For 2006, the Chevrolet Trailblazer undergoes several changes, the most noticeable being the addition of an SS model with a 6.0-litre V8 and 20-inch wheels.
Other changes include a revised exterior appearance on the LT, standard StabiliTrak stability control on all models, and an increase in horsepower on the inline six-cylinder, from 275 to 291. The 5.3-litre with Displacement on Demand that was only optional on the Trailblazer EXT is now available on all models. There are also improved, low-drag brakes, an enhanced Quiet Package with acoustic windshield and an additional sound insulation, and OnStar and satellite radio antennae have been combined into a single unit. Even with all of that, there are some hefty price breaks from 2005, with the base model dropping $7,095.
The new Trailblazer SS, the first Chevrolet SUV to wear the badge, is available in rear- and all-wheel-drive. Along with the larger engine, the SS comes with a sport suspension that sits one inch lower, with 25 per cent stiffer springs and 10 per cent larger front stabilizer bars than on regular models. Larger brakes can be upgraded with an available front brake cooling package. Visually, the SS is immediately identifiable with such styling cues as unique badges, black mesh grille, blacked-out rear pillars, and SS-signature instrument cluster. Leather seating is standard on Canadian models (it’s optional on U.S. vehicles).
Regular Trailblazer models use a 4.2-litre inline six-cylinder that can be optioned up to a 5.3-litre V8. All models use a four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. Both regular five-passenger Trailblazers and seven-passenger Trailblazer EXT models come in LS and LT trim, and can be optioned with Autotrac automatic four-wheel-drive, which makes them very capable for off-road manoeuvres.
LS models include air conditioning, fog lights, heated power mirrors, 16-inch aluminum wheels (17-inch on EXT), variable intermittent wipers, rear washer/wiper, cruise control, floor mats, power mirrors, CD player with six speakers, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, automatic power locks with keyless entry, and traction control on two-wheel-drive models.
The LT adds overhead console with garage door opener, leather-wrapped wheel, power rear vent windows on the EXT, eight-way power driver’s seat, and theft alarm. An upgraded stereo, DVD entertainment system and navigation system can be added to the LT.
The rugged Trailblazer is a body-on-frame vehicle, sharing its platform with the Buick Rainier, GMC Envoy and Saab 9-7X. It has a fairly tight turning radius for a truck and a smooth-running six that’s powerful enough, although handling isn’t as sharp as with many competitors. The Ford Explorer, Dodge Durango, Honda Pilot and Toyota 4Runner are worthy alternatives and should be shopped against the Trailblazer, especially the Honda and Toyota, which tend toward better build quality and interiors.
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