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Thread: 2007 Chevy Trailblazer SS

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    2007 Chevy Trailblazer SS


    Few really big things are graceful. Jackie Gleason managed it, despite his 300-plus pounds of curb weight. And so does the Chevy Trailblazer SS - despite being many times more bulky than Sheriff Buford T. Justice - and despite its truck-based, full-frame underpinnings.

    It also runs to 60 in 5.7 seconds - just half a second or so off the pace of the current Corvette. Like a Saturn V Moon rocket - which is also real heavy - the four-door, five-passenger Trailblazer SS overcomes mass with sheer thrust. Its 395 horsepower 6 liter LS2 V-8 gets all 4,500 lbs. moving with an athleticism comparable to performance cars that weigh a thousand pounds less - and which seat only two.

    It's quite a package - and could be just the ticket for the guy (or gal) whose situation or family responsibilities simply won't allow a Corvette - but which might allow a Corvette's drivetrain to sneak in under the radar - if it's hidden discretely under the soccer mom/family guy sheetmetal of what appears to be just another middle-of-the-road, mid-sized SUV.

    But don't let the bigness bamboozle you. Let it bamboozle the unsuspecting masses. Or the cops. Or maybe, your wife. I won't tell if you won't.

    For this is truly a Corvette in sheep's clothing - just roomier and able to pull your jet skis to the lake, if need be.

    The all-aluminum 6 liter V-8 that forms the heart of the Trailblazer SS is a virtual transplant from the '07 Corvette. Same displacement and layout - just downrated slightly (the Corvette's version of the LS2 V-8 is rated at an even 400 hp and 400 lbs.-ft. of torque). The slight power drop is due to different intakes (the Trailblazer uses a composite piece similar to the one used on other V-8 GM trucks that's designed to help build low-end torque) and probably also the different exhaust systems used. The Corvette has a dual outlet exhaust - while the Trailblazer's ends in a single large diameter pipe.

    But the 5 horsepower drop in rated output is negligible - and may even be just "on paper" fudging designed to leave the Corvette with its bragging rights intact. After all, the Trailblazer SS is only about half a second off the bumper of the 'Vette from zero to 60 (after which the Corvette's much-superior aerodynamics come into play and let it walk away from the SS - and just about everything else). Still, you have to wonder - well, marvel - at the fact that the SS almost matches the Corvette, 0-60, despite an alleged five horsepower deficit and despite a very real 1,000-plus-pound weight disparity.

    Another difference is the transmission backing up the LS2 in the SS. There is no six-speed (manual or automatic) as in the Corvette. The Trailblazer SS comes only with a four-speed automatic. But the beefed-up (heat-treated/heavy-duty internal parts) Hydra-Matic 4L70 is a fine companion for the LS2. Under full pedal, it shifts forcefully, running right up to the LS2's 6,500-plus RPM redline before swapping gears. If the SS weren't fitted with super sticky 20-inch tires, it would probably chirp rubber on the 1-2 upshift. And despite a standard 4.10 rear axle ratio, the transmission's overdrive gear keeps the engine turning at a pump-friendly 2,000-something RPM at 65-70 mph.

    This isn't an economy vehicle, of course. But given what it is - and what it's capable of - 15 city/19 highway's not too obnoxious. It's true the Corvette does better - but the Corvette doesn't seat five, either. Nor can it tow 6,600 pounds.

    Another thing the Corvette lacks is all-wheel-drive. In contrast, you can order a Trailblazer SS in either standard RWD form ($31,320) or select the optional all-wheel-drive version ($33,620) and enjoy the extra grip of a torque-sensing Torsen center differential. It modulates the flow of power to the front or rear axles in ratios that vary from the "normal" rear-biased split of 67 percent of total output reaching the rear wheels to a near 50-50 split, front-to-rear under hard acceleration or in low-traction situations. Hooligan types will probably be happier with the standard RWD version of the SS - because you can still do smoky burnouts by turning off the traction control, keeping your left foot on the brake while simultaneously increasing the pressure on the gas pedal until the force of the engine overcomes the holding power of the brakes. Juvenile? Sure. But still lots of fun - and let's face it, a big part of the attraction of a vehicle like the SS. Relive your high school days - and the glorious anti-social tendencies of your '69 SS 396 Chevelle.

    Only unlike your old Chevelle - and most latter-day SUVs, for that matter - the Trailblazer SS also handles. To get that done, the suspension was heavily modified over stock. Ride height was dropped by one inch to lower the vehicle's center of gravity (and nix that top-heavy feel that comes with most SUVs) with HD springs that are 25 percent stiffer than standard Trailblazer springs and larger-diameter stabilizer bars and HD shocks to further reduce body lean when cornering. The engine itself sits low in the frame, too - made possible in part by running the front differential's half-shafts (on AWD-equipped models) through the oil pan, rather than underneath it. Enormous 255VR-20 series tires anchor you to the pavement. They look nice, too.

    SS Trailblazers also get up-rated brakes to match the engine (unlike your old Chevelle - and more like the new Corvette. Up front, there are 12.8 inch rotors and HD calipers housing pads that use the same high-performance linings as found in the Corvette. An interesting option is a brake-cooling package designed for track or aggressive street driving. Chevy says the SS can haul down from 62 mph to a dead stop in just 135 feet. Your '69 SS would probably need twice that. No ABS or StabiliTrak electronic stability control to save your bacon, either. Both come standard with the Trailblazer SS - RWD or AWD.

    Driving-wise, the SS is hard to fault. It runs and handles like a thoroughbred - and can honestly be compared with any number of high-performance two-seaters (and two-plus-twos) that are much less practical and far less "wife friendly."

    Only the not-so-great interior detracts from the overall package. Unlike the very latest GM models (for example, the new GMC Acadia or the Buick Enclave) the Trailblazer (which is an older design that's been on the market more or less unchanged for a few years now) has a dashpad that's both weirdly shaped and which has the look of a '70s mobster's bad pompadour rendered in extruded hard plastic. The dash facing and console cover are similarly cheap-looking and the various gaps between trim covers and so on are too obvious - and too big. Everything's easy to reach - and to use. It isn't uncomfortable - in fact, the opposite; the seats are great and there are thoughtful features such as the control button for the adjustable pedals, which is conveniently mounted on the left side of the steering column. It's just not as attractive - as "finished-looking" as it could have been - and should have been. GM has finally realized this - and its latest/newest models are as first-class on the inside as they are under the hood.

    On the other hand, there are few vehicles - SUVs or not - that can deliver the trifecta of brutal acceleration, high-performance handling and day-to-day practicality that the Trailblazer SS can. And the only other way to get the Corvette's LS2 for less would be to buy one over the counter from Mr. Goodwrench.

    END

  2. #2
    AlmostFamous
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    Re: 2007 Chevy Trailblazer SS

    While the Trailblazer SS is inferior to the Cherokee SRT8, it is a very great value. You can easily pick one up for less than $30k brand new. Not only that, they are fast for a SUV/Truck. You'll be able to hit 14 flat in the 1/4 mile stock. Just a couple mods like headers, exhaust, and a torque converter will get you very close to running high 12's. Not that bad for a family hauler.

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2007 Chevy Trailblazer SS

    Quote Originally Posted by AlmostFamous
    While the Trailblazer SS is inferior to the Cherokee SRT8, it is a very great value. You can easily pick one up for less than $30k brand new. Not only that, they are fast for a SUV/Truck. You'll be able to hit 14 flat in the 1/4 mile stock. Just a couple mods like headers, exhaust, and a torque converter will get you very close to running high 12's. Not that bad for a family hauler.
    I agree; the thing pulls very hard, stone stock. A 5.7 0-60 time is impressive for a muscle car (it's a better time than an '80s-era Corvette, Mustang 5.0 or IROC-Z Camaro) and phenomenal for a vehicle that weighs 4,500 pounds... empty. With a couple of people on board, this is a 5,000 pound machine.

    Probably the simplest way to make it absolutely smoking fast would be to install a Vortech or equivalent supercharger; that would get the output in the 450-475 hp neighborhood -

    Welcome to the site, by the way!

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