By: Jason Woosey

Johannesburg - Life is getting a bit harder for Chevrolet's Trailblazer, having to face up to an all-new Toyota Fortuner and with Ford preparing to expand its Everest range. But GM's large SUV is fighting back with a comprehensive makeover that brings a redesigned front end, new dashboard, numerous additional features and an entry-level automatic variant mated to an upgraded 2.5-litre engine.

Restyled inside and out

Although the rear and side views remain as before, barring new 17-inch alloys on 2.5 LT versions, the Trailblazer has a completely new look up front, with redesigned, and more angular looking headlights running into a larger grille.

A new 2.8 Z71 4x4 model joins the range and is set apart mostly by cosmetics, the flagship featuring black wheels, mirrors and door handles, a unique decal package and embroidered seats.

Inside there's a completely restyled dashboard with more soft-touch surfacing than before and all versions have seating for seven, upholstered in Jet Black leather. Also standard across the range is a new-generation touch-screen MyLink infotainment system that's now compatible with Apple Carplay and Android Auto. In addition, LTZ versions have integrated satnav, although LT customers will still be able to view phone-based navigation systems on the screen through the BringGo app.

2.5 auto with upgraded engine

The biggest news on the mechanical front is the addition of a 2.5-litre six-speed automatic model, featuring an upgraded turbodiesel engine that pushes 132kW and 440Nm. The six-speed manual LT continues with the familiar 120kW/380Nm 2.5-litre turbodiesel and range-toppers retain the 144kW/500Nm 2.8-litre Duramax turbodiesel, although the manual transmission option falls away.

A traditional part-time four-wheel drive system with low-range is optional on the 2.8 LTZ and standard on the Z71, while the rest of the range is rear-wheel driven.

Other changes to the 2017 Trailblazer include an improved sound deadening package and a new electronic power steering system with 'Smooth Road Shake Compensation'.

Although the 2.5-litre models lack any form of traction control, which is worrying given their stature and rear-wheel drive configuration, the 2.8-litre versions gain a glut of safety-enhancing technologies. In addition to the traction/stability and trailer sway control systems already fitted, these models gain lane departure warning, blind spot alert, rear cross traffic alert and tyre pressure monitoring.

Chevrolet Trailblazer prices

2.5D LT 4x2 manual - 120kW/380Nm - R464 000

2.5D LT 4x2 auto - 132kW/440Nm - R 481 800

2.8D LTZ 4x2 auto - 144kW/500Nm - R 552 800

2.8D LTZ 4x4 auto - 144kW/500Nm - R 613 200

2.8D Z71 4x4 auto - 144kW/500Nm - R 623 200

Alternatives

Ford Everest 3.2 4WD XLT auto - 147kW/470Nm - R634 900

Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 2.5 4x4 auto - 131kW/350Nm - R569 900

Ssangyong Rexton W RX270 Deluxe - 121kW/340Nm - R449 995

Toyota Fortuner 2.4 GD-6 auto - 110kW/400Nm - R471 800

Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 4x4 auto - 130kW/450Nm - R613 200