I MUST admit I was a bit wary about accepting an invite to attend the launch of the upgraded Chevrolet Trailblazer in the Mpumalanga area last week.
So much so that I kept in constant contact with General Motors South Africa’s product communications manager Lunga Ntsendwana regarding the weather conditions in the area.
Lunga, a jolly fellow at the best and worst of times, suggested I bring a pair of Wellington boots along – just in case the rain didn’t let up!
The night before the launch was due to take place, the Nelspruit/White River area was hit by a thunderstorm with the rain and hail pelting down.
Lunga’s message was short.
“Bring the Wellies!”
Well in the end, the Wellies were not needed but conditions were tough in the forest and on dirt roads in the mountains ravaged by the rain during the last few weeks.
The Trailblazer, both in 4×4 and 4×2 modes, handled everything that Grant McCleery and his efficient team had set out for us to test the capabilities of the SUV.
From rough tracks in the forest to the top of the highest rocky mountain in the area, the vehicles miraculously came through unscathed.
But what is the upgraded Trailblazer all about?
It has come under the knife for 2014, with all five existing models receiving substantial specification enhancements.
With four of the five derivatives featuring powerful turbocharged diesel engines, the lineup now benefits from uprated outputs from both the 2.5-litre and 2.8-litre Duramax motors.
The 2.5D LT model now makes use of 120kW (up by 9%) and 380Nm (up by 8.5%).
The 2.8D LTZ models, available in either 4×2 or 4×4 guise, also have extra power and now produce 144kW (up 9%).
Automatic 2.8D LTZ models receive further enhancement in the form of a torque increase of 30Nm to 500Nm.
The tried-and-trusted 3.6litre petrol V6 engine fitted to the range-topping 3.6 LTZ AT model remains unchanged.
The vehicle also features a new, multi-information central LCD display panel.
The MyLink infotainment system is now also available in the Trailblazer, fitted as standard to all derivatives.
MyLink brings smartphone technology with a large 7-inch touch screen display and a host of media capabilities.
Chevrolet Trailblazer model range and pricing (incl VAT)
2.5D LT 4×2 manual (MT) – R386500
2.8D LTZ 4×2 AT – R456400
2.8D LTZ 4×4 MT – R489800
2.8D LTZ 4×4 AT – R506400
3.6D LTZ 4×4 AT – R516 700
All models come standard with a five-year/120000km warranty and roadside assistance package, as well as a five-year/90000km service plan, with service intervals scheduled every 15000km.
The Chevrolet Trailblazer is a great vehicle made even better with the host of improvements in the new model.
– Bobby Cheetham