with the V8, a 2WD Trailblazer EXT can tow up to 7,000 pounds. The EXT needs the V8 due to its heavier weight, and because of its much greater length, the EXT lacks the handling and stability that make the standard TrailBlazer such a great family vehicle.
Curtain side-impact airbags with a rollover sensing system designed to provide increased head protection are available on 2005 models. Also new is an occupant-sensing system for the front passenger-side airbag. There are also improved seats, refinements to the navigation system and more bright trim for the interior.
Trailblazer comes in two trim levels, LS and LT. Each is available in regular and extended wheelbase lengths, with two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Long-wheelbase Trailblazers are called Trailblazer EXT, and stretch 16 inches longer in wheelbase to provide a third row of seats for seven-passenger capacity.
The base engine for all TrailBlazers is the Vortec 4200, a 4.2-liter inline-6 with dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, and variable phasing of the exhaust cam rated at 275 horsepower and 275 pounds-feet of torque.
EXT buyers may opt for the Vortec 5300 5.3-liter overhead-valve V8 ($1500), rated 300 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque.
Safety features include dual-stage driver and passenger airbags, which inflate with less intensity in slower crashes. Side-impact head-curtain airbags are optional ($495).
LS ($27,720) models are nicely equipped with dual-zone air conditioning, CD player, reclining bucket seats and floor console, power windows and programmable door locks, tilt steering, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, 16-inch aluminum wheels, luggage rack roof rails, and three power outlets. An optional package ($1,185) adds remote keyless entry, content-theft alarm, heated foldaway mirrors, a rear window defogger, color-keyed carpeted floor mats, crossbars for the luggage rack, and Charcoal-colored body-side moldings.
LT ($30,370) adds fog lamps, an overhead console with HomeLink transmitter and Travelnote digital recorder, body-color grille and door handles, eight-way power for the driver's seat, a trailer wiring harness and 17-inch aluminum wheels. Two-tone leather seating surfaces, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual front eight-way power reclining bucket seats with adjustable lumbar support is available as a package ($1,180).
Trailblazer EXT LS ($29,840) and Trailblazer EXT LT ($32,020) are equipped similarly to their standard-wheelbase counterparts, but add third-row seating plus separate rear-seat heating and air conditioning controls. EXT LS models come standard with a HomeLink transmitter, fog lamps, 17-inch wheels, and other upgrades.
Four-wheel drive ($2,250) is optional on all models. So is cruise control ($275), a tilt-and-slide sunroof ($950), and OnStar ($695), although OnStar and cruise control are available as a special package for just $70. Adjustable pedals ($150) and navigation ($1,600-$1,995) are offered on the LT only. XM Satellite Radio ($325) is optional on all models, and an MP3 player is offered on LS ($135). DVD entertainment ($1,295) is available on all models. Various axle ratios (3.42, 3.73, and 4.10:1) and a locking differential are also avialable.