Getting A Ride With Chevy’s New SUV In Cebu

Features 4 minutes, 5 seconds

Cebu, Philippines

MUSCULAR, with a can-do, go-anywhere spirit is the new look of the recently launched TrailBlazer from Chevrolet. The TrailBlazer may look similar to its predecessor; but it is an improved model that could deliver a better driving experience.

I had the opportunity to take the car for a spin on the roads of Danao as part of the regional launch of the new TrailBlazer and Colorado, courtesy of GHK Motors, the Bruneian distributor of the American brand, and my first impression of the car was that it looks a bit more masculine than before.

Before I continue, a quick disclaimer. I don’t know which variant will be hitting the shores, so I’ll be talking about the model that I drove.

The front grille has been changed and there are now daytime running lights that give it a more distinguished look, bearing a strong resemblance to its concept version, the TrailBlazer Premier.

However, inside is where the most changes have been made. In my previous article for the Chevrolet Colorado, which was launched simultaneously with the TrailBlazer, one of the common complaints was the interior and it was the same complaint with the TrailBlazer.

As such, like the Colorado, the interior of the new TrailBlazer has been vastly improved with sophisticated materials and finishes. The front console has also seen an upgrade, which includes the 8-inch touch screen with Chevrolet’s latest MyLink infotainment system.

Under the hood, the TrailBlazer that I drove boasts an upgraded 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel engines, with a Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT) that puts out 147 kW (200 PS) of power and 500Nm of torque. For those who haven’t heard of the VGT, what it does is it alters the geometry of the turbine housing to help the engine accelerate by maintaining an optimum aspect-ratio for the Turbo.

What this means on the road is that there is minimal lag in the turbo and the whole car was very efficient and responsive on the road as I drove up the mountain to Danasan Eco Park and cruised along the coast of Danao.

Coupled with the tweaks done to the suspension and the shock absorbers and the new electronic power steering, the agility and handling of the SUV belies its size and I was pretty impressed; especially considering the pretty tight confines of the roads leading up towards the park and the gradient of the incline of the roads.

One thing that I noticed was the reduced cabin noise, from the wind and from the car itself, which made the ride comfortable as I could enjoy the conversations I had with the pair of media people from Myanmar.

One really good feature that is baked into the model that I drove, and had a first-hand experience with was the Front Collision Alert that will give a shrill warning when there is a huge speed differential between you and the object in front of you.

I was driving the road loop segment of the test drive where we drove along the coast and a huge, eye-catching bus drove past our car and for some reason it really caught my eye and instead of keeping my eyes ahead, my eyes followed the bus, not realising that the car in front has slowed down to a near stop.

It was only due to the alert that I managed to catch myself and come to a near screeching halt. I also found out that the Electronic Brakeforce Distribution works well. Thank God I didn’t have to find out whether the airbags work. That would’ve been embarrassing.

One feature that I hope would come here is the remote start. What it does is it allows you to start the car remotely and switch on the air-conditioning so that the car will be cool when you get in. Very useful for our climate here in Brunei where it can get pretty hot and stuffy if when you get into the car after it has been sitting in the sun, even with the sunshades on.

“We designed the TrailBlazer around the target customer’s lifestyle, with significant improvements to driver comfort through the use of technology, premium materials and design throughout,” said Mike Devereux, GM International vice president of Sales, Marketing and Aftersales. “We wanted to offer a more premium SUV that strikes the perfect balance between work and play.”

All in all, I was pretty impressed with the new TrailBlazer and I can’t wait for it to make an appearance here in Brunei. If I had any complaint with the car that I drove, it was the fact that it was an automatic transmission; I prefer manual myself but considering I was driving a left-hand drive for the first time it was a good and safe choice.

So keep an eye out and follow GHK Motors on Instagram at @chevroletbrunei for any updates.

The Brunei Times