Pros: runs very quietly, lots of "get-up-and-go", great turning radius, beautiful vehicle
Cons: bad gas mileage, Proximity of gas pedal to console,
Having had a 1991 Subaru Justy as my primary mode of transportation for quite a while, it was a great opportunity to slide behind the wheel of our new 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer. I knew right away that there were going to be marked differences in the two vehicles (pretty obvious from an outsiders view I am sure), and it was something that I was very excited from the moment we took it off the lot. I had never been a fan of sport utility vehicles, but it wasn't going to take a lot for the vehicle to impress me when I was putting around in my trusty Subaru. The first options that really popped out to me and I liked the best were the power steering, the silent running of the vehicle, and the fact that it looked so great from the outside. Being in a vehicle that was a lot higher off the ground was also going to be a benefit, and I knew that this was a vehicle I could love.
The Amenities of The 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer
There are plenty of "wow" factors for me with this new Sport Utility Vehicle, and I will try to get to each one in turn, but lets start with the exterior of the Trailblazer. This one is a Silverstone Metallic color, with matching bumpers to the color of the metallic paint. It is not a really common color in the newer SUV's (where I am from at least), so it stands out pretty well in the parking lot. It is also pretty tall, clocking in at 6 feet in height, so it is a little taller than your average person. The back and rear widows are tinted and are made of a heat reflective glass. Getting into the car is pretty easy with a nice little platform step for the back doors, which makes it easier for passengers to get in back there. Obviously it is a 4-door, and contains a place for a tow hook if you want to have it added on.
Inside the car, you have seating for 5 people (2 in front, 3 in back), and it has two very comfortable seats in the front. The adjust front to back from a bar under the seat, and can move the degree of their angle using the side-seat panel. Both seats are bucket seats with a center console between the two of them, which can hold a row of CD's and all you other odds and ends. I can tell you from experience that this also serves as a great armrest, because it is at exactly the right height. The steering wheel itself is of a plastic composite, with two horn buttons that can be used from either side of the wheel. The wheel has one stick extending from the left side that controls the front wipers, and the cruise control. The cruise button itself is on the end of the stick, and to activate it, you simply get your speed to where you want it, hold it in for a full second, and take your foot off of the gas. The Audio system is comprised of an AM/FM Radio and CD player with six speakers to hear your music loud, and is controlled from the front of the car.
There are front and rear controls for the environmental settings, and one of the great options is being able to have different settings for the front left and right. One person can have it much colder than the other, and I put that to good use. This brings me to one of the problems, and that is the cup-holders that come with the car. There are two at the font of the console, just in front of the parking break, which can hold only medium drinks. So, if you have two large drinks you are going to be in trouble. In front of the center console is one additional holder, which CAN hold one large drink, but lacking the ability to hold two limits the front of the vehicle in my opinion. A small infraction I know, but important to someone like me. There is a rear cup-holder for the back passengers, but like I said, a little bit wider on the front ones would have been nice.
The cargo area of the back of The 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer is a nice size, and I guess should be expected from an expensive sport utility vehicle. It is measured to be about 43 cubic feet, so it is a nice big area to pack everything into for a long trip. If you are traveling with just two people, the middle seats can be put down to increase the storage capacity even more. The car also comes with an automatic alarm system that is activated clicking your handheld button to lock twice. Using it to unlock the doors will activate the internal and external lights, and also unlocks the rear hatch at the same time. If you are hanging out inside the car, it can be activated internally as well, but opening your door will set it off, so be careful. The interior is a really comfortable setting, it is nice to get into, and since the back seat is in a bench format, you could even take a nap back there if you so desired.
The Handling, Driving, and Control
Getting behind the wheel of The 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer is a fun experience in itself. Sitting on the line at a light, you know you have enough energy under the hood to be the first off the line any time you choose. The V8 engine really packs a nice punch, and it makes the SUV seem really light as it glides forward. You can get up to speed on the freeway very quickly with it, and it is so great when you are trying to pass someone on a 2-lane highway. For me, it was a monster of a vehicle to try and take control of at first, but once I was used to it, it floated along the highways very easily. To top that off, it can pretty much stop on a dime with four disc brakes including four ventilated discs. So it adds a safety "feel" to a vehicle that already feels really comfortable to drive. It handles like a dream so to speak, and you can hit the brakes on a moments notice without many fears
One of the best features that I love about The 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer is the turning radius. Driving a small car for so long, I had grown accustomed to being able to turn around in small spaces. Well, with this SUV that is not a problem, because it can basically swivel in one spot and turn around in a very small cubic area. This is really a good thing, because it is a large vehicle, and if you are parked in a tight spot, you need to be able to weasel yourself out of the lot easily. With a perfectly aligned body, the truck can almost glide down the freeway with no assistance at all, in a fashion that you would expect from more expensive vehicles. That is not to say that this one is light on the numbers, because it is in the high $20 thousand range. But the Trailblazer did handle highways very easily, and it eats up the hard grades as if you were going on a flat road. With its 4 wheel drive capabilities, this is a vehicle that is going to be able to handle the snow just as easily as anything else.
Final Thoughts on The 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer
I should address what I feel keep the vehicle from being perfect in my opinion. First off, based on the mileage I have driven in the Trailblazer, I have a miles per gallon count of 18.4. Its advertised to get 21 on the highway, and 16 in town, so I guess that is about right for the driving I have done. That being said, it's not a very good MPG reading at all. With my Justy I could get 35-40 MPG so gas never seemed very expensive to me. The Trailblazer does have a 21.9 gallon tank, so it holds a lot more, but it is just that much more expensive to fill it up. Another thing that is not too great, is that the gas pedal is very, very close to the center hump of the car. This makes it slightly uncomfortable if you want to move around with your "gas" foot. I use it at an angle anyways, so it doesn't affect me too much, but it could be bad for someone with larger feet, or the need to move around. Finally, the car tends to speed up when traveling on hills on cruise control. If you are going uphill, and it switches gears, you may end up going 3 miles per hour faster than you set it for a while. This could be a big downside if you have your speed set to high past the allowed limit.
Even with the faults that I have found to be quite minor, The 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer is a really great vehicle in my humble opinion. It has the feel of a great vehicle, it sits pretty high when you are driving, and the appearance is very appealing to others. It is built really well in my opinion, and if this is the type of vehicle that can fit in to your price range, and you like to drive it, then you can overlook the bad gas mileage. For long trips, or just running to the store at night, this SUV can just about do it all, and I have found it to be an above average purchase. The 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer is a vehicle that I highly recommend, and urge people who are in the market to take a look at.
A Few Additional Specifications:
Suggested Pricing: $26,465 to $34,445
Bodystyles: 4-Dr Sport Utility
Engines: 4.2L Inline 6; 5.3L V8
Drive trains: Four Wheel Drive; Rear Wheel Drive
Transmissions: 4 Speed Automatic