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Old 01-24-2007, 07:16 AM   #1
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2006 Chevy Trailblazer

The "Factory Photo" wouldn't cut it, becuase this vehicle is designed for what it looked likes here. Check my Rally America thread for details of the event.

2006 Chevy Trailblazer
Trim Level: "LS"
EPA Vehicle Class: Special Purpose Vehicle - S.U.V. - 4WD
Engine: DOHC 4.2L, Inline-6 rated at 291 Horsepower / 277 lb-ft torque
Transmission: 4-Speed Automatic with Torque Lockup Converter
EPA Mileage Estimates (City/Highway/Combined Cycle): 15/21/18
Test Loop: 90% City, 10% Highway
Max Cruise Speed = 75 mph
Weather Conditions over 4-days: Cold turning warmer: 40-70F
Driving Style: Average
Location Test: Kansas City to Rural Missouri and Back (Rally-America Medic Vehicle -- stage mileage not recorded due to excessive idling and racing the stages -- only the commute from KC to Salem, MO and the return trip to the airport)
Vehicle Average Speed = 60 mph (approximated) for both tanks.
2 Tank Calculated MPG = 17.1 MPG

Conclusion: Due to the highway speeds of 70-80 max, I can understand a reduction in MPG (and the hilly terrain on 20% of the trip). Honestly, I didn't expect good mileage, but it was nearly on par with estimates. But really, you don't buy this vehicle for gas mileage.

Editor's Notes: The transit miles of about 300 miles from home to the hotel near the Rally (and back), were mostly highway, but the grunt work of this vehicle was on back-roads and truly off-road. Breaking tradition, the base engine is actually a good one for GM -- a DOHC engine, and an Inline-6? Yes, indeed -- the "Vortec" did perform well as the base engine. The powerplant revved happily to the redline and didn't disappoint. Low-end torque actually was pretty good, but due to the same old 4-speed automatic that GM just can't give up, this tranny couldn't decide what gear to say in, and tended to run a little low on the tach during cruise. This exact vehicle was also rented on the Big Island of Hawaii, and climbed up the 13,000 foot Mauna Kea and only stalled once. The rest of the time, the steering was numb and what gear should it be in??? 3rd or 4th? Up hills, if it had "Hill Logic Control" it would be better, but it keeps hunting. Shifting back and forth. But, off-road, low-range 4WD did an excellent job in both applications on the mainland and in Hawaii. Riding the brake was inevitable as it seemed like this vehicle just wanted to keep coasting -- perhaps a compression issue at low RPMs. I found myself shifting down to "3" just to keep the brakes from overheating on several occasions. The passenger seat was noted to be very uncomfortable, but the 8-way power driver's seat with adjustable lumbar was very supportive. There was no shortage of power points and storage. The vehicle was very feature-laiden and did the following well...

Now for the reason this vehicle was designed. Off-road, the 4WD was flawless and would climb out of a ditch or take a dirt road at speed. 4-Low would pull hard, but the power resides high in the rev-band, so significant throttle was required. It would pull vehicles out of low-traction situations without skipping a beat. I actually took one Rally stage at maximum speed -- call me crazy, but with "Stabilitrak" it was nearly impossible to get into trouble. The brakes automatically took care of any skid or roll-potential, and fixed the impending doom. I ended up coming in ahead of the last 6 cars in the rally on one stage! (It was the Medic's responsibility to clear the stage after the last car - at whatever speed you choose). The engine revved happily to the redline, and got up to 80 mph on backroads. The brakes were good, and stability control was a life-saver. Cargo space held all the medical equipment a modern field ambulance would require, and parked in the brush over large rocks without bottoming out.

Bottom line: On-road manners are marginal with numb steering and transmission indecision, but if you do any off-roading, then this vehicle will not disappoint. Unfortunately most buyers of this vehicle, 99% of the time, will tow nothing, won't even drive on gravel roads, or even do any true "off-roading". It's an SUV, and in this editor's opinion, it should be used for SUV things and not status. If you want/need space, get a minivan or car-based cross-over. Expect crappy mileage at any location, but it'll go a variety of places, including the mall! Of course, reliability isn't a strong point.


...and sorry to the rental agency for the torture to the vehicle :-)
rh77 is offline   Reply With Quote

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