2017 Chevrolet Trailblazer Z71 Review
Chevrolet Philippines has sent us the 2017 Trailblazer Z71 that boasts a facelift from its previous iteration. We were there during its regional launch in Cebu and saw first-hand that it flaunts a more aggressive exterior, modified interior, and comes with new features that should make driving both safer and more comfortable.
The Trailblazer Z71 is currently the top of the line model with two other variants following it — these are the LT versions with the same 2.8-liter engine/automatic transmission and a base model with a lower 2.5-liter displacement running on a manual tranny.
Join us in this review to find out how this midsize SUV handles driving in and out of the metro.
I used to drive my friend’s older ‘Blazer all the time so seeing this 2017 refresh made me notice even the subtle changes done to this (fairly) new vehicle. The most noticeable is the refashioned front fascia and although the dual-port front grille still made its way here, it is now wider — transitioning from a timid, conservative look to a more aggressive disposition.
The fog lamps have also been slightly repositioned on its all-new bumper while the decorative intakes are at a lower placement than before. The headlights now feature daytime running lights and have also been reshaped not only for aesthetics but serve a specific function as well.
Changes made in the design of the headlamp together with the door, window, and windshield seals are all part of the new ‘wind noise package’ that the company claims makes the vehicle quieter while moving.
Its rear bumper and tail lights also received some minor tweaks in styling. For some, it might not be noticeable at first glance since there are only little differences and are mostly carried over from its predecessor.
The Z71 stands on new 18-inch gunmetal wheels. These exude a high-end, premium look, but at the same time conveys a message that they’re not afraid to get down and dirty.
Overall, the modifications done to the exterior — from new components to fresh angular lines — give better character to the Z71 and are very much appreciated implementations for an aging design.
The new look continues inside with a refurbished dashboard and front console. It no longer has the bulky circular layout for climate control which could appear overwhelming at first. Instead, Chevrolet now implements buttons and controls neatly lined up just below its MyLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen display.
The display is easy to use, has good legibility even under bright conditions, and is easy to reach. It could also pair wirelessly with smartphones through the use of Bluetooth and even support multiple devices with different operating systems since it accommodates both Apple Car Play and Android Auto.
Basically, pairing with the infotainment system throws a simplified version of your smartphone onto the display and with the vehicle’s voice recognition software, the driver no longer needs to reach out for the controls while driving (yup, it’s ADDA-friendly).
The leather-wrapped steering wheel looks pretty much the same as before and contains the cruise, radio, and phone controls. Chevrolet dolled up the interior with small but appreciated details like soft paddings for the dash and door panels, Z71 accents, and a couple of badges.
The seats are all clad in jet black leather. It’s a 7-seater but the last row could be folded down to make space for bigger luggage when the need arises. When upright, however, passengers here can still have a good view of their surroundings thanks to its elevated ‘theater-style seating’. The company is proud to claim that the Trailblazer is the widest and tallest in its class, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the interior is very roomy. We were able to fit 5 people in the first two rows and they had no complaints regarding comfort and space.
For the driver, the power seat can be easily adjusted and provides the right support while driving even for extended hours. It’s not the most comfortable seat we’ve sat in but doesn’t pose any unwanted discomforts during our time.
The Trailblazer Z71 is equipped with a combination of active and passive features for safety and should come in handy when you find yourself in challenging scenarios. If you look down from the driver’s seat, there are flip-down buttons neatly lined up to activate the said features. They look pretty cool flanking the hazard button since they slightly resemble a control panel for an aircraft.
There’s Lane Departure Warning that keeps you in your lane, Side Blind Zone Alert which tells you if a vehicle is nearby when turning, Hill Start Assist to prevent rolling backward on an inclined road, Front and Rear Parking Assist, and Forward Collision Alert.
Other safety measures include Traction Control System, Antilock Braking System, Panic Brake Assist, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Control, Hill Descent Control, Anti-Rolling Protection, Trailer Sway Control, and Tire Pressure Monitoring System — all of which work together to ensure the safety of everyone in the vehicle.
Under the hood is a Euro 4-compliant 2.8-liter turbo-diesel Duramax engine that churns out 200 horses with 500Nm of torque. From our experience, it’s able to run on the highway freely and climb steep inclines without breaking a sweat.
Taking it off-road, on the other hand, is when things get a lot more exciting. The Z71’s suspension dances with the uneven surface in a soft, yet controlled manner. It’s been a while since I last drove the older Trailblazer but I remember it being a bit more rigid and I actually prefer the suspension on this new variant. Its fully-boxed frame also contributes to comfort and ride stability to make sure you have full control of the vehicle even when there’s no more road under you.
Additionally, it now has Electronic Power Steering which definitely made turning and maneuvering lighter and easier considering its huge body. Going off-road and switching to 4×4 makes handling a bit stiffer, but overall still manageable for quick turns and such.
As for fuel consumption, we were able to achieve an average rating of 9.3km/L for combined city and highway driving.
The 2017 Chevrolet Trailblazer is an easily-likeable refresh vehicle as far as facelifts go. It ditches the conservative look for a more aggressive front fascia, has a redesigned cabin with a neater layout and a touch of premium elements, enjoys a roomy and quieter interior, handles really well for its size, and is packed with safety features both for emergency instances or simply changing your radio station. Let’s also not forget that its 18-inch rims make it stand out in public even further.
If we had to nitpick, we could say that Chevy could do more with the tail light and rear bumper as they could easily pass off as the older Trailblazer. After all, purchasing a refreshed model would make you want to look like it IS the improved variant in all angles.
The 2017 Trailblazer Z71 4WD is priced at Php1,881,888 and is available exclusively through Chevrolet Philippines — The Car Covenant Company, Inc. (TCCCI). For the other variants, pricing is as follows:
- 2.8L 4 Cylinder DOHC 4×2 DSL 6-speed LT A/T – Php1,509,888
- 2.8L 4 Cylinder DOHC 4×4 DSL 6-speed Z71 A/T – Php1,378,888
2017 Chevrolet Trailblazer Z71 specs:
2.8-liter Duramax 4-cylinder turbo-diesel engine
Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT)
200PS of power @ 3600rpm
500Nm of torque @ 2000rpm
Electric Power Steering
18-inch gunmetal wheels
What we liked about it:
- More aggressive front fascia
- Redesigned cabin
- Roomy & comfortable interior
- Quieter engine
- Lighter handling
- Added safety features
- Premium but rugged gunmetal rims
What we didn’t like:
- For a facelifted model, rear end is pretty much the same as its predecessor