New Models
Holden Trailblazer
Holden blazes a new trail

Kiwis have always had a soft spot for knockabout ute-based low range-equipped 4x4 ‘station wagons’ like Isuzu and Holden’s D-Max-based MU-X and Colorado 7 twins.

Now Holden has piggy-backing on its 2017 model year Colorado ute upgrade to create the Trailblazer, a much-improved replacement for the Colorado 7.

Like the 2017 Colorado ute, which went on sale here in September, the Trailblazer has enjoyed a comprehensive front-to-back makeover which has resulted in night-and-day improvements to the steering, ride, and interior sound, comfort and convenience levels.

Not only that, but the new model hits the market at just $62,990 in LTZ spec, a cool $4000 LESS than the LTZ-spec Colorado 7 it replaces.

Name – and reprofiled nose with new headlights and LCD daylight running lights – aside, the big changes are under the skin. And believe me, if you’ve driven the outgoing model you notice them straight away.

Ditching the old (ponderous and heavy-handed) hydraulic power steering for a new, sharper (down from 3.9 to 3.3 turns lock-to-lock) electric system has made a big difference. As have new body (to chassis) and engine and transmission mounts, a new spec (lower road noise, better grip in the wet and dry) tyre, the relocation of the engine’s contra-rotating balance shaft and the use of a Centrifugal Pendulum Absorber torque converter.

Combined with a reduction in final drive gearing (to take full advantage of the benefits of the new torque converter) DOHC/16-valve 2.8 litre turbo-diesel four cylinder engine) the result is a quieter cabin and – despite no change in the peak power (147kW) and torque (500Nm) figures – a much perkier, more responsive feel at the pedal.

The key to the appeal of a ‘ruggedized’ ute-based station wagon is in its potential to be all things to all people. To be able to - at the flick of a switch – engage low range and take the road less travelled, or effortlessly tow a trailer or caravan weighing up to (in Trailblazer’s case) 3000kg, all in air-conditioned and leather-trimmed comfort for up to seven people.

To this end the Trailblazer is a thoroughly modern, comprehensively-specced, 4WD with a rotary dial rather than a lever to swap between hi and lo-range, and the ability to swap  between 2WD H(igh) and 4WD H on-the-fly.

It’s also a genuine seven seater, with (just) enough room for two adults (though to be fair, the accommodation is more kid-sized) in the third row of seats.

To read the full story in the November 2016 issue of NZ4WD go to (October 24) or purchase your own hard copy at the Adrenalin store.

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