TrailBlazer

March 1, 2001
Filed under Trailer Reviews

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Built on an all-new, body-on-frame chassis platform, the 2002 TrailBlazer features the
industry’s first fully hydroformed steel frame side rails, designed to improve overall
strength and ride quality. The new frame dramatically increases torsional stiffness, which
assists the performance of all the suspension components. The ladder-type frame consists of
eight cross members — traditionally there are four to six in a vehicle of this size — to
ensure overall stiffness for improved ride comfort, handling and reduction of noise and
vibration. The frame’s cross members, which in some cases are supplemented with gussets for
added strength and support, come in a variety of configurations. Hydro-mounts (donut-shaped
powertrain mounts that are filled with hydraulic fluid) replace the traditional
solid-rubber bushings in many locations on the powertrain. This is said to provide maximum
engine isolation to the frame, which in turn helps to achieve very low levels of engine
noise and vibration. For the first time in a Chevy truck in nearly 20 years, the
TrailBlazer will feature an inline six-cylinder engine. Called the Vortec 4200, the
all-new, high-tech engine is said to provide the power, capability and smoothness of a V-8
and the fuel efficiency of a six-cylinder engine. The all-aluminum 4.2-liter engine
features dual overhead camshafts (a first in GM truck engines) and four-valves-per-cylinder
technology. It produces 270 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque and is mated to the next-generation
Hydra-Matic 4L60-E four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. Other engine features
are 10:1 compression ratio (designed for regular-grade gasoline), electronic throttle
control, variable valve timing, coil-on-plug ignition and Multec II fuel injection.
According to the company, 90 percent of the engine’s peak torque is available from 1,600 to
5,600 rpm. A five-link rear suspension — similar to the systems on Tahoe and Suburban –
combines with a double-A-arm front suspension and one of the sport-utility-vehicle-market’s
first applications of rack-and-pinion hydraulically-assisted steering. Four-wheel vented
disk brakes with four-wheel ABS are said to haul the TrailBlazer to safe, controlled stops
in below-average distances. The TrailBlazer features a newly designed
heating/ventilation/air-conditioning system, which GM claims to be one of the best in the
industry. It is the first system in a GM truck to offer dual zones, which enables
independent temperature control for the driver and front passenger areas. Rear-seat air
conditioning is standard and rear-seat airflow control is offered as an option, for
increased passenger comfort. While the TrailBlazer is designated a 2002 model, it should be
available in Chevrolet dealerships some time this spring.

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