General Motors India has just imported a couple of Chevrolet TrailBlazer SUVs from Thailand. Reason for Import details are innocuously detailed, with “Imported for R&D purpose”. Now, this isn’t the first time that General Motors India has had a tryst with the TrailBlazer. This big, brawler of an SUV was showcased as far back as the 2012 Indian Auto Expo, but never made it past the show floor, as production plans never materialized.
Back to the present, the import of two diesel powered TrailBlazers, with automatic transmissions in tow, does indicate that the automaker may have larger plans for this SUV. Significantly larger than the Captiva, and using an old school ladder frame chassis, the TrailBlazer is based on a pick up truck, in this case the Chevrolet Colorado, much like the Toyota Fortuner and the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport luxury SUVs.
The vehicle measures 4,878 mm in length, 1,902 mm in width, 1,834 mm in height and features a 2,870 mm wheelbase, which makes it larger in exterior dimensions than the Captiva SUV. A second generation version using the TrailBlazer nameplate, the SUV made its debut in 2012, at the Bangkok Motor Show of that year. This makes the vehicle relatively new, as most ladder framed SUVs usually have life cycles close to a decade.
The SUV is currently produced at Thailand and Brazil, and is sold in emerging markets around the world, including South East Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. The vehicle is a genuine 7 seater, with the seats arranged in a 2+2+3 layout. In terms of engines and transmissions, the version imported into India features the 2.8 liter-4 cylinder Duramax turbo diesel motor in its latest state of tune – 200 Bhp-500 Nm.
The transmission on the versions imported into India is a 6 speed automatic unit, although Chevrolet also offers a 5 speed manual gearbox on lower variants. Both rear wheel and four wheel drive layouts are offered on this SUV, which also sells as the Holden Colorado 7 in the Australian market. While General Motors has chosen to remain tight lipped about its new vehicle plans for the Indian car market, the TrailBlazer could be a good addition to its line up if three factors are taken care of:
- The slow-selling Captiva needs to be withdrawn from India and the Trailblazer be brought in its place , in order to not confuse the buyer with two similarly priced products.
- The TrailBlazer should be assembled in India, through the CKD kit route, taking advantage of the Indo-Thai free trade agreement.
- A launch within the next one year is necessary, to keep the product reasonably fresh, even as the international variant of the SUV is due for a mid-life botox job.