New car review: Holden Trailblazer LT
Reliable seven-seater won’t shirk its off-road duties.
Back in 2017 when Holden wound down production of the locally manufactured Commodore, there was a scramble among enthusiasts to secure the last of the brand’s sporty V8-powered sedans.
Now, as the Holden brand itself heads for the exits, having announced it would cease selling cars from the end of this year, a different kind of collector is circling … one with an eye for a bargain.
As stock volumes are run down and dealers plan for a future without Holden, it’s not unreasonable to assume that buyers will have the upper hand in any negotiation.
And for families who aren’t fussed about collectability or brand equity, but who need a practical and reliable medium-duty seven-seater that won’t shirk its off-road and towing duties, then the Trailblazer LT is well worth a look.
With its body on frame construction and gutsy turbodiesel powerplant the Trailblazer has become a reasonably popular choice for caravaners in recent years.
That’s due in part to the fact it shares its chassis and mechanical underpinnings with the rugged Colorado ute, although the wagon’s 3000kg braked towing capacity is 500kg less than the ute.
Other differences include a slightly shorter wheelbase, and more comfortable coil-spring multilink rear suspension, where the Colorado sticks with a hardy leaf spring arrangement.
Towing anything north of 2000kg requires a fair bit of grunt, and here the Trailblazer doesn’t disappoint, its 2.8-litre Duramax turbo diesel mustering 147kW at 3600rpm and 500Nm at a low 2000rpm.
The engine isn’t especially smooth or refined but it is muscular and exhibits respectably brisk off-the-mark acceleration and powerful mid-range performance.
The four-cylinder engine sends its power to the rear wheels via a six-speed auto and limited slip differential.
Shift-on-the-fly, all-wheel-drive activation is via a control knob on the centre console, and the Trailblazer has “proper” low-range gearing for off-road driving.
Despite being a base-model, the LT Trailblazer is comfortably equipped, with standard features including 17-inch alloy wheels clad with 255/65R17 tyres, side steps, seven airbags, digital radio, six speaker audio and a rear-view camera.
The image from the latter is displayed on a 7-inch colour touchscreen, which incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone projection.
A standard reversing camera with guides also makes hitching up when towing relatively easy.
The Trailblazer LT also offers a strong safety package, with essential features like antilock braking, dynamic stability control, electronic brakeforce distribution, and roll over mitigation.
Other standard features include Hill Start Assist, Trailer Sway Control and Hill Descent Control, all of which are excellent features to have when towing.
It does, however, miss out on some features that are available on the more expensive LTZ, including Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collison Alert, Blind Spot Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Front Park Assist.
There’s no leather trim or electric seat adjustment but the cabin is comfortable enough, despite featuring manually adjustable cloth-covered front seats, and a steering wheel that’s height, but not reach adjustable.
The third-row seats are typically poky, but fold flat into the cargo bay floor when not in use.
With just the first and second row seats in use, cargo space is a generous 554L to the beltline.
MLP: $47,990 (plus on-road costs)
ENGINE: 2.8-litre intercooled turbo diesel four-cylinder, dohc
ANCAP SAFETY RATING: 5 Star (2016)
TAILPIPE CO2 (g/km): 228
Space, seating capacity, off-road ability, towing capacity, warranty (five years/unlimited km)
Engine refinement, uninspiring cabin design, firm unladen ride, resale may take a hit when brand folds