Shopping for a new Chevrolet TrailBlazer?
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PERFORMANCE | 6 out of 10
handling is a bit on the slow side
a big SUV that has an affinity for the gas pump
Car and Driver
good power for most situations
most buyers will find the standard inline-6 engine adequate
This amazing engine has the power of a small V8
Kelley Blue Book
TheCarConnection.com finds the 2008 Chevrolet Trailblazer's performance as disappointing as its appearance.
This 2008 Chevrolet's engine seems adequate enough; ConsumerGuide explains "six-cylinder TrailBlazers have good power for most situations." This engine is "rated at 285 horsepower and 276 pounds-feet of torque," reports Cars.com, which also mentions an "optional 5.3-liter V-8, operating with Active Fuel Management, produces 300 hp and 321 pounds-feet of torque."
The smaller inline-six is standard, according to Kelley Blue Book, which states "this amazing engine has the power of a small V8, delivering ample passing power at all speeds." Edmunds reports "most buyers will find the [2008 Chevrolet Trailblazer's] standard inline-6 engine adequate," but points out "it's definitely lacking in low-end torque." Both of these sources recommend the larger 5.3-liter V-8 for towing chores, although Edmunds suggests "it feels like a bit too much engine for the softly tuned chassis."
According to Cars.com, both engines "team with a four-speed automatic transmission." ConsumerGuide reports that all of these 2008 Chevrolet models "use a 4-speed automatic transmission and are available with rear-wheel drive...LT offers 4-wheel drive that can be left engaged on dry pavement and includes a low-range gear for off-roading."
A third version is almost an entirely different beast. The TrailBlazer SS offers musclecar-like performance from a 6.0-liter, 395-horsepower V-8 engine and other functional and cosmetic upgrades, including a powerful transmission, a lowered suspension, 20-inch wheels, and heavy-duty brakes with larger 12.8-inch front discs. Like the other models, the 2008 Chevrolet TrailBlazer SS is available with either rear- or all-wheel drive. Edmunds says the SS is capable of “hauling itself to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds -- about as fast as a Dodge Charger R/T. Better yet, the SS model's modified chassis is fully capable of handling all that power.”
A large vehicle, the 2008 Chevrolet Trailblazer is, as one might suppose, thirsty--and one would be correct. Cars.com points out "although it's called mid-size, this is still a big SUV that has an affinity for the gas pump." ConsumerGuide reports EPA estimates at 14/20 mpg for the inline-six, and 13/19 mpg for the smaller V-8.
Car and Driver finds that the TrailBlazer’s handling is substandard: "loose, imprecise feel doesn't inspire sporty driving...passengers won't like the ride quality...Structural rigidity is poor, so the chassis is upset by road imperfections, and the steering requires constant corrections." Edmunds confirms this impression: "unresponsive suspension and imprecise steering don't inspire confidence on back road detours or during quick transitions on the expressway," but acknowledges that "its soft tuning results in a soft, comfortable ride around town and on the highway." Cars.com also agrees on this point: "On smooth surfaces, the four-wheel-drive [2008 Chevrolet] TrailBlazer's ride is comparable to a car's. Its handling is a bit on the slow side, but the driver benefits from a satisfying steering feel."
Kelley Blue Book, on the other hand, heaps praise upon this Chevrolet 2008 for its handling: "the TrailBlazer's steering wheel has a solid, firm feel to it, devoid of the floating disconnect inherent in so many power steering systems," adding that "the firm brake pedal brings the TrailBlazer to a quick stop every time, and the brakes show little fade after repeated use."
As long as one doesn't expect too much, the 2008 Chevrolet TrailBlazer will probably be up to most low-stress types of driving.