2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer (454)

Overview:

This week I had the opportunity of taking a 2003 Chevrolet TrailBlazer to Sequoia National Park for a week of hiking the beautiful mountains of Mineral King, California. What a contrast from the high tech of the city to the low tech of the High Sierra in this great country.

But I brought the high tech with me in this Trail Blazer equipped with OnStar Satellite communications and my Casio watch with altimeter, barometer, compass and temperature. I know, what will they think of next, eh? Ok, I didn’t have a GPS but that’s next. I wish my dialup worked as well but that’s another story.

Back to OnStar for a minute. I’m always amazed to be able to push one button and talk to someone in North Carolina, in this case, and get my exact position and the weather report for our hike. My cell phone didn’t work, but my TrailBlazer gave me the comfort to know I could reach help if I needed it.

General Info:

Parts – USA

Assembly – Moraine, Ohio, and EXT version from Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Class:  – Special Purpose

Cars: – Astro, Avalanche, Blazer, Cavalier, Corvette, Express, Impala, Malibu, Monte Carlo,     S10 Pickup, Silverado 1500,2500, 2500 HD & 3500, SSR, Suburban, Tahoe, Tracker,     Trail Blazer & Venture.

    

Box styling G-Class Mercedes                    Benz Honda’s box version – Element.

Handling & Performance:

The premium ride suspension package works well and it got a real test on the twists and turns and rugged road. It was noticeably comfortable. The last time I tested this car was in Portland on its roll out along with the Chevrolet Avalanche. The advanced technology inline six-cylinder engine is smooth and quiet and powerful. There were four of us and all our baggage and food for a week for eighteen. I figured we hauled about 1000 pounds of people and gear between the inside and the roof rack.

Styling:

The look and feel is just my taste and I like the tail light change this year. I’m sorry folks I’m turned off by the square box designs hitting the highway recently with the likes of Honda Element or the Mercedes Benz G-Class.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Conveniences:

The most convenient thing about this Chevy is that, like most American made cars, you can count on “User Friendly” easy to operate feature controls. That is not true of many European and Japanese cars with controls more difficult than they need to be. The child locks for the rear doors is good although I must admit it took a while to discover why one door would work and the other wouldn’t. I kept looking for the control on the dash. Well dah dad, the control is manual on the door. Ok son I knew that…

But it did seem to me that if you want to keep children from opening the door, it should be both.

The rear window on the lift gate lifts up but when you lift the entire gate things can fall out. Splat! Yes, the spaghetti sauce jar had worked lose from its bag and rolled out when I lifted the gate. On a positive note, if any door or rear opening is ajar, you get a warning light on the instrument panel, which was helpful at least once.

Cost:

The prices have crept up on American cars as they have successfully competed with foreign automakers. But one has to wonder if that doesn’t have something to do with the cross ownership or marriage of several of the world’s auto manufacturers.

Consumer Recommendation:

This has to be in your search for an SUV in this price range. Of the competition listed I have to tell you this TrailBlazer will stand out.

The Competition:

Chevrolet TrailBlazer $27-36,000, Dodge Durango $27-39,000, Ford Expedition $32-42,000, Honda Passport $23-31,000, Jeep Grand Cherokee $27-39,000, Mitsubishi Montero Sport $23-33,000, Nissan Pathfinder $27-34,000, Toyota 4Runner $27-36,000.

Good News:

Comfortable, powerful, great handling, roomy, great turning radius due to the inline 6 cylinder engine, over 6,000 lbs of towing power.

Bad News:

Liftgate can lead to trouble, lacks a third seat.

Standard Equipment:

Inline six cylinder engine, 4-speed auto trans, Autotrac 4-wheel drive, dual zone air conditioning, front and rear stabilizer bars, power steering, premium ride suspension package, 16 inch aluminum wheels, Hydroformed frame structure, power heated mirrors, dual air bags, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, rear child security door locks, stereo radio with CD player, tinted glass, open liftgate warning, 8-way driver power seat, folding second row seat, cruise control, leather wrapped steering wheel, remote keyless entry, theft deterrent system.

Gas Stats:

15 City and 21 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $31,645.

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