It’s quite difficult to see a good story based on the short life of the mid-size Chevrolet TrailBlazer. It never really had a chance to make a solid statement for itself as the model coincided with General Motor’s reorganization and successive factory closures. Despite this, the TrailBlazer existed long enough to leave a few notable highlights on its trail. These may not have set the auto industry on fire, but it’s definitely worth mentioning in honor of this popular SUV.
1999-2001: Beginnings as a trim
Before the release of a standalone TrailBlazer model, the name was used as a limited-edition trim for the 1999 Chevrolet Blazer SUV. This improved on the loaded LS and LT Blazer trims by adding features like gold alloy rims and daylight running lamps. It wasn’t until 2002 that the TrailBlazer became a separate model offered by Chevrolet.
2002-2005: Instant awards and recognitions.
Upon the introduction of the standalone TrailBlazer model, it became a hit in the market because of the SUV’s advanced gearbox, outstanding suspension system, and powerful engine. The 4.2 L straight-6 engine was also recognized on Ward’s 10 Best Engines from 2002 to 2005 because of advanced features like a double overhead camshaft (DOHC) and variable valve timing (VVT). All of this was packaged in a sleek yet rough body, coupled with a roomy 7-passenger cabin. The SUV even was named 2002’s North American Truck of the Year.
2006: The first Super Sport
The Chevrolet TrailBlazer was the first SUV to have a Super Sport (SS) trim. For this special truck, a 6.0 L 395 horsepower V8 came standard. This juice propelled it from 0 to 60 mph in under 6 seconds. A 4-speed automatic, improved differential ratio, sporty suspension, and special brakes made its list of upgrades to truly make this SUV special among Chevrolet models. Owners liked the improved handling and power. However, not everyone really appreciated such an advanced model, and instead chose the basic TrailBlazer to satisfy simple needs.
2009: The end of the trail
After a 7-year stint in the SUV market, corporate heads decided to stop the production of the Chevrolet TrailBlazer. The car had a bitter end as its later models were simply upgrades of past ones instead of completely new creations. Its end also signaled the closure of its assembly-line and plant. The Traverse replaced the TrailBlazer as the SUV on Chevy’s lineup. A 2012 model has been teased in various motor-shows, but the company is hesitant to sell it in North America because of strict fuel regulations and the rising appeal of crossovers.