By on November 10, 2011

Based on Chevy’s new Global Colorado, this Trailblazer is an old-school, body-on-frame, SUV… which won’t be sold in this, the erstwhile capital of body-on-frame SUVs. Even though the Colorado will be produced in the US, which would make the Trailblazer an easy addition to the US lineup, Chevy seems determined to keep it out of the US. Because, as GM’s midsized truck VLE (vehicle line engineer) Brad Merkel puts it

The growing markets of the world want flexibility. That means power and capability combined with comfort and efficiency. TrailBlazer does it all. You can tow anything, go anywhere, comfortably seat seven people, and do so with the fuel efficiency associated with a smaller, less capable vehicle. It’s the complete package

But Americans don’t want any of that. Americans want a nice, car-based Equinox or Traverse. And that’s just what they’ll continue to get…



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47 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: No Country For Old-School SUVs Edition...”

  • avatar

    Where did you hear that it definitely won’t be sold in the US?

    Granted, it will go on sale in other markets first, but so will the Colorado and Malibu, as did the Cruze, Sonic and Spark.

    The press release does not point to the U.S. as an initial market for the new ‘Blazer, but nor does it rule it out.

    That said, a true SUV this big would cannibalize Tahoe/Yukon sales in the US. Not a bad thing, IMO, as it looks to be an improvement in packaging, efficiency, and refinement.

    And we’ll always have the good ‘ol Suburban…

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    “. . . this Trailblazer is an old-school, body-on-frame, SUV… which won’t be sold in this, the erstwhile capital of body-on-frame SUVs.”

    You accidentally a word in that sentence.

    Anyway–Does the “Trailblazer” brand have any cachet left?

  • avatar

    This thing looks great. I’d replace my current Trailblazer with this one.

  • avatar

    However small the niche, there is a need and gap for small BOF SUVs. Not everyone wants a Tahoe or Suburban to tow a trailer. If this SUV was also more trail capable than an Equinox, that would also fill another niche.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly. There is a huge gap in what the US automovite market offers here. I know I’m not the only one who wants a mid-size SUV to haul the kids arounds, gets decent mileage when I drive it to work, and can pull more than 5000 pounds. The Mercedes ML 350 is about the only thing I can think of that fits that bill, but the price point is beyond what many can afford. I imagine a vehicle with similar capabilities at a lower price point (I could do without the brand cachet or luxuries) would sell like hotcakes, especially with a small diesel.

  • avatar

    IRS or live rear axle? The rear photo suggests the latter, but if so that third row must be tight.

  • avatar

    Why do you think this won’t be sold in the US?

  • avatar

    I, too, am having trouble figuring out where Ed gets the impression it won’t be sold in the US. I’ve ready elsewhere that it’s a 2013 model coming to other markets in 2012, but after that, a home-turf entry is more than likely.

    GM might do themselves service by axing the current Yukon and giving its name to this. But don’t touch the Suburban…

  • avatar

    Why WOULD they sell it here? Body-on-frame midsize SUVs aren’t selling here anymore. If you’re a towing freak, buy a Tahoe or Expedition.

  • avatar

    I just bought a V6 sorento, 2011. IIRC this is the first year the sorento isn’t BOF.

    It’s also rated for towing 3500 pounds (I’m hoping that will be enough to tow around 2 sportbikes). Ours seats 7 (w/ 3rd row). This is a do-it-all vehicle with light “truck” duty. The v6 is good for 0-60 in 7.4. At 62mph on cruise control, flat land the mpg gauge reads ~ 29mpg. At 70mph we are down to 26-27mpg. Not sure you can get a much better vehicle that fits a ton of needs.

    • 0 avatar

      “It’s also rated for towing 3500 pounds (I’m hoping that will be enough to tow around 2 sportbikes).”

      Good golly, it ought to be. Unless they’re the heaviest sportbikes known to mankind. My porky BMW K75 (admittedly nowhere near a sportbike in terms of power-to-weight ratio) weighed in somewhere north of 450 lbs and was considered a “heavy” bike by most of my riding buddies who had sportier mounts. So even at two of those, you’re not even a third of the way into your towing capacity. Add a few hundred pounds for a solid little trailer and some gear, and I think it should be perfectly capable.

  • avatar

    Looks impressive, but WOW check out those C and D pillars. I’m thinking a backup camera and blind spot detection better be standard issue. Not to mention something to combat the claustrophobia of the third row passengers.

    Also, what’s up with the lack of a traditional rear bumper surface???

  • avatar

    It probably won’t be sold here since it’s not a station wagon, it’s a truck. Americans love station wagons as long as you don’t call them station wagons. You have to call them SUV’s or CUV’s or something truck-like, but they can’t actually be trucks becuase trucks ride and drive like trucks, they have to be station wagons which ride and drive like cars but we all preten are trucks.

    In short, Americans will truck no truck that is a truck, but will truck a truck that is a car, which is acutally a wagon. understand?

  • avatar

    Darn, this looks like something I would actually be interested in too, maybe a Cadillac version with the 6.2L?

  • avatar


    The remaining suckers who want a GM car will just buy whatever they put out.

    Why bother trying to compete? I don’t know that I have confidence that anyone at GM even cares. After all, what’s to stop another bailout in a few years? I can hear the bad arguments and ignorance of sunk costs already…

    (I might be just a little jaded.)

  • avatar

    That’s because what Americans really want and need are wagons and minivans but their egos haven’t caught up with their brains yet.

  • avatar

    Click on the interior shot…now zoom in.

    That TrailBlazer’s got a 5-speed STICK!

    I’ll take one if GM ever changes its mind.

  • avatar

    I second that, although the used Hummer3 I test drove with a manual was dog slow. I believe it was based on the current Canyon/Colorado.

  • avatar

    I’d like to get one. I’d like a strong diesel engine too. If they choose not to deliver it in America, than I will save a little more money and buy either the Touareg TDI or M-Class Diesel.

  • avatar
    George B

    I blame CAFE and women. There are a core group of buyers who will pay extra for BOF, RWD, and a V8. However, CAFE forces GM and Ford to disguise tall FWD family cars as trucks to replace real trucks. Women hold veto power over the purchase of family vehicles and they seem to want the tall seating position and the “it’s no a family car” image of a truck without truck harshness.

    • 0 avatar

      I was thinking that, too. I thought the new tougher fuel mileage regulations the U.S. is getting in the next several years will rejig many of the manufacturer’s vehicle lines. The fact that trucks in general got left out of earlier mileage regulations fueled (pun intended) the SUV/truck craze in America since the mid-90s.

      If this is true, and that is what is dictating which models are sold or not sold in the U.S., then that’s nuts. [Puts on flame retardant suit.] If Obama and the gang are serious about reducing American oil dependency, then why don’t they – oh, I don’t know – double the gasoline tax? (Incrementally, of course, so as to not give the economy apoplexy) Not only would that pay off the national debt in record time, but (like the rest of the world) it would have the twin benefit of influencing, not regulating, people’s choices.

      I miss my BOF Caprice and my BOF (sort of) Blazer, but I used them to tow my boat all over hell’s half acre, not just commute to work.

      • 0 avatar

        Not only would that pay off the national debt in record time…

        Except that congress would find a way to spend the extra revenue before a dent would be made into the national debt, but I see what you’re saying.

  • avatar

    Very good point, I think a good model line-up would be subcompact CUV, new Trailblazer, Lambda platform CUV’s, Suburban.

    The smaller size of the Trailblazer will be better off-road than the Yukon. It won’t take a V8, but a diesel SUV would have to find more homes surely as it would have few competitors.

  • avatar
    Rental Man

    I’m not sure the US market is waiting for them.
    I don’t think the Nissan Pathfinder move in 2005 to BOF made a sales increase. It now has 6-8 Cyl. 7 seats and I see less of them.

    Kia had to kill their Borrego after only one year. I watched those Trucks rot at Port Newark, NJ for monthes until a rental company finnaly took them off Kia’s hands. No car sits there that long. Not even exports.

    New Toyota 4Runner? Not a huge hit in NJ/NY. Maybe elsewhere.

    Jeep Liberty sold Diesel. Been sold with 4/6 cyl. Manual transmissions. Rare take rate on those. Better on Wrangler.

    SUV’s with MT also suffer lower tow rate vs. Automatic. Usually 1500 lb. difference.

    Most of all, they are no fun to drive. I like my fun car Manual and SUV’s feel better mated to Automatic. American Size Minivans same.

  • avatar

    This this looks good on the inside, but… good Lord, it’s frigging hideous on the outside!

    Reminds me of the Avalanche and the Aztec in terms of sheer ugliness.

  • avatar

    Work has an ’04 Trailblazer and it’s tall, yes, but it’s short though.

    We bought ours used a year or two ago and it had, at the time around 130K miles and had been driven hard and put up wet.

    It’s also not terribly roomy and I can’t see it fitting a 3rd row, then again, the Trailblazer may have grown in size since then.

    • 0 avatar

      The Trailblazer back then came in two sizes: the regular wheelbase that was a conventional 5 passenger. The stretching the wheelbase of the EXT by 16,” and adding some trickery to the 2nd row flipping forward, 3rd row comfort was fine for kids or smaller adults, which is what it was designed for. The extra length made the vehicle look dopey, IMO. But, at the time we were thrilled to have the Trailblazer: the hoary old Blazer was pushing 20 years old when the Trailblazer came out.
      The Trailblazer had many attributed that were noteworthy or commendable. Fit and finish was not one of them. Even our dealer principal muttered at a sales meeting that the Lexus guys weren’t losing any sleep over this thing. The interior was plasticky and in the diarrhea brown – simply Atzec-like.

  • avatar

    Count me among those who think there’s a huge towing niche going unfilled here. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of relatively small trailers and RVs whose owners begrudgingly drive a stupid-huge truck or light-duty CUV/minivan that’s never more than 5 years away from its next transmission overhaul.

    Then again, maybe GM is just being realistic. “Chevy Trailblazer”, after all, conjures up only slightly more confidence than “Olds Diesel”.

  • avatar
    PJ McCombs

    If the new Colorado is still a joint Isuzu/South American GM product, and still sized like the old one–which seems a safe assumption–then I would assume that this Colorado-based SUV is smaller than the pics might suggest.

    In fact, if it’s an evolution of the old Colorado chassis, it’s probably sized much closer to the current Equinox than the old NA-market TrailBlazer–only much narrower, and with a lot less sophisticated chassis bones, and a 4-cyl-heavy powertrain range.

    Sure is pretty, but–and I don’t often say this with GM’s overseas products–if the above guesses are true, they probably made the right call.

  • avatar

    If they sold it with the diesel/manual combo shown in these pictures, I’d surely buy one. I could replace my minivan and half-ton pickup with one vehicle. In theory.

  • avatar

    As a former ZR2 5 speed Blazer owner (with fond memories of my old truck), I see this and get excited about the potential for a 5-speed, 4wd, relatively fuel-efficient SUV with real capability. Plus, IMO, it looks phenomenal.

    However, I’m a bit leery…this is probably just a warmed over current generation Colorado platform. Despite claims of sinking billions into development I wonder how much of the architecture is really new or modern. If it’s crude, cheap, and stuffed with poor powertrains like the current generation Colorado, then we don’t want to see it here. If it’s solid and refined in the manner of GM’s most recent products, then we’d be missing out if they didn’t sell it here.

  • avatar

    I think MOST people who need HEAVY towing should get a truck. In reality, most people who buy SUV’s want a tall car.

    Aren’t BOF trucks generally much less safe in an accident than a unibody? I’m not really sure why we are lamenting people choosing car based CUV’s/SUV’s over BOF Trucks…?

    • 0 avatar

      Not to single out a specific comment or commenter, but why is it that we often see how an individual decides what other people need? Usually it is said that other people buy SUVs where they should be content with wagons, or other people have their trucks too empty where they should have driven… wagons again. If we go down that road, pretty soon other people will have to be content with public transit instead of their wasteful sporty wagons. Why don’t we let those other people figure it out for themselves?

      Also, I think that too much attention is given to a specific architecture. BOF is only important insomuch it allows an easy conversion to and from a truck. Otherwise, it’s not that important. Its effects on safety are negligible.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m not trying to say what people SHOULD DO, but what I”m saying is that not having a BOF GM made “SUV” brought to the US is not really losing much when we have a number of other truck options & SUV/CUV options which can fullfill the same niche. We aren’t exactly losing something unique….

  • avatar

    They’re probably not selling it as the last trailblazer was such a POS. And that comes from a former owner.

  • avatar

    Let the CUV (aka tall car) people keep their CUVs – GM has them pretty well covered. Chevy should offer this with a 4 banger, a stick, a transfer case, and a locker. Skip the heated leather seats and market this to buyers who might otherwise consdier a Wrangler or FJ. A gap does exisist in the market for reasonably priced, simple, capable SUVs – neither Ford or GM have this in any shape in their current line-ups. I think this could sell well if it is positioned right; not to mention the fleet and government buyers who need something smaller than a Tahoe but more capable than the Equinox or whatever abortion Chevy tries to pass off as a mid-sized SUV these days.

    • 0 avatar

      “not to mention the fleet and government buyers”

      …who used to buy BOF Exploders by the hundreds and are hungry for that kind of cheap, simple utility vehicle again.

    • 0 avatar
      Rental Man

      azmtbkr81 you seem to forget most of the market does not need or want so much truck. You also missed the Nissans. Between the Xterra & Pathfinder Nissan builds everything you asked for. Xterra PRO-4X 6Speed MT or Automatic. 5000 LB. Towing base price 24-34K loaded.Off road? Check. Locking Diff? Yup. Need more? Look at the Pathfinder.
      Or as you suggested Wrangler or FJ as well as 4Runner Trail PKG.
      US Gov. cannot get them as they are not American companies. Everyone else in the market is not going crazy for these offers.

      I wish they did.

      As a former rental car manager I noticed how many customers tastes shifted from SUV love during the SUV boom then later did not want to see seen in massive SUV’s even if it was a free upgrade and the tab was picked up as a business trip. That is why GM sees the Equinox and Traverse not needing the help of this Trailblazer. Toyota and Nissan sales suggest the soft roaders completely outsell the BOF’s offers.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    Great title . What happened to the aluminum dohc I6 these were using?

    If it has independent suspension and a 1 speed transfer case, it isnt a SUV. Braking and wheel base determines safe towing weight.

    I have a faux garden tractor. It is a lawn”tractor” styled International Harvester Cadet 80, styled in the image of its big brother, the iconic IH Cub Cadet.

    What is the profit on these per unit for GM? Is is SUV like?

  • avatar

    not sure if my optics were off, does it look a Merc GLK?

  • avatar

    They won’t sell it in the US because the market segment it targets doesn’t exist in the US.

    This is for markets where they sell rollover-happy pick-up based BOFs like the Hilux-based seven-seat Fortuner, the (old) Colorado-based Isuzu Alterra and the Montero Sport. Where you’re not required to give your trucks electronic stability control or even ABS… or even rear disc brakes.

    We’re getting it. You’re not. Blame your sissified government regulations and drivers who can’t stand a little death and dismemberment.

    Nyah nyah nyah.

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