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Chevrolet Trailblazer Z71 4x4 (2017) review

The Colorado-based SUV now has the Z71 styling pack sitting on top of the model range. Is the extra 20k worth the moolah?

What’s new?

The Chevrolet Trailblazer, an SUV based on the Colorado pickup, is now over five years old in its current generation, which is why the Thai office has decided to boost its appeal for 2017 by introducing a style-led version called Z71.

The Z71 treatment has been applied exclusively on the range-topping LTZ with 4x4 running gear and, at 1.499 million baht, is asking for a 20k premium over the donor vehicle.

This strategy is quite similar, if not exactly the same, as that of Toyota, which offers the TRD Sportivo styling pack for the Hilux-based Fortuner. But with prices starting north of 1.7 million baht in 2.8-litre 4x4 form, the Fortuner TRD Sportivo will probably not be compared with the Trailblazer Z71 by potential punters.

What’s cool?

Design-wise, the Trailblazer Z71 is quite appealing on the eyes because the visual details truly make it stand out from the standard model. Black is the magic word for the Trailblazer Z71, hence that hue being applied on the wheels and on the sticker of the bonnet.

                 Headrests get Z71 logos.

The same goes for the dark interior where Chevrolet has embedded the Z71 logos on the head rests of the front seats. And just to make sure that this particular Trailblazer will be immediately noticeable to passers-by, those initials can also be found on the bonnet and boot lid.

As the engine and chassis have already been updated last year, the driving manners of the Trailblazer remain competitive in its class. The 180hp 2.5-litre diesel-turbo and six-speed automatic provides ample zing on the move and is most appreciative on the highway where you can make good use of the 440Nm of maximum torque.

The electrically assisted power steering has a precise and intuitive feel, while the five-link rear suspension makes up for a generally smooth and refined ride. The Trailblazer continues to join the class-leading Ford Everest in making other pickup-based SUVs like the Fortuner, Isuzu MU-X and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport feel less refined and less car-like to drive and ride in.

Adding up to a reasonably fine driving experience in the Trailblazer is the generous amount of driver-assist features (at this price point) like lane-departure and rear-traffic alert.

What’s not?

Considering what the Fortuner TRD Sportivo has to offer over the stock model, the bespoke styling bits of the Trailblazer Z71 may not be sumptuous enough.

                Wheels come in only black.

Chevrolet is keen to underscore the Trailblazer Z71 as a “premium” model in its class. But there are still many other features its rivals have that are lacking in the Trailblazer Z71 like cabin-filled airbags, front seats with multi-way electric adjustments and power tailgate operation.

Sure, these convenience items will definitely push up the price of the Trailblazer Z71, but they are generally liked by the average Thai SUV buyer and help give a truer premium feeling Chevrolet is trying to holler.

Buy or bye?

Introducing the Z71 exercise to the Trailblazer from the Colorado is definitely a good thing because many SUV punters put much emphasis on style. So this could be quite a good deal for fans of the Trailblazer.

It would have been even better had Chevrolet decided to extend the Z71 cosmetic upgrade to the two-wheel-drive version (Toyota does this) because a good number of SUV users don’t need genuine off-road ability. As well, the price point is automatically lowered for a more affordable level.

The Trailblazer continues to score with stable ride and cruising refinement.

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