Holden Trailblazer Review
The comprehensive Holden Trailblazer review
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|CarsGuide||73%||"The Trailblazer is a solid all-rounder and deserves the consideration of those in the market for a decent seven-seater 4WD. It does everything well without ever really excelling at any one thing."||Read more|
|Car Advice||78.5%||"I can't help but think the Trailblazer gets overlooked a bit too much. The torquey engine is great, and is managed well by the steering and gearbox. And regardless of the listed prices, current market conditions and Holden's own predicament of slumping sales mean the buyer is in a strong position to negotiate."||Read more|
|WhichCar||80%||"The Holden Trailblazer is an SUV-style wagon that is excellent for serious off-road driving and very good at towing."||Read more|
|Practical Motoring||80%||"The Holden Trailblazer LTZ is a well-specced ute-based family 4×4 wagon with a strong turbo-diesel engine, good on-road dynamics, genuine off-road capability and seating for seven."||Read more|
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How does the Holden Trailblazer compare with its peers?
A comprehensive review of the Holden Trailblazer SUV
Holden Trailblazer SUV pricing
Holden builds three different Trailblazer SUVs with varying equipment levels and materials. These are the LT, LTZ and the top of the line Z71.
Holden Trailblazer LT
Currently, the point of entry for the Trailblazer range is the LT, which has a drive-away price of $46,990. For the money, you get the meaty 2.8-litre Duramax diesel found in the Colorado ute, with a six-speed automatic. Holden's MyLink infotainment system has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone projection built in, as well as Bluetooth connectivity. It's noteworthy that the base spec model has DAB radio and a large 7" touchscreen. There's also 17" rims, front fog lights, automatic headlights, DRLs, side steps and six speakers plus a reversing camera. To look at, the LT certainly doesn't look like the cheapest model, and it has features that are missing from some of its mid-range rivals.
Holden Trailblazer LTZ
Holden pitches the LTZ as "luxury, with the latest technology". This mid-level Trailblazer's drive-away price is $52,990. For the extra money, you'll get a lot of smart driving assists, such as the following:
- Front park assist
- Lane departure warning
- Forward collision alert
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Blind-spot alert
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Tyre-pressure sensors
That's a good amount of advanced safety tech. LTZ models run on larger 18" alloys (there's even a full-size spare in the rear) and the infotainment screen is larger, at 8 inches. The system also has integrated sat-nav. Holden designers up the sound system ante, with an extra speaker running through a premium set-up. Rounding out the additional driver comforts are a pair of heated exterior mirrors and front seats. Speaking of the chairs, they're clad in a leather-appointed material. The climate control is now electronically controlled and privacy glass will keep out the sun's hot rays and unwanted attention.
Holden Trailblazer Z71
Finally, there's the top of the range Z71 model, with a drive-away cost of $53,990. This Trailblazer gets a series of Z71-only styling touches, such as 18" Arsenal Grey wheels, Z71 embroidered front headrests, gloss black exterior door handles and a bonnet decal.
Click on a model to view Trailblazer finance deals
|4WD, 6-speed automatic, 2.8-litre diesel, 7 seats: $46,990||4WD, 6-speed automatic, 2.8-litre diesel, 7 seats: $52,990||4WD, 6-speed automatic, 2.8-litre diesel, 7 seats: $53,990|
Metallic and pearlescent finishes (called prestige paints) cost an extra $550. Free paint finishes include the following:
- Summit White
- Absolute Red
Prestige paints include the following:
- Abalone White
- Nitrate Silver
- Dark Shadow
- Power Blue
- Mineral Black
The above prices are from Holden's website. The prices include 12-month rego and CTP insurance, stamp duty, dealer delivery charges, 3 years of scheduled servicing and a 5-year warranty (uncapped kilometres).
OverviewThe Holden Trailblazer is a generalist, so it can do pretty much anything a wagon can. It'll keep up with proper off-road SUVs (thanks to its commercial ute underpinnings), and it'll easily carry five adults and two kids. Ok, it's not the best in its class, but you should still check it out because Holden is doing some very aggressive deals on the Trailblazer. Journalists were only able to find very small issues with the ride being a touch firm and some of the interior materials lacking that sense of quality. Also, the Trailblazer doesn't have a diff lock, but with 500Nm of torque and a braked towing capacity of 3,000kg, it's an ideal SUV to take your caravan and family out into the wilderness at the weekend.
|CarsGuide||"Is it fantastic? No. Is it a game-changer? No. Does it represent pretty good value for money in the grand scheme of things? Yep."|
|Car Advice||"That torquey engine, combined with a nice driving character and solid off-road capability, leaves me thinking the Trailblazer is a bit of a dark horse in the seven-seat 4x4 segment. It's good value and does all of the right things well."|
|WhichCar||"The Trailblazer LTZ is the better buy. It offers a lot more luxury and safety than the LT."|
|Practical Motoring||"The Holden Trailblazer LTZ is a well sorted, albeit underrated, family 4x4 wagon that represents great value for money."|
Engine and performance
Some journalists said the Trailblazer felt like an American truck and they'd be correct. In other parts of the world, it's sold as the Chevrolet Trailblazer. The Holden SUV is powered by a 2.8-litre Duramax diesel engine, which is supplied by a subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler and is the same one you find in the Holden Colorado ute. The engine is good for 147kW around 3,600rpm and an impressive 500Nm @ 2,000rpm. These figures mean the Holden Trailblazer should be a great tow vehicle and Holden claims it'll tow a 3,000kg braked trailer.
Coupled to the 2.8-litre diesel engine's output shaft is a six-speed automatic gearbox, with the ability to switch to 4WD while moving.
Car reviewers' thoughts on the Holden Trailblazer engine/gearbox line-up
It's fair to say there was a lot of love for the Trailblazer's powerful 2.8 oiler. Journalists waxed lyrical about how lively the engine was, with lots of grunt for getting up to speed. The six-speed auto box is said to be silky smooth and intelligent – holding gears when it should, such as when climbing inclines. For lugging a trailer around, or scrambling over rough terrain, the driver can manually override the computer calculated gear swaps.
One reviewer complained that the Holden Duramax diesel was a little noisier than competitor offerings. Another said they had a car with 20,000kms on it as their loan car. This is somewhat unusual but it gives us an insight into longevity. They described how that particular press pool Trailblazer had developed some juddering through the wheel and cabin when at idle.
Summing up, aside from a well-used (and likely driven hard) press car, all the reviewers praised the diesel donk.
Holden Trailblazer engine and transmission statistics
|Engine type||Duramax turbocharged|
|Drivetrain||Selectable, shift-on-the-fly 4WD|
|Fuel tank capacity||76 litres|
|Max power||147kW @ 3,600rpm|
|Max torque||500Nm @ 2,000rpm|
|Fuel consumption (combined)||8.6L/100km|
|Emissions standard||Euro 5|
|Top speed (km/h)||N/A|
|Security||Engine immobiliser and alarm|
|Towing capacity (unbraked/braked)||750kg/3,000kg|
According to the Green Vehicle Guide, the fuel economy figures for all Holden Trailblazer models are as follows:
- Combined: 8.6L/100km
- Urban: 11.1L/100km
- Extra-urban: 7.2L/100km
Taking those stats, if you drove 14,000km annually, with approximately two-thirds of your time in town or cities, you'll use $2,148 worth of diesel.
Real-world fuel economy
How much fuel did the press cars use then? One outlet managed to achieve 9.6L/100km with 200km of assorted driving, including some over gravel tracks and 10km of arduous off-roading. Another outlet also returned the same fuel economy, over a 300km test run with similar conditions. Still another tester managed 10L/100km. The last reviewer in our sample used 11L/100km combined. Averaging out those numbers, you should be able to squeeze 780km from the 78-litre tank.
It seems that the Trailblazer can get pretty close to its manufacturer supplied fuel usage quota and with more careful driving, you could probably better the above numbers.
To give the Trailblazer a car-like ride, Holden ditches the Colorado's rear leaf-spring set-up in favour of a five-link coil-spring configuration at the rear. The intention is to give a more comfortable ride while retaining off-road articulation.
The reviewers found the handling to be pretty good, considering the SUV is built atop the chassis and powertrain of a commercial ute. It was discussed that the shocks and springs could occasionally be too firm, especially when hitting a pothole or bump. Others felt the Trailblazer did a solid job of ironing out rough roads but noted the hard suspension would unsettle the body slightly.
The journalists unanimously praised Holden for utilising electric power steering. This system apparently makes the Trailblazer feel light enough to move around at low speed, but still gives a reassuringly planted ride at freeway speeds.
Making a big SUV like this, with a body-on-chassis construction, handling is always going to be a tricky undertaking. And the end result will always be a compromise between carrying capacity, off-road ability and some semblance of on-road performance. Reading the thoughts of motoring experts, it seems Holden's engineers in Victoria have managed to make the Trailblazer very usable around town and still have the off-road tackling prowess of a mountain goat.
Interior and features
Having a well-designed, practical interior is crucial for an SUV. How does the Trailblazer stack up? Reviewers got a heavy American vibe from the interior, which makes sense, as the Holden badge is swapped in other countries for a Chevy one. It also shares a number of parts with the Colorado ute.
The cabin has lots of room and is comfortable. One reviewer said the styling was appealing, with chunky features and bold lines. They were pleased with the level of equipment but less so by the materials used to form the passenger compartment.
Seat-wise, a number of motoring experts said the chairs were rather flat and a bit firm. This made longer journeys, in their opinion, tiresome. One journalist wished for a roll or bolster under the crook of the knee to better support their thigh and reduce pressure. A few critics also longed for steering wheel reach adjustment.
On the upside, the Trailblazer is well kitted out even in basic LT spec. All models benefit from cruise control, Bluetooth phone connectivity, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration, digital radio, six-speakers, a reversing camera, rearward parking sensors, sidesteps, auto-headlights, daytime running lights, fog lights, alloy wheels and a 7” touchscreen (LT only, other Trailblazers have a larger 8” screen). For the money, it certainly seems to have visited the Holden equipment department and asked for everything.
The interior has a good amount of oddment storage, but one outlet noticed that the cup holders wouldn’t hold chunky water bottles. Some reviewers also highlighted the small boot space that is left when all seven seats are in use, though this is a standard complaint across the majority of seven-seater SUVs.
LT doesn't seem to be an abbreviation for light because the LT Trailblazer, which has a drive-away cost of $46,990, is heavy with tech and equipment. On this entry-level model, you get Holden's MyLink infotainment system:
As well as Bluetooth connectivity/streaming, an iPod compatible USB plug, DAB radio, a 7" touchscreen, 7 airbags, 6 speakers and a reversing camera, plus rear parking sensors. The whole lot is controllable via various buttons placed on the leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Safety wise, Holden includes what's quickly becoming a new standard for all models. The LT Trailblazer has the following safety features:
- Electronic stability control (ESC), which includes the following:
- Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
- Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)
- Roll over mitigation (ROM)
- Traction control system (TCS)
- Hill start assist (HSA)
- Trailer sway control (TCS)
- Hill descent control (HDC)
The LT is the only Trailblazer with seven cloth seats, the two other models have leather-appointed upholstery. For a base model, it's well equipped and doesn't look like it's the least costly Trailblazer by any means.
Spending $52,990 will net you an LTZ Trailblazer. This model seemed to be the favourite of the journalists who tested Holden's big SUV. LTZ models are a little more rounded, including higher-end appointments like leather seats and a remote start. The LTZ possesses a larger 8" infotainment touchscreen, front and rear parking sensors, inbuilt sat-nav, folding and heated exterior mirrors, electro dimming rear-view mirrors, rain-sensing wipers and voice recognition. The sound system is also upgraded from six to seven speakers. The front seats are heated and the driver's chair can be adjusted six ways electronically.
Externally, the LTZ travels on 18" alloy wheels and sports LED tail lights. Privacy glass also changes the appearance of the Trailblazer and gives a welcome break from the sun.
This model also has additional active driving assists:
- Lane departure warning (LDW)
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Blind-spot alert
- Tyre-pressure monitors
If you're in the market for an SUV with off-road chops, but a slightly different look, there's the Z71. This Trailblazer costs an extra $1,000, for a drive-away price of $53,990.
For the extra chunk of change, you receive 18" grey metallic wheels, gloss black exterior door handles, side mouldings and exterior mirrors. There's also a Z71 bonnet sticker and embroidered Z71 logos on the front headrests.
Holden Trailblazer safety and driver assists
|5-star ANCAP rating||✔||✔||✔|
|Front airbags for driver and front passenger||✔||✔||✔|
|Front seat side-impact airbags||✔||✔||✔|
|Full-length side curtain airbags||✔||✔||✔|
|Driver knee airbag||✔||✔||✔|
|Front and rear disc brakes||✔||✔||✔|
|Coil spring front and rear suspension||✔||✔||✔|
|5-link live axle rear suspension||✔||✔||✔|
|Electronic stability control (ESC)||✔||✔||✔|
|Traction control system (TCS)||✔||✔||✔|
|Hill start assist (HSA)||✔||✔||✔|
|Trailer sway control (TSC)||✔||✔||✔|
|Hill descent control (HDC)||✔||✔||✔|
|Electric power steering||✔||✔||✔|
|Electronic cruise control||✔||✔||✔|
|Rear park assist||✔||✖️||✖️|
|Front and rear park assist||✖️||✔||✔|
|Front seat belt sash height adjust||✔||✔||✔|
|Rear 3-point lap-sash seatbelts||✔||✔||✔|
|Driver and front passenger seatbelt warning lamp and tone||✔||✔||✔|
|Rear seatbelt warning reminder (second row only)||✔||✔||✔|
|Rear seat child restraint anchor points (3) (second row only)||✔||✔||✔|
|ISOFIX child restraint anchor point (second row only)||✔||✔||✔|
|Emergency brake assist system (EBA)||✔||✔||✔|
|Forward collision alert (FCA) with head-up warning||✖️||✔||✔|
|Lane departure warning (LDW)||✖️||✔||✔|
|Rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA)||✖️||✔||✔|
|Light sensitive rear-view mirror||✖️||✔||✔|
Holden Trailblazer interior and comfort features
|Remote keyless entry||✔||✔||✔|
|Enhanced multi-function display||✔||✔||✔|
|Multifunction steering wheel controls featuring:|
Bluetooth, cruise control and audio controls
|Leather-wrap steering wheel||✔||✔||✔|
|Chrome gear selector||✖️||✔||✔|
|Apple CarPlay and Android Auto||✔||✔||✔|
|7" touch screen||✔||✖️||✖️|
|8" touch screen||✖️||✔||✔|
|Number of speakers||6||7||7|
|USB input with iPod connectivity||✔||✔||✔|
|Cloth seat upholstery||✔||✖️||✖️|
|Leather-appointed seat trim||✖️||✔||✔|
|Front heated seats||✖️||✔||✔|
|Six-way manually adjusted driver's seat||✔||✖️||✖️|
|Six-way manually adjusted front passenger seat||✔||✔||✔|
|Six-way power adjustable driver's seat||✖️||✔||✔|
|Electronic climate control||✖️||✔||✔|
|A/C with pollen filter||✔||✔||✔|
|Remote window activation via key fob||✔||✔||✔|
|Chrome interior door handles||✖️||✔||✔|
|Rear storage box||✔||✔||✔|
|Middle row 60/40 split seating||✔||✔||✔|
|Third row 50/50 split seats||✔||✔||✔|
|Retractable cargo blind||✔||✔||✔|
Holden Trailblazer exterior styling features
|Alloy wheels||17"||18"||18" Arsenal Grey|
|LED daytime running lights||✔||✔||✔|
|Automatic on/off headlights||✔||✔||✔|
|Halogen reflector headlights, manual levelling||✔||✔||✔|
|Front fog lights||✔||✔||✔|
|LED tail lamps||✔||✔|
|Tow hook front (x2)||✔||✔||✔|
|Tow hook - rear||✔||✔||✔|
|Front and rear mudflaps||✔||✔||✔|
|Body coloured exterior door handles||✔||✖️||✖️|
|Body coloured exterior door handles with chrome inlay||✖️||✔||✖️|
|Black door handle||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Body coloured exterior mirrors with side turn signal||✔||✖️||✖️|
|Chrome exterior mirrors with side turn signal||✖️||✔||✖️|
|Black exterior mirror||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Front grille central bar – body colour||✔||✔||✔|
|Front grille gloss black fins (radiator)||✔||✖️||✔|
|Front grille chrome fins (radiator)||✖️||✔||✖️|
|Beltline moulding chrome||✖️||✔||✖️|
|Beltline moulding black||✔||✖️||✔|
|Chrome roof rails||✔||✔||✔|
|Z71 bonnet decal||✖️||✖️||✔|
Holden Trailblazer off-road features
|Departure angle (degrees)|
|Approach angle (degrees)|
|Ramp breakover angle (degrees)|
|Ground clearance (unladen)||8.3"|
|Turning circle (kerb to kerb)|
It's a shame that the Trailblazer often gets overlooked in the large SUV segment because it's competitively priced and boasts excellent levels of equipment. It's not the best off-road in its class, but it does well enough and it'll cope around town as a daily driver. It's a comfortable, reasonably quiet, practical SUV with a herculean diesel engine and a healthy serving of safety tech.
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