Holden Trailblazer Review

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finder score: 77.88%

Avg. critics score: 77.88%
4 critics
How did we calculate this? We analysed and aggregated the scores of CarsGuide, Car Advice, WhichCar and Practical Motoring to bring you the finder.com.au score. This is a comprehensive score that brings together the four different expert ratings you see below.
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Critic reviews

Website Rating Notable quotes
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
Off-road
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

How does the Holden Trailblazer compare with its peers?

Updated August 22nd, 2019
Name Product Number of seats Boot displacement ANCAP rating Price (from) Finder Score Read review
8 seats
620L
5 stars
$78,190
81.5%
7 seats
550L
5 stars
$71,990
80%
7 seats
480L
5 stars
$53,490
79%
7 seats
554L
5 stars
$47,990
77.88%
7 seats
502L
5 stars
$45,000
77.33%
7 seats
529L
5 stars
$43,550
76.33%
7 seats
453L
5 stars
$41,990
74.5%
7 seats
784L
5 stars
$95,100
72%

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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

LT LTZ Z71
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).

Overview

The 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.
Website Pros Cons Notable quote
CarsGuide
  • Dependable generalist
  • Heaps of torque at low RPM
  • Off-road ready
  • Loud engine
  • Rigid suspension
  • No rear diff locker
"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
  • 500Nm of torque
  • Handles itself on-road
  • Capable off-road
  • Interior is unimaginative
  • Underbody contacts rocks
  • Needs more active safety assists
"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
  • Beefy engine
  • Solid off-road
  • Seven-seater
  • Ride is firm
"The Trailblazer LTZ is the better buy. It offers a lot more luxury and safety than the LT."
Practical Motoring
  • Well equipped
  • Powerful turbo diesel
  • On-road dynamics
  • Off-road capability
  • Interior materials
  • Ground clearance could be better
  • No rear diff lock
"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

2.8-litre diesel
Engine type Duramax turbocharged
Drivetrain Selectable, shift-on-the-fly 4WD
Engine size/displacement 2,776cc
Fuel type Diesel
Cylinders Four, inline
Fuel tank capacity 76 litres
Max power 147kW @ 3,600rpm
Max torque 500Nm @ 2,000rpm
Fuel consumption (combined) 8.6L/100km
Acceleration (0-100km/h) N/A
Emissions standard Euro 5
Top speed (km/h) N/A
Security Engine immobiliser and alarm
Transmission Six-speed automatic
Towing capacity (unbraked/braked) 750kg/3,000kg

Fuel Efficiency

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.

Remember, manufacturer-supplied fuel-consumption figures are calculated using a heavily controlled testing procedure. As a result, there are no real-world variables like weather conditions, traffic, increased payload, road elevation changes, vehicle maintenance factors and driving style to skew the figures. Take the claimed numbers only as a way to compare different models.

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.

Handling

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

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.

LTZ

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

Z71

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

LT LTZ Z71
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-view camera
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) ✖️
Blind-spot alert ✖️
Rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA) ✖️
Tyre-pressure monitoring/indicator ✖️
Remote start ✖️
Light sensitive rear-view mirror ✖️
Rain-sensing wipers ✖️

Holden Trailblazer interior and comfort features

LT LTZ Z71
Remote keyless entry
Bluetooth connectivity
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
MyLink infotainment
7" touch screen ✖️ ✖️
8" touch screen ✖️
Embedded sat-nav ✖️
Voice recognition ✖️
Number of speakers 6 7 7
Premium audio ✖️
USB input with iPod connectivity
Auxiliary input
Roof-mounted antenna
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
Power windows
Remote window activation via key fob
Seats 7 7 7
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

LT LTZ Z71
Alloy wheels 17" 18" 18" Arsenal Grey
Full-size spare
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 ✖️
Side steps
Chrome roof rails
Privacy glass ✖️
Z71 bonnet decal ✖️ ✖️

Holden Trailblazer off-road features

LT LTZ Z71
Departure angle (degrees)
25°
Approach angle (degrees)
28°
Ramp breakover angle (degrees)
22°
Ground clearance (unladen) 8.3"
8.5"
Wading depth
600mm
Turning circle (kerb to kerb)
12 metres
4WD system
Electronic select shift-on-the-fly 4x4, 2-speed transfer case

Verdict

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.

Compare some options to finance a Holden TrailBlazer

Updated August 22nd, 2019
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Pictures: Holden

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