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Chevy TrailBlazer EXT LT 4WD

More Space, More Power

Feb 11, 2003
At this point in the SUV industry, consumers are demanding more from their vehicles - those who use their vehicles to haul people and cargo want room for all of the gear, three rows of seats, and power to get all of it from Point A to Point B with ease and, if possible, enthusiasm. Unfortunately, many of the vehicles that claim to do all of this are often a compromise. Those that have third-row seating won't hold cargo for that many people, and if the interior is reconfigured to hold that amount of cargo, it will no longer be able to accommodate three rows of people. Load it up with people and belongings, and the engine is too bogged down to get the SUV up a hill. Or, if someone buys a vehicle that will hold all of the gear and people at once, in some cases, the sport utility is too big to park in the garage.
What is an SUV buyer to do? Chevrolet may have solved this problem with the introduction of the TrailBlazer EXT, an extended version of the successful TrailBlazer. Not only will this vehicle seat up to seven people, but the extended interior also gives the cargo area more space, even with all of the seats up. In addition, the SUV we tested came with the optional 5.3L V-8, a powerplant that dealt quite well with hauling full loads and taking on steep hills. It is also ready for the dirt, with Autotrac automatic four-wheel drive, a 3.42 rear axle, and a rear locking differential. This vehicle was so well suited to holding people and gear that many judges wanted to give this SUV the true test by taking it on an extended road trip. Also helping the road trip argument was the TrailBlazer EXT's interior. Our tester came with an AM/FM/CD head unit, which included a six-disc CD changer. Bose speakers were installed throughout the interior, and rear-seat passengers got their own entertainment system, which included a DVD player, a flip-down LCD screen, and headphones, ensuring that it would take a lot of work to get bored on a road trip.
Whenever the SUV of the Year judges hear about stretched versions of already existing vehicles, they become instantly wary. There have been several examples of designs that work on a small scale, but the addition of extra real estate on other designs results in a clumsy, disproportionate look. That was not the case with the TrailBlazer EXT. This sport utility looks sharp in its larger format, has plenty of power with the optional engine, and has excellent handling. This SUV may be based on another sport utility, but it can handle cargo and passengers in a way that others can't, and is a great sport utility in its own right
Base Price: $32,885
Price As Tested: $37,515
Engine: 5.3L V-8
Horsepower: 290 hp at 5,200 rpm
Torque: 325 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm
Suspension: Independent double A-arms (front); five-link solid axle (rear)
Brakes: ABS disc (front & rear)
4WD/Transmission: Autotrac 4WD/Hydra-Matic 4L60-E four-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 129.0 in
Length: 207.8 in
Width: 74.7 in
Height: 75.5 in
Curb Weight: 5,020 lb
Towing Capacity: 7,000 lb
Fuel Economy (city/highway): 14/18 mpg


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