Read Josh Needs’ 2019 Holden Trailblazer LTZ Review with Price, Specs, Performance, Ride and Handling On- and Off-Road, Towing, Practicality, Safety and Verdict.
2019 Holden Trailblazer LTZ Specifications
Pricing $52,490+ORC Warranty five years, unlimited kilometres Service Intervals 12,000km/12 months Safety 5 star ANCAP (2016) Engine 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel Power 147kW at 3600rpm Torque 500Nm at 2000-2200rpm Transmission six-speed automatic Drive part-time four-wheel drive Dimensions 4887mm (L); 1902mm (W); 1846mm (H) Turning Circle 12m Ground Clearance 218mm Wading Depth 600mm Angles 28-degrees approach, 25-degrees departure, and 22-degrees breakover Towing capacity 750/3000kg Payload 617kg Spare Full size Fuel Tank 76L Thirst 8.6/100km (combined)
The Holden Trailblazer is an essential piece of Holden’s SUV puzzle. Trying to reinvent itself following the death of local manufacturing, it has blitzed TV and print advertising with its SUV range, the Equinox, Acadia, Colorado and Trailblazer. That said, the big Holden off-roader hasn’t found favour in Australia, outsold by the segment-sales-leading Isuzu MU-X by around three to one. Indeed, look at sales, and the Trailblazer is a perennial wooden spoon holder. Why? We’ve got the Trailblazer LTZ which sits in the middle of the line-up to find out whether it should be on your shopping list.
What’s the price and what do you get?
The Trailblazer LTZ is priced at $52,990 drive-away, with seven-years scheduled servicing as well as a five-year unlimited-kilometre warranty. The entry-level LT is priced at $46,990 drive-away while the Z71 retails at $54,490 drive-away. Standard equipment on the LTZ includes, leather trim, heated front seats, an eight-inch colour touchscreen with native sat-nav and Apple Carplay/Android Auto, climate control, roof rails, LED DRLs, LED taillights, heated- and power-folding exterior mirrors, remote window operation via the key fob which is great for cooling the thing on a hot day, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The segment-leading Isuzu MU-X mid-spec LS-U lists from $52,600+ORCs with a six-year warranty along with seven-years capped price servicing, one-upping the Trailblazer. Whereas the Ford Everest Trend 3.2L, the mid-specification model is priced at $59,990+ORCs.
What’s the performance like?
The Trailblazer boasts some of the best performance figures in the segment, bettered only by the Ford Everest’s 2.0L bi-turbo engine. The Trailblazer’s 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel Duramax engine makes 147kW at 3600rpm and 500Nm of torque at 2000rpm. This is mated to a six-speed automatic, and fuel consumption is a claimed combined 8.6L/100km, but if our week-long test is anything to go by, you’ll see figures closer to 11L/100km when driving around town or towing a trailer.
The six-speed automatic might seem a little off the pace compared with some rivals, but it’s well suited to the engine and does its best to get the most from the motor. That said, the transmission does run to top gear as fast as possible (and will try and hold there too) in the name of fuel efficiency (and reliance on the Trailblazer’s lowdown torque), so it can feel a little clumsy when being driven in undulating terrain, or when coasting along on partial throttle. Those who tow will appreciate the strong engine braking, with the transmission thumping hard into lower gears to maintain the set speed.
Can you fit a second battery under the bonnet? Yes, there’s technically room to do it, although you’ll have to reposition a computer to do it, so, no, we wouldn’t recommend it at all. Instead, look at locating your second battery in the boot in an aftermarket box.
Can you tow with it?
The Holden Trailblazer has a maximum braked towing capacity of 3000kg and a towball download of 300kg. But, let’s do some math — kerb weight measures 2203kg which includes a 75kg driver and a full tank of fuel. The Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) which is the heaviest the vehicle can weigh is 2820kg; subtract the kerb weight from the GVM and you’re left with a payload of 617kg. Let’s keep going. The Gross Combined Mass (GCM) is 5700kg, which is the combined weight of trailer and vehicle and everything in it. If you’re wanting to tow a trailer weighing 3000kg then the heaviest your vehicle can weigh is 2700kg but, out of that you’ve got to subtract the towball weight, and we’ll assume that it’s 10% of the trailer, meaning 300kg. That will leave you with a payload of just 197kg. So, realistically, when towing with the Trailblazer you’re best off looking at trailers weighing around 2000kg.
In the week we were testing the Trailblazer, we were lucky enough to have a caravan at the office. Weighing in at 2340kg (empty) we found some balance issues between the vehicle and trailer and, once we hit 80km/h the trailer began swaying. We ended up filling the caravan’s front-mounted water tank and this settled things down and the Trailblazer towed the caravan without issue. That said, the Trailblazer’s rear suspension sagged under load, lifting the front and reducing steering control. With the caravan attached, the rear ride height measured 874mm and the front 918mm, without it the measurement was, 911mm on the rear and 905mm at the front. If you were to purchase the Trailblazer as a tow vehicle, a rear suspension upgrade would be worth considering.
What’s it like to drive – On-road?
Unlike, say, the Ford Everest, you can feel the Trailblazer’s ute-based origins. While the leaf-spring rear end has been replaced with coils, it lacks the refinement and body control of the Everest. That’s not to say it’s uncomfortable and it feels better sorted than the Isuzu MU-X. The Trailblazer’s steering is a highlight, being nice and light at parking and around-town speeds but builds weight as speed increases. Unfortunately, the Trailblazer’s on-road refinement is let down by a lack of insulation with a lot of road, wind and tyre noise leaking into the cabin.
What’s it like to drive – off-road?
Leave the bitumen behind, and you can engage 4H on the move, via a rotary knob down by the gear shifter (2H, 4H and 4L). It’s disappointing to see the bulk of 4X4 wagons in this segment offering a basic 4X4 system which sees you running two-wheel drive everywhere except low-traction surfaces; so, you’ll need to remember to select 2H when you get back to the black stuff. Only the Ford Everest is permanent all-wheel drive while the Pajero Sport via Super Select II can be run in four-wheel drive on all surfaces.
The Trailblazer, once in 4H, handles dirt roads easily enough, but when the going gets slower and the terrain more challenging, you need to very careful to select the right line. See, the Trailblazer misses out on a rear differential lock (it gets a limited slip diff instead), has only 218mm of ground clearance (measured) and the large side steps are likely to get caught up on rocks.
What’s the interior like?
As mentioned, we tested the mid-spec LTZ and the interior is a real mixture of cheap-feeling plastics and functional equipment. Some of the controls aren’t as straightforward as they should be, like the digital information screen between the analogue dials on the instrument cluster which you cycle through via the indicator stalk rather than steering wheel controls.
The Trailblazer gets an eight-inch infotainment screen which looks and feels smaller than it is. That said, the screen is angled to protect it from glare, and you get native sat-nav as well as Apple and Android connectivity. The native infotainment system is relatively basic, missing out on the feature-rich system used in other Holden vehicles, like the Commodore, so, stick with smartphone mirroring. General controls, like active safety, 4×4, and HVAC are big, clearly labelled and easy to reach from the driver’s seat.
The basics are there with a practical-looking dash layout dominated by the infotainment screen and centre directional air vents, but it all feels cheap for a vehicle costing more than $55k.
The Trailblazer LTZ is sold as a seven-seater, although the third-row seats are too cramped for an adult to use with a lack of headroom the most significant issue. That said, the third-row seats are wide and there are roof-mounted air vents and cup holders with enough boot space behind them for some groceries.
The second-row seats tumble forward for access into the third-row, and there’s good head and legroom, but the issue is the shape of the seats. The seat base is mounted too low, and the base is too short while the backrest is too upright; it all feels like you’re sitting in the back of a pickup rather than a roomy 4X4 wagon. The middle seat in the second-row is a perch rather than a seat an adult could use. The two outboard seats offer ISOFIX mounts and there are three top tether anchor points on the backs of the seats.
Into the front, and the driver’s seat gets powered adjustment although the passenger’s seat only gets manual adjustment. Thanks to the side step, and grab handles, getting in and out of the front two rows is quite easy. As far as storage is concerned, there are cup holders near the centre console storage which is deep, there’s a glovebox and the door bins will hold a 500ml water bottle.
The boot with the third-row seats folded away offers 878 litres of space, which reduces to 235L with the third-row seats in use. The cargo blind can be stored under the boot floor, which means the loading height is higher than expected, and the tie-down points are too high up the side of the space. There’s a light and 12V outlet in the back which is handy for a fridge. The full-size spare is underslung, but you’ll need to raise the boot floor to get to the release mechanism.
What about ownership?
The Trailblazer offers a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty and seven-years capped-price servicing if you purchase the Holden Lifetime Service Guarantee. The service schedule is 12 months or 12,000km with a free one-month health check. Servicing costs range from $319 to $499.
What about safety?
The Holden Trailblazer has a five-star ANCAP rating which is based on a test back in 2016, so, if it was tested today, it would fail to meet that rating. See, the Trailblazer misses out on critical active safety features, like autonomous emergency braking although it does get forward collision warning which is, just that, a warning. Beyond that, there are seven airbags, stability and traction control systems, hill descent and hill-start assist, front and rear park assist, lane departure warning, tyre pressure monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and reversing camera.
So, what do we think?
The Trailblazer is a solid performer offering a strong engine, class-competitive towing, plenty of room inside and decent off-road ability. For the money, the Trailblazer LTZ is a good offering and it’s a real surprise it doesn’t sell in better numbers, especially given there are plenty of accessories out there to turn it into a decent family outback tourer.