This week I tested the 2005 Chevrolet Trail Blazer EXT 4WD Special Purpose SUV. It occurs to me looking at the number of cars and trucks and SUV’s Chevrolet is responsible for on our roads, one must wonder if there are too many of the line. Why do they produce so many cars? Just an observation.
This Trail Blazer is on the cutting edge of technology and I’m thrilled to see GM take the lead in R&D to improve the cars we drive. I was impressed with the Hy-Wire fuel cell vehicle from GM a year or so ago which they feel will be available commercially in 10-20 years. Personal fuel cell vehicles will trail commercial by about 10 years. Well, it’s a long time, but at least they are forging ahead. In the meantime, they are doing the things they can do, with present development of technology, such as this Trail Blazer that is engineered with DOD, for Displacement on Demand.
During a Press Conference at the LA Auto Show 2005, keynote speaker, Volkswagen AG Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder made it clear they don’t really share the optimism for Hydrogen powered vehicles like the Hy-Wire I mention here. Basically he says for all around improvement for the environment and better fuel economy, diesel is the best solution. I have written about this issue in the past, and I believe he is right, and I agree that Bio-fuels will play a big roll in that progression away from fossil fuels until other sources, like hydrogen are more practical.
Back to the present…
Parts – US
Assembly – Oklahoma City, OK. USA
Class: – Special Purpose
Cars: – Astro, Avalanche, Aveo, Blazer, Cavalier, Cobalt, Colorado, Corvette, Equinox, Express, Express cargo van, Impala, Malibu, Malibu Maxx, Monte Carlo, Silverado 15,25 & 3500, SSR, Suburban, Tahoe, Trail Blazer, Uplander and Venture.
Handling & Performance:
One of the original in this class, Chevrolet remains one of the best performers. Displacement on Demand keeps GM up with current technology. DOD is a Cylinder deactivation technology that is intended to improve fuel economy without sacrificing performance. It does this by using only half the cylinders during low power demand and kicks in all 8 when power is needed. It shuts down every other cylinder in firing order during light load operation. The valves simply stay closed unless they are needed.
I like it. Always have.
Fit and Finish:
All of the competition is similarly priced. Trail Blazer is certainly on the better end of the cost curve.
Very good compliment for the money.
In my opinion this is the best of the bunch. The price is right, the styling is “Today” and it must be in your list of those to test drive. However, that being said, and although they are not in this class for competition, “Crossovers” (cross of SUV and Mini Van) should be considered here. In a review to come I had the pleasure of testing the New Buick Terraza and in my opinion this breed is better than the SUV. It carries all the SUV look, eliminates the 4-wheel drive and thus improves on gas performance and includes sliding doors that are so much more convenient – and all for the same money or less.
Trail Blazer $28-34,000, Mercury Mountaineer $30-39,000, Ford Explorer $27-38,000, GMC Envoy $30-42,000, Dodge Durango $27-36,000, Toyota 4Runner $27-37,000, Honda Pilot $27-34,000, Infiniti FX $35-45,000, Mitsubishi Montero $35,800.
Long history in this class.
Fuel economy is not as good as I would hope for.
5.3 liter V8 engine, 4-speed electronic trans, power steering, power heated mirrors, daytime running lights, dual front air bags, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, rear child safety door locks, battery rundown protection, theft deterrent system, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, rear heat and air, stereo with CD player, bucket seats with 8-way driver seat, folding 2nd and 3rd row seats, power rear glass vents and under floor rear storage.
14 City and 19 Highway MPG.
Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
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