Earlier today, Chevrolet India launched the Trailblazer SUV at Rs 26.4 lakh, ex-showroom, New Delhi. The vehicle comes to India as a completely built unit (CBU) from Thailand, and boasts a couple of standout features. We look at them and also the ones that weaken the Trailblazer’s case in the market today.
Off to the positives first:
Most powerful in the segment
Among the full-size SUVs in the segment that the Trailblazer belongs, it sits happily at the top of the range, in terms of headline figures: 200 PS (at 3,600 rpm) and 500 Nm of torque (at 2,000 rpm). That’s a lot of torque being sent to the rear differential! In comparison, the Toyota Fortuner maxes out at 171PS and 343Nm, the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport at 178PS and 400Nm, the Ssangyong Rexton at 186PS and 402Nm, and the Isuzu MU-7 at 163PS and 360Nm.
To complement the added power, the Trailblazer comes with the largest wheels (18-inchers) here, while disc brakes all around come standard.
The Trailblazer comes with the longest wheelbase here, which not just aids its highway driving capabilities but also means that there’s a lot of space inside. In terms of wheelbase figures, bar the Isuzu MU-7 (at 3,050mm), the Trailblazer has the longest wheelbase. Like the others, the vehicle can seat seven.
While the Trailblazer is available in a rear-wheel drive configuration only, with a segment-leading 253 mm of ground clearance, it can surely handle most of the everyday stuff without throwing a fit. Meanwhile others measure 30mm less, at the very least – Fortuner is rated at 220mm while others are closer to the 210mm mark.
Quickest off the line
With a 0-100 kmph time of under 10 seconds (9.89 seconds, says AutocarIndia), the Trailblazer is the quickest off the line, among its competitors, which are somewhere in the 11-12 second range. Although, it must be noted that the Ssangyong Rexton, in one of the tests by BSM, managed to hit 100 km/h from standstill in just 9.66 seconds.
In terms of styling, the Trailblazer combines the old-school looks in a relatively less ‘in your face’ design. It looks handsome, but isn’t likely to offend anyone, so if you’re planning to replace your company car with this, it won’t be a big deal.
Also, the Trailblazer is more likely to fit in the urban crowd, unlike both the Fortuner and the Pajero Sport, which look much better doing off-roading.
And the negatives:
Available only in the top-spec LTZ version (thankfully!), the Chevrolet Trailblazer is slightly pricier than its main competitors. The reason behind that is that unlike them the Trailblazer is brought to India from Thailand via the CBU route. Once the company sees enough potential, the company might get the kits and start assembling it here, but until that happens, Rs 26,40,000 is the price you need to pay for the Trailblazer.
Only two airbags
Yes, it’s a huge SUV, but only two airbags (only for driver and passenger) isn’t going to make it the safest. While the competition isn’t far ahead in that aspect (except the Rexton which gets 4 airbags on the top trim), the soft-roaders can beat the Trailblazer fair and square there.
Lack of options
In other markets, the Trailblazer is also offered in slightly less feature-rich specs, but not in India. This put the Trailblazer at a slight disadvantage here. It is something that will work if Chevrolet brings the vehicle as a CKD, but at present, with the prices inflated already (thanks to import duties) it doesn’t make sense in bringing a lower variant.
No manual gearbox
By offering a manual gearbox, not only can Chevrolet make the Trailblazer lighter (it’s not the lightest among the competitors, with a 2,068 Kg kerb weight), it will also ensure that the driving enthusiast who wants to manually change gears isn’t disappointed. And a manual variant will be less expensive, too.
No All-Wheel Drive
Well, this is only for enthusiasts, and Chevrolet India is targetting a larger set of buyers here. But the absence of an all-wheel drive system means the Trailblazer can’t be as competitive off the road. And with the competition offering AWD systems at around the same price as the Trailblazer, it doesn’t paint a great picture for the newest SUV on the block.