Trailblazer SS SUV meets Sports Car
The Chevrolet Trailblazer SS is in a class by itself. It is an interesting combination of SUV, Minivan and sports car. With the incorporation of large wheels, low profile tires, oversized sway bars and air suspension it goes around the corner like a rabbit.
It accelerates just as well with its 6.0 liter 395hp LS2 Corvette engine but you pay for it. The fuel economy is an issue to be considered. Even a light footed driver will find it a challange to squeek out 14/16 (local/highway) mpg for the AWD. The 2wd is slightly less thursty. Understandable when you consider your are powering 2 less wheels and don't have the extra weight of a transfer case. The LS2 engine requires nothing less than premium gas.
Low fuel economy is partially due to the heavy weight of this vehicle, it weights in at 4600 lbs which is slightly less than a full size Tahoe or Escalade. Even though it weighs so much you won't believe how zippy it is.
The interior very much reminds me of a german sports car. Somewhat plain, no wood or stainless steel, just all black mostly plastic with a touch of leather in the seats (3SS interior). The exterior is sleek and free of clutter. No roof rack here! The 20 inch high polish wheels and front brake vents are only a few differences between the SS and the LS/LT models. You won't mistake a standard Trailblazer with the SS.
Ride quality and noise level is acceptable. The transmission shifts are firm but this is expected considering this is a performance vehicle. The ride is smooth and feels good even at very high speeds thanks to the performance suspension.
Gadgets: Various options are available in the SS, Sun Roof, Nav, Power seats, windows, locks, rear DVD. Onstar, steering wheel controls, even adjustable brake and throttle pedals are here. You can get just about anything available in a high end vehicle most are standard on the SS.
Fit and finish is good, but could have been better for such an expensive vehicle. A few touches of wood or stainless would have been welcome and provided needed contrast.
2 versions of drivetrain are available, 2wd and AWD. The 2wd features a standard positraction rear differential with selectable traction control. When you consider you have 395hp under the hood traction control is necessary. The AWD builds on the 2wd version and feautres a Torsion central transfer case that works flawlessly and is very sure footed in the snow and sand. Low body clearance prohibits any serious off road use.
Towing and storage: The SS comes standard with a class 3 integrated hitch with a towing capacity of 6000lbs. This high rating is partially due to this units heavy weight and large ventilated 4 wheel disc brakes. Storage capicity is 80.1 cu. ft. Comparable to most SUV's and more than crossovers. The rear seats easily fold down for long items. Both the rear gate and rear window can be opened seperately.
Overall: The Trailblazer SS is a nich vehicle. Someone who refuses to drive the "Minivan" that needs an SUV but wants a sports car will feel at home in the SS. This comes at a price, expect higher than average fuel, maintenance and insurance costs. If you don't need AWD get 2wd. You will save money both when you buy and as your drive.
With all that said the SS is much more than just your good old SUV with a stick on SS emblem. GM did justice to the SS icon and the Trailblazer SS deserves to wear it. Performance and looks rolled up into a usable platform. It's fun to drive and you will be proud to own one.