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#26

in 2009 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $10,518 - $18,205
Original MSRP: $29,155 - $39,330
MPG: 14 City / 20 Hwy
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2009 Chevrolet TrailBlazer Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

While the TrailBlazer is powerful, reviewers feel that its performance is marred by soft, unresponsive handling -- unless you're talking about the performance-tuned SS model. Low fuel economy from the base V6 and both optional V8 engines is also a downside.

  • "If a prospective buyer isn't bothered by pain at the pump, then the SS Trailblazer is simply a gas to drive." -- MarketWatch

Acceleration and Power

LT models come with a 4.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine, while SS models get a 6.0-liter V8. Both engines are mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. An optional 5.3-liter V8 engine has been dropped for 2009. According to the EPA, rear-wheel drive LT models achieve 14/20 mpg city/highway, while top-of-the-line SS models with a V8 engine and four-wheel drive get an abysmal 12/16 mpy city/highway.

  • "LT versions have good power for most situations. SS models are muscular from any speed, lending credence to Chevy's 5.7-second 0-60-mph claim. On all, the transmission is generally smooth, though sometimes coaxing a downshift takes a deep stab of the throttle." -- Consumer Guide
  • "When tromping on the gas, few TrailBlazer drivers are likely to realize the source of power is an inline-six-cylinder rather than a V-8. Not only is engine sound barely discernible (except when pushed really hard), but road noise is also virtually absent. Acceleration is undeniably stronger with the V-8, but it's not a dramatic difference." -- Cars.com
  • "Most buyers will find the standard inline-6 engine adequate, but it's definitely lacking in low-end torque. The optional V8 is more satisfying in this regard, though it feels like a bit too much engine for the softly tuned chassis." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

Most reviewers say the TrailBlazer's handling is lacking in all models except the SS. They say the base model smooths out bumps but shows significant body roll when cornering and has uncommunicative steering. 

  • "Disappointing overall, with marked body lean in sharp turns and lifeless steering that demands attention on the highway. A relatively tight turning radius makes close-quarters maneuvering fairly easy. The brakes have adequate stopping control but spongy pedal action, and quick stops induce marked nosedive and some wander." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The ... Chevy TrailBlazer's standard suspension has both good and bad qualities. With tuning on the soft side, it offers an exceptionally comfortable ride around town and on the highway but loses composure quickly when pressed hard through corners or over bumpy terrain. The SS is a different story, delivering a firmer but still comfortable ride at normal road speeds." -- Edmunds
  • "The TrailBlazer's base suspension provides a good ride but isn't as well-controlled as the firmer SS suspension. On the other hand, the SS suspension occasionally caused a jerky ride and side-to-side head 'toss' on some rough roads." -- MSN

Next Steps: 2009 Chevrolet TrailBlazer

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