What's New for 2002
This fully redesigned Trailblazer now sports a longer, wider and noticeably stiffer chassis, along with an all-new 4.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine and a more refined suspension that is light years ahead of its predecessor, the Blazer. Unique sheet metal now differentiates the Trailblazer from its GM cousins, the GMC Envoy and Oldsmobile Bravada, while a restyled interior makes better use of the additional passenger room inside.
After years of lagging behind the competition with old-tech engines, bouncy suspensions and cramped interiors, Chevrolet has finally revamped its midsize Trailblazer and turned it into a true class contender.
Replacing the old 4.3-liter V6 is an all-new inline six-cylinder that boasts 270 horsepower and 275 foot-pounds of torque. That's more power than most of its competitors' V8s and allows the Trailblazer to tow a respectable 6,400 pound (on properly equipped two-wheel-drive models). A four-speed automatic does the shifting and a dash-controlled transfer case delivers both high- and low-range gearing for off-road excursions.
The revised suspension consists of dual A-arms with coilover shocks in front and a solid axle and a five-link system in the rear. The new pieces are mounted to an all-new hydroformed frame that is substantially stronger than before, providing a stiffer overall structure and much improved ride quality. Rack-and-pinion steering has replaced the old reciprocating ball setup, but the overall feel is still a little on the slow side for our tastes.
The longer and wider chassis allows for noticeably more interior room, with five adults able to fit comfortably. There's no third-row option as of yet, but GM promises that a stretched model is on the way that will provide ample room for a couple extra passengers. The dash has been redesigned with easy-to-read gauges and simple climate and radio controls. Material quality has been improved over previous models', but the Trailblazer still lags behind some of its competitors when it comes to overall refinement.
There are three trim levels offered: LS, LT and LTZ. Base LS models come well equipped with dual front and side airbags, dual zone climate control, four-wheel antilock disc brakes and a six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system. LT models add a power driver seat with premium cloth, 16x7-inch polished sport wheels, keyless entry, the OnStar communications system, foglamps and an electrochromic rearview mirror with compass. Standard equipment on the top-of-the-line LTZ models includes power adjustable leather seating with memory, 17x7 aluminum sport wheels, automatic climate control with separate rear seat controls, a premium audio system with rear seat controls, rain-sensing wipers and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with satellite stereo and climate controls.
So whether you're looking for a stripped-down workhorse or a fully loaded luxury cruiser, the all-new Trailblazer can be configured to suit your needs. With substantial power, a sizable cabin and stout underpinnings, this is one midsize sport-ute that deserves a look.