Out and About In The Trailblazer

In our last issue we introduced our new long-term project vehicle a brand new Holden Trailblazer LTZ 4×4 SUV. This offering from Holden has only been around for a couple of years and Holden have positioned this new SUV to be a real strong towing option for the RV market and the tough Australian conditions.

The Trailblazer at the moment is married up to a Jurgens TUFF TRAX off-road caravan which is fitted with the brilliant Cruisemaster XT suspension. Since picking the vehicle up in late July’19 with only 43 km’s on the clock we have now been away on three road trips and have clocked up already nearly 7,000 km’s. These trips have covered a range of road conditions from High Country snow-covered roads to narrow dirt roads and tracks and of course, plenty of sealed highway conditions. Nearly all km’s travelled to date have been under towing load either the Jurgens caravan or the OTR show trailer thus we have already experienced far more time and km’s travelled than most other media reviews would carry out.

The Trailblazer

This offering from Holden is based on the very successful Holden Colorado using the same running gear and interior of the Colorado, however it swaps out the leaf springs for coils and offers you seven seats in place of a tub. With its 3-tonne towing ability this new 4×4 SUV has plenty to offer the RV traveller. The engine is a 2.8L 4-cylinder turbo diesel with a very impressive set of performance numbers in 500Nm at 2000rpm and 147 kW at around 3600 rpm. The Trailblazer offers you a 6-speed automatic transmission together with shift-on-the-fly 4WD. The engine is very willing and brings on that big kick of torque quickly after pedal depression and paired up with the 6-speed auto transmission its performance is excellent. On two of our trips away with the Project Vehicle and Jurgen TUFF TRAX we put in lots of steep climbing both on sealed and unsealed roads with plenty of tight corners and I was most impressed with how the vehicle managed the conditions and its performance through the whole rev range.

As mentioned earlier the Trailblazer has a five-link coil set-up for the rear axle and the same proven independent double wishbone suspension up front as the Colorado is well sorted and the ride is good. On the dirt, we hit more than a few big bumps on our travels, but they were absorbed without any issue.

We have not yet tackled any very hard off-road conditions, but I am more than pleased with the results to-date and look forward to more dirt as the summer months come around. On the sealed stuff the driving experience is excellent with the new electric power steering set-up which is top class and works a treat.

Two other important features that have really impressed us with RV towing in mind is the large 8” colour touch screen and a truly great rear-view camera. I have driven more than a few vehicles, but this camera is a ‘beaut’ and a real towing plus feature. The infotainment system that comes with the Trailblazer is called MyLink and has the capability to run both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This technology takes the things that your phone can perform and allows the car to do the same, music, calls, directions etc. Apart from the touch screen the selection of dials and buttons are well laid out and functional. Add a couple of 12v plugs and a single USB port together with a couple of 12v plugs in the rear and you are well covered although a second USB port would be a plus.

Seating is fine, although seating in row three would be tight for anybody over the age of ten. Our Project vehicle is the LTZ which gives us leather seating and 18-inch wheels. (The Trailblazer comes in three spec levels, LT, LTZ and Z71. The list of driving aids these days is unbelievable to us old-timers and in that regard the Trailblazer is not lacking with Electronic stability control (ESC), anti-lock braking system (ABS), traction control system (TCS), hill start assist (HSA), trailer sway control (TSC) and hill descent control (HDC). Add in lane departure warning and blind spot alert and you have a vehicle with all the modern aids you could wish for. Given our recent winter driving experiences I can certainly vouch for the HDC and the low speed crawling and compression breaking on the steep sections. We are still becoming familiar with the new vehicle but loving its work to date.

So far Sue and I have had the opportunity to drive the new Project Vehicle and clock up more than a few km’s and we both agree that it’s been a very willing tow vehicle with good performance and very good on-road manners. Towing the Jurgens has been easy without any problems but given that it comes in around 1600kg’s its well under the Trailblazer towing limit and has not caused any issues. Moving forward we will be looking to hook up a few different RV units of different sizes and weights to better evaluate the results. Also as indicated earlier we have a number of tougher off-road destinations in the planning for OTR and thus will be able to give the new Trailblazer a more comprehensive work out.

Fuel efficiency has been good although given the amount of steep climbing we did on two of our recent trips, whilst towing has seen the efficiency drop which is understandable. As we move forward, we will be recording our fuel usage and the road conditions to be able to report more accurately the outcomes, but at this early stage it’s proving a very economical performer.

With service intervals at every 12 months or 12,000km’s and with Holden’s capped price service program it’s very competitive. I believe that Holden are now running a great service price offer on certain selected Holden vehicles, Trailblazer being one of them. This offer I understand expires later this year but is worth checking out if you are in the market now for a great new SUV.

The Trailblazer is a comfortable 4×4 SUV and I love the wrap around rear windows. Already being on a few trips away, we have had some great feedback from other RV travellers on the vehicle and caravan, it’s a ‘tough-go-anywhere’ good looking rig.

Looking forward to more destination travels with our Trailblazer, with some seven thousand km’s already on the clock we are very pleased with and enjoying our new OTR tow vehicle, its performance to date has been very solid and fun to drive.

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