Recently, much fuss has been made of "media bias", so let's start off this review of the 2006 Chevrolet TrailBlazer SS with our prejudices as they pertain to the subject matter. First, most of us at Autoblog Towers don't consider ourselves to be huge fans of midsize sport-utility vehicles, prefering instead to grab a like-sized sedan or wagon for general grocery-getting, or select a minivan if there's serious people-hauling that must be performed. Second, we believe firmly that historical monikers - such as Super Sport - need to be treated with respect, and not hung on a mundane product in cynical attempts to cash-in on hard-earned brand equity. Third, we're all suckers for a well-engineered powertrain. Lastly, we're big believers in the "sleeper" or "Q-ship" school of design, as there's much to be said for a wolf in sheep's clothing when it comes to crossing large distances in a short amount of time. And so with that established, we rolled the TrailBlazer SS into Day One of our Autoblog Garage. A muscular SUV that's packing Corvette power under the hood, and some serious parts to get all of it to the road. Keep reading for a bit of history behind this hot-rod SUV, and we'll also take a walk around the outside of our Silverstone Metallic tester. (Click through to the jump for a dozen photos and more of Day 1!) The Super Sport name and its SS abbreviation traces its origins back to a 1957 entry of a Corvette in the 12 Hours of Sebring. Four years later, the '61 Impala became the first production Chevrolet to wear a SS trim package, and in the years that followed, the two letters could be found following the name of several Chevy coupes. A mini-controversy of sorts erupted in 1994, when the Impala SS became the first sedan to be called a Super Sport (had car guys discovered the Internet at that time, a much larger stir would've likely resulted). This model earned a reputation that frankly was based more upon its stunning styling than on the merits of its performance, as the exact same powertrain could be found in the garden-variety Caprice on which it was based. Fast-forward to current day, and we now find the SS badge hanging off any number of vehicles, including an economy car, a station wagon, a half-ton pickup truck - and the subject of this review, a midsize sport-utility vehicle. Lest anyone forget, this is not the first high-performance SUV to come from General Motors. The GMC Typhoon was a spin-off of the Syclone; both vehicles mated turbocharging technology from Buick's Grand National program to the truck division's 4.3L V6, and then shoved the 280 HP motor in front of an all-wheel-drive system borrowed from the Astro minivan. The results were significantly better than the sum of the parts, and these vehicles built a tiny but dedicated following based not just on straight-line performance, but also somewhat surprising handling. Said another way, Chevrolet would do well to live up to the Typhoon's performance legacy. While the …
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|MPG||16 City / 22 Hwy|
|Transmission||4-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||291 @ 6000 rpm|
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