April 07, 2022 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Isabel N. Delos Reyes

2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer Premier

The Bold Reboot

First let’s please get the model’s name discussion out of the way. The 2nd generation midsize ladder-framed 7-seat capacity genuine SUV turbodiesel Chevrolet built in Thailand for our regional market, and the models sold in Brazil, South Africa and the Middle East markets that alternatively used a 279 bhp 3.6-liter V6 gasoline powerplant that bore the name Trailblazer, all have absolutely nothing to do with the all-new global subcompact crossover of the same name. The chassis and component sharing between the second-generation Chevrolet Trailblazer and first-generation Isuzu MU-X also ended with the Japanese manufacturer building their own new larger chassis for their outstanding 2nd generation all-new model.

So, with a clean slate to build a completely new mobility solution for the global market, Chevrolet has produced this all-new Trailblazer imported from South Korea built on the monocoque VSS-F platform, General Motor’s primary front-wheel drive chassis that is also capable of all-wheel drive. Our test unit here is the top-spec Premier variant in Crimson Metallic (the other available colors for both variants are Summit White, Black Meet Kettle Metallic, Blue Glow Metallic, Vivid Metallic, Mahogany Red Metallic, Abalone White Tri-Coat, and Satin Steel Grey Metallic) that costs P133,000.00 more than the second variant called the LT which shares roughly 85% of the standard equipment. For the extra money you get full LED lighting that includes the front fog lamps and rear signature stoplight, silver colored skid plates, automatic climate control with air moisture sensor, hands-free power liftgate with LED logo projection light to literally indicate where one should swipe kick to activate the function while the key fob is on your person, and a roof rail.

With a 2640 mm wheelbase, length at 4408 mm, width at 2052 mm, and height at 1656 mm with a 7-inch ground clearance, the all-new Chevrolet Trailblazer is the most spacious and most dynamic in its traditional subcompact crossover class direct competition that includes models from Volkswagen, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, Subaru, and Mazda. Once the alternative brands in our market from China are introduced to the mix however, like MG (Morris Garage is also distributed by The Covenant Car Company Inc. also known as TCCCI, the same company that is also the distributor for Chevrolet and Volvo), Geely, Chery, and GAC, the buying decision would get exponentially more complex. Chevrolet brand fans would rejoice to have a completely new model to explore and enjoy but undecided new buyers would be most concerned with its retail price.

In the North American market, the front-wheel driven Chevrolet Trailblazer with the 1.3-liter turbo and CVT is rated higher than a Mazda CX-30, Subaru Crosstrek, and Kia Seltos. In our market the Trailblazer is much less expensive compared to the Mazda CX-30 Sport and Subaru XV, but it is P86,888.00 more expensive than the Kia Seltos SX in two-tone paint. Though they are both actually in the same subcompact crossover class, the Trailblazer Premier is much larger and more engaging than its also new brother the Tracker, but it also costs a lot more.

For what it is; a peppy, comfortable, well-featured, attractive 5-seater subcompact crossover with comprehensive active and passive safety features, I like the all-new Trailblazer and think it is even more compelling than the Kia Seltos. Thankfully Chevrolet Philippines chose the more potent 1.3-liter turbo engine over the 1.2-liter turbo that is also available and is used in the all-new Tracker. It does not have the optional AWD system mated to a 9-speed automatic, which would definitely make the Trailblazer even more price challenging, in its place is the new optimized Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with multimode drive system that communicates so well with the new inline-3 cylinder engine that I can say that the synergy and final results are the very best that I have ever experienced. The torque powerband works so perfectly with the CVT that the engine feels much more potent than what the numbers state. The entire system is so synchronized that you do not feel any breathlessness or slop in its functionality which makes the driving experience quite enjoyable.

The suspension is straightforward, MacPhersons upfront and a torsion-beam setup for the rear. The ride is really quite good, balanced, and compliant. Not sloppy at all or unnecessarily taut. At a kerb weight of 1373 kg., the Trailblazer actually feels even lighter than that when you are on the move. The standard two-tone 17 x 7.5J alloy wheels are wrapped with well-balanced performance 225/60R17 99H Continental ProContact TX tires. The brakes are vented 11.8-inch discs up front and 10.4-in solid discs at the rear.

The 8-inch high definition MyLink infotainment system has the updated Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mobile integration and rear parking camera that supports the rear sonar. The 6-speaker acoustic performance was also better than average. I wish the front passenger door trim extended to the rear seats to complete the look and feel of the commodious cabin. The automatic climate control is effective and cools fairly quickly but rear passenger vents would have made the system even better.

The all-new 2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer is very well built, appealing and an uncommon crossover with smart packaging. For our Philippine market, it is really only the retail price that would dictate its commercial success. It is a very good option for young families with an active lifestyle that require the versatility of a tall wagon.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-3
Displacement 1341 cc
Cylinder Head dohc 12V
Fuel Injector Direct Injection, Intercooled Turbo, Atkinson-Cycle, VVT
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 155 bhp @ 5600 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 174 lb-ft @ 1600-4000 rpm
Transmission CVT

Performance

Top Speed 210 km/h (130 mph)
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 9.6 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 7.6 L/100 km Overall

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) PhP 1,621,888 (PhP 1,488,888 for LT variant)
What's Great An attractive and effective real-world subcompact crossover with spunk.
What's Not So Price, no rear seat a/c ventilation, and no optional 7-speaker Bose® audio.
C! Editors Rating 9/10
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