Where to for Trailblazer now?

2018 Holden Trailblazer front quarter

What is it?

Once known as the Colorado 7, as it was based on the four-door Colorado ute, Holden made the decision to change the name to Trailblazer.

It’s a curious choice as the front end looks like the current Colorado, and the profile is effectively unchanged.

The Trailblazer comes in seven colours, two- and four-wheel drive, three trim levels (LT, LTZ, Z71), and seats seven in relative comfort.

Motorvation comes courtesy of a 147kW/500Nm turbo diesel of 2.8 litres in capacity. 

Standard transmission is a 6-speed auto which leaves Holden lagging behind because an eight or nine ratio box is now becoming the norm.

Four-wheel drive models have “shift on the fly” which is available via a centre console dial.

Exterior design is not up to the visual appeal of say a Santa Fe or Sorento, and Ford’s Everest is also a better looker for that matter.

The profile is a standard three-box design and but somewhat more squared off than the immediate competition in profile.

Up front a sharper looking nose has a more integrated grille and LED driving light design.

The LTZ as tested has meaty rubber from Bridgestone at 265/60/18 and on tarmac they provide plenty of grip.

2018 Holden Trailblazer rear quarter

What’s it cost?

LT Trailblazer is currently available from $45,990 drive-away.

The LTZ ticks the box at $53,990 drive-away, with premium paint a $550 option.

There’s plenty of standard kit to balance the ledger, with a DAB tuner, smartphone connectivity via both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and Holden’s MyLink provides a user friendly interface for the 8.0-inch screen.

The front pews are heated, but not vented, and covered in machine made leather. The driver’s seat is powered but really only adjustable for height and fore/aft.

The dash itself is squared off and lacks visual appeal. A mix of dark and light greys and a lustreless alloy look trim around the gear selector and centre vents just don’t pull in the eyeballs.

Safety in the form of Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Alert, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are all standard on the LTZ — but there’s no Autonomous Emergency Braking.

The range also gets seven airbags including a driver’s knee bag.

With a towing capacity of up to 3000kg, Trailer Sway Warning is standard too.

Other standard features like auto headlights, front fog lights, and powered folding mirrors are counter-balanced by the lack of a powered tailgate.

This is standard on many others at the same price point.

However, LTZ does get remote engine start and Holden has smartly fitted a full-sized spare wheel for all three trim levels.

A nice touch is the pressure equalising windows that briefly open and close a little when opening and closing the doors.

The front seats have a 12V and USB socket, while the middle row gets a single 12V.

Rear seat passengers have access to cup holders on both sides and in the centre. There is also a 12V socket on the left side and rear aircon as well.

Legroom is plentiful for front and mid-row passengers, thanks to the 2845mm wheelbase.

Cargo space in seven seat mode is a little cramped at 205 litres, but in standard five-seat mode there is 878 litres or 1830 litres with all seats down.

2018 Holden Trailblazer profile

What’s it go like?

Honestly, it’s okay,  but perhaps a transmission with more cogs would help.

Having a kerb weight of just on 2200kg comes into the equation too. The diesel is more agricultural sounding than others under load, but off throttle it’s quiet enough.

That 500Nm of torque is available in a narrow band between 2000 and 2200 revs, but there’s oodles on tap both below and above that — up to around 3200 revs.

The six-speeder, regardless, is a slick unit. It’s smooth in its changes, will hold gear nicely on downhill runs, and when the accelerator is punched — it’s boom boom boom through the ratios.

On road behaviour is refined enough given its ostensibly ute based origins. It’s a coil sprung front, with a double wishbone design. The rear is a five-link “live” or non-independent setup, making it feel noticeably but not unpleasantly tauter than the front.

It’s softish at the top end of the suspension ride, perhaps a tad floaty, but is designed and engineered with off-road credibility in mind.

Approach and departure angles of 28 and 25 degrees will allow the average drivers to safely explore its high and low range transmission ability.

Steering on tarmac is not as tight as expected, with a slightly rubbery feel on the straight. Off centre however it loads up quite well and will provide enough feedback to provide some decent understanding of where it’s heading.

On gravel the suspension allows a little more communication to be fed through.

The brakes themselves lack enough bite to suit the mass and payload. Coming up to red lights or stop signs, it felt as if the Trailblazer wasn’t being hauled up as rapidly and confidently as it possibly could do.

Economy came in at 8.6L/100km from the 76-litre tank.

2018 Holden Trailblazer front seats

What we like?

  • Five Hundred Newton Metres of torque
  • Plenty of interior room
  • LTZ has a good level of standard equipment

2018 Holden Trailblazer dash

What we don’t like?

  • Overall presence against competitors is lacking
  • Noise level from the engine
  • Lacks some features the competition offers

2018 Holden Trailblazer rear seats

The bottom line?

With the arrival of the seven-seat Acadia, it begs the question: where will the Trailblazer fit in the Holden SUV family. With a presence that’s average, a ride and handling package that’s above average yet not outstanding, there’s some work required to raise the Trailblazer to the levels found in its competition.

2018 Holden Trailblazer rear row seats

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Holden Trailblazer LTZ, priced from $53,990 driveaway
  • Looks - 6.5/10
  • Performance - 7.5/10
  • Safety - 8/10
  • Thirst - 8/10
  • Practicality - 8/10
  • Comfort - 7.5/10
  • Tech - 8/10
  • Value - 7.5/10

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