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The Chevrolet TrailBlazer was extremely popular among U.S. consumers as a comfortable, reliable, midsize sport utility vehicle (SUV). The Chevrolet TrailBlazer was an early leader in the midsize SUV market due to its affordability, roominess, pleasant driving experience, and generally broad appeal. As the midsize SUV market became more competitive, the Chevrolet TrailBlazer struggled to keep up, but became popular as a fleet vehicle to balance out its decline in commercial popularity.
The Chevrolet TrailBlazer is easily confused with the Chevrolet S-10 Blazer, both because of the similarity in name (confusing things even more is the existence of yet another similarly named vehicle, the Chevrolet K5 Blazer, until 1994) and due to the fact that TrailBlazer was a trim level on the Chevrolet S-10 Blazer in 1999, 2000, and 2001. While the Blazer with TrailBlazer trim was commercially available up until 2005, the Chevrolet TrailBlazer was its own model from 2002 up until 2009, when it was replaced by the Chevrolet Traverse. Although the TrailBlazer was discontinued in the US after 2009, a new TrailBlazer, sold only in Asia and Brazil, appeared in 2012.
The final model of the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, the 2009, had been largely outstripped by modern crossover vehicles and was ready to be replaced. Its handling and safety ratings were not competitive with other modern midsize SUVs and its interior and to some extent; its exterior styling seemed out of date. That being said, many of the features that made the early TrailBlazer appealing remained, including a big engine and a user-friendly design.
The Chevrolet TrailBlazer of 2009 came in four trim levels, LT, LT2, LT3, and SS. The base LT model came fairly well-equipped, with dual zone air conditioning, OnStar, full power accessories, and CD entertainment. The LT2 upgraded the package to include automatic climate control, rear air conditioning, optional DVD entertainment and a power, leather driver's seat. The premium LT3 package bumped the TrailBlazer up to 18 inch wheels, power adjustable pedals, Bose sound and heated front seats. Finally, the sporty SS trim came with all the premium accessories plus a sport-tuned suspension with more responsive steering, sturdier brakes, and 20-inch wheels. Other options included sun roof and two-tone paint job.
Besides the SS, the TrailBlazer offered a comfortable, if unspectacular ride. This vehicle was designed more for suburban life and commuting than for off-roading and getting away from the beaten path. The SS trim's stronger engine and sport-tuned suspension was much better suited for active driving.
The standard engine on the 2009 Chevrolet TrailBlazer was a 4.2-liter, six-cylinder engine that produced 285 horsepower with 276 lb-ft of torque, linked to a four-speed automatic transmission available in rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. It had a maximum towing capacity of 5900 lbs. with a maximum payload of 1194 lbs. The TrailBlazer SS featured a much more powerful 6.0-liter, V-8 engine which offered 390 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, with a towing capacity of 6800 lbs. at maximum and impressive acceleration for a midsize SUV, going zero to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds.
Safety features on the 2009 Chevrolet TrailBlazer included four-wheel antilock ventilated disc brakes, stability and traction control, electronic brake force distribution, a post-collision safety system and tire pressure monitoring.
The one and only generation of the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, discounting the early Blazer Trim version and the new outside North America version, appeared from 2002-2009 and is based on the GMT360 platform. The first TrailBlazer featured a 4.2-liter six-cylinder engine that generated an ample 270 horsepower. A longer wheelbase version, the TrailBlazer EXT, was also available, with additional passenger and cargo space. The following year, a special North Face Edition trim was offered, and a 5.3-liter, V-8 engine became available for the EXT.
The big change for the Trailblazer came in 2006, when the TrailBlazer SS trim was introduced. This was a huge boost to the TrailBlazer, as it meant that those who were looking for a midsize SUV with some actual sport utility characteristics had a TrailBlazer to turn to, thanks to the SS's sport-tuned suspension and 6.0-liter V-8 engine. To spruce up the standard TrailBlazer, the 5.3-liter V-8 that had previously only been available for the EXT became available for all TrailBlazers, although in 2007, production on the EXT stopped, and the 5.3-liter V-8 was not available for the final TrailBlazer production models of 2009.
From a peak of over 283,000 vehicles sold in America in 2004, sales of the Chevrolet TrailBlazer dropped dramatically, until less than 10,000 were sold in 2009, following its final production year. In 2009, the Chevrolet Traverse made the scene to replace both the TrailBlazer and the Chevrolet Uplander, as a full-size crossover SUV with an upgraded look and powertrain.