The Chevrolet TrailBlazer hasn't seen a full redesign for many years, to the point that, from the outside, it now almost looks like a retro-styled vehicle from the SUV glory days of the early-to-mid 1990s. Rest assured, the TrailBlazer has undergone a number of minor updates through the years. Built on a frame typical of pickups and older SUVs, the 2009 TrailBlazer is good for towing and hauling. The mid-size SUV shares its platform with the Buick Rainier and GMC Envoy.
Available in LS, LT, and SS versions, the two base-model 2009 Chevy TrailBlazers are powered by a 4.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine producing 291 horsepower; an optional 5.3-liter V-8 is available. A four-speed automatic transmission comes standard and can be specified with either rear- or four-wheel drive. For passenger-hauling needs, the 4.2-liter engine is adequate, but not nearly as perky off the line as the V-8, which is recommended if you plan to tow. Low fuel economy is typical for these truck-based SUVs. The V-8 has Active Fuel Management to help improve fuel efficiency when coasting or cruising, so it's actually the same with either engine and rear-wheel drive, at 14 mpg city, 20 mpg highway.
The musclecarlike SS model is powered by a 6.0-liter, 395-horsepower V-8 engine. Other functional and cosmetic upgrades include a powerful transmission, a lowered suspension, 20-inch wheels, and heavy-duty brakes with larger 12.8-inch front discs. Like the other models, the 2009 Chevrolet TrailBlazer SS is available with rear- or all-wheel drive.
The TrailBlazer doesn't handle especially securely or confidently, and the ride is soft and a bit bouncy on rough surfaces. With doses of road and engine noise, an outdated instrument-panel design, and subpar materials, the TrailBlazer's interior isn't particularly attractive. The 2009 TrailBlazer's interior does feature seating for five, though there's no third-row seat.
New options on the 2009 Chevrolet TrailBlazer are few but include Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity. Returning options for 2009 include a power sunroof, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a Bose premium speaker system, and an AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD changer. Also on the options list: adjustable brake and accelerator pedals, leather seating surfaces with eight-way-power driver and passenger seats, and either factory- or dealer-installed running boards.
Standard on all 2009 TrailBlazers is GM's StabiliTrak stability control, as well as anti-lock brakes and side curtain airbags good for front and rear occupants. The 2009 Chevrolet TrailBlazer doesn't perform especially well in either crash-test program. In the federal government's frontal test, the TrailBlazer earns just three stars--the lowest score typically awarded--for driver protection and four stars for passenger protection. In the IIHS battery of tests, the TrailBlazer earns Acceptable ratings for frontal protection, Marginal for side protection (unusual for an SUV), and Poor for rear impact.
The Bottom Line:
Families can do much better with any of the more modern crossover SUV designs--including Chevy's own Traverse--but the 2009 Chevrolet TrailBlazer is still a good vehicle for towing purposes.