Chevrolet Trailblazer – Motor Point
Chevrolet Trailblazer 2005: The Weekly Driver Review
By: James Raia
With the addition of the 5.3-liter, 325-horsepower V8 extended cab (EXT), eight Chevrolet Trailblazer models are on the road in 2005. And as the largest and most powerful Blazer available, the new EXT has plenty to offer.
Its comfortable and provides a confident drive. It offers vast cargo space, has an attractive two-tone interior, a well-designed console and boasts of plenty of impressive option packages.
But sometimes subtle qualities or subtle deficiencies are more impressive or problematic than a vehicles overt characteristics.
So it is with the new Blazer. While recently showing the car to several friends, one sat in the second row of seats. Surprisingly, his head easily hit the roof. My friend is 6-foot-3, and while thats tall, hes not a giant by any stretch.
Ive got a Scion and theres plenty of rear seat headroom, my friend commented.
The quick analysis made a good point. As the largest and most powerful Blazer available, shouldnt a 6-foot-3 person sit comfortably in the middle of the cars three rows?
Conversely, an SUV hardly seems like a vehicle for a remarkable sound system. But the Bose premium sound system available in the Blazers Sun, Sound and Entertainment Package is superior. The combination AM/FM stereo, six-disc changer, XM satellite radio and eight speakers are arguably the finest music package Ive experienced in any test car in the past two years.
Beyond a curious space limitation and a wondrous sound system options, the Blazer offers an odd mixture. Its a well-designed SUV with plenty of space for family and cargo. It has adequate steering and handling, and it offers a quiet ride considering its status as a large SUV with 17-inch tires.
Yet, the Blazer falls short in other key areas.
The vehicles braking system seems uneven – fine in some circumstances, soft in other scenarios with far-too-long response time. The Blazer maneuvers well in traffic and its turning radius is surprisingly tight and efficient. But again, for each vehicle strength theres a weakness. The Blazers fuel rating of 14 mpg (city) and 19 (hwy) is hardly impressive.
Standard features are adequate: power mirrors, heated daytime running lamps, remote keyless entry, tinted rear glass, 65/35 second and third-row folding seats and a rear window defogger, among other standard items.
Three options packages, the aforementioned Sun, Sound and Entertainment, as well as the Luxury and V8 Power Play packages, can add nearly $7,000 to the base sticker, pushing the total price to more than $41,000.
Some options are worthwhile, including the OnStar Emergency System (with one year of free service) and leather-appointed seats. Other options – cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel and steering wheel audio controls – are standard for other manufacturers SUVs.
A Preferred Equipment Savings reduction of $3,150 lowers the top- of-the line Blazers price, after a $685 destination charge, to $38,515.
As such, the Blazer isnt the most expensive or most economical SUV on the market. But certainly, for nearly $40,000, good brakes and sufficient second-row headroom shouldnt be issues.
2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer
Safety features — Dual-stage driver and front passenger airbags. Antilock brakes.
Fuel Mileage (estimates) — 14 mpg (city), 19 mpg (highway).
Warranty — Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Power train, 3 years/36,000 miles; Corrosion, 6 years/100,000 miles; 24-hour free roadside assistance, 3 years, 36,000 miles
Base price — $34,270.00
About the Author:
James Raia is a Sacramento, Calif., journalist who writes about sports, travel and lifestyle topics as well as the automotive column, The Weekly Driver Review. To read more car reviews or to subscribe to his free electronic newsletters, visit the web site: www.ByJamesRaia.com
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