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PERFORMANCE | 6 out of 10
it feels like a bit too much engine for the softly tuned chassis
This amazing engine has the power of a small V8
Kelley Blue Book
a big SUV that has an affinity for the gas pump
Car and Driver
handling is a bit on the slow side
good power for most situations
The performance of the 2009 Chevrolet Trailblazer is as disappointing and behind the times as its appearance, although it does have satisfying acceleration.
Initial reports give adequate opinions of the 2009 TrailBlazer’s engine. ConsumerGuide says the "six-cylinder TrailBlazers have good power for most situations." This engine is "rated at 285 horsepower and 276 pounds-feet of torque," states Cars.com, which also reports an "optional 5.3-liter V-8, operating with Active Fuel Management, produces 300 hp and 321 pounds-feet of torque."
Kelley Blue Book says of the smaller inline-six: "this amazing engine has the power of a small V8, delivering ample passing power at all speeds." Edmunds reports "most buyers will find the [Chevrolet Trailblazer's] standard inline-6 engine adequate," but points out "it's definitely lacking in low-end torque." Both 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."
ConsumerGuide reports that all 2009 Chevrolet TrailBlazers "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."
Powered by a 6.0-liter, 395-horsepower V-8 engine, the TrailBlazer SS offers musclecarlike performance. Other functional and cosmetic upgrades include 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 2009 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.”
The 2009 Chevrolet Trailblazer is a thirsty vehicle. Cars.com points out that "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.
"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," says Car and Driver of the TrailBlazer’s substandard handling. Edmunds echoes this impression, remarking, "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 [2009 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 heaps praise upon the handling characteristics of the TrailBlazer: "The TrailBlazer's steering wheel has a solid, firm feel to it, devoid of the floating disconnect inherent in so many power steering systems." They add that "the firm brake pedal brings the TrailBlazer to a quick stop every time, and the brakes show little fade after repeated use."
The 2009 Chevrolet TrailBlazer has decent acceleration and towing ability; just don’t expect much beyond that.