: trailblazer SS, need opinions



JimmyH
06-02-10, 01:14 PM
I am asking this here because, A) I can, B) because I know there are a few folks here who have, or have had, both a TBSS and a CTS-V.


Anyway, I have found quite a few in the area that seem like a good price. And I have to admit I am getting fond of the space you get in an SUV. And what the hell, half the people around here haul 90+ cubic feet of air, so why can't I?

Forget the obvious stuff; I know it's a truck, so it's not gonna handle like a V.
But how is the handling? Is it comparatively fun to drive? what kind of mileage on the highway, truly? 14mpg? 18? 23?

How is the drivetrain? Is it solid? Or did they shortcut it like the V1?

I am getting tired of the big Honda Milk Wagon. And I am sure the TBSS awd with AS tires should be a great year round vehicle.

tweeter81
06-02-10, 02:15 PM
I have both a V1 and a 2007 TBSS and I like them both.

First off, the TBSS is not nearly as fun to drive, or as fast, or engaging as the V, but it is a great all-around vehicle.

I use mine as a daily driver and it is especially useful in the snowy climates. I have the stock Goodyear Runflat AS tires on it, and I get around great in a very snowy, icy climate.

As for the performance, the tranny is very solid (it is the 4L60E found in the heavy duty half-ton Chevy/GMC trucks), but it shifts hard, isn't very responsive, and IMO isn't the best choice for this vehicle, but again, it is solid and does the job just fine. The throttle response sucks, but I am pretty sure that is the tranny's fault again. Keep in mind, most of these issues could be fixed with a simple cold air kit and tuned PCM. I just spend all my money on the V and there isn't any left over to spend on the TBSS. Just like with any vehicle, if you dropped about 2 grand into mods on one of these, your enjoyment of it would really go up.

Overall, I like the vehicle, even though I really wanted a Jeep SRT8, but could not even come close to justifying the $5000-$8000 price differential between comparable used versions of these SUVs. The bottom line in that argument is that the TBSS gives 90% of the performance, for about 75% of the cost of a used Jeep SRT8.

I don't want it to sound like I hate my TBSS, because that isn't true. So here are the great selling points:

1) A great value for the money
2) A lot of utility (bigger than the jeep inside, rear seats that completely fold down which makes a lot of usable space for bigger items or luggage)
3) Very comfortabe to take long trips in (even though the mileage is only 16-18 mpg on the highway)
4) Looks pretty good
5) Should hold its value better than regular Trailblazers or any other SUV for that matter
6) Lots of get up and go in the triple digits, it pulls hard on the top end!

I hope this helps. If you have any more questions, fire away.

JimmyH
06-02-10, 03:07 PM
16-18 on the highway?! That might be a deal breaker. I was getting 22 with the V, sometimes 24. I could live with 20. Any lower than that, no way. I commute 500 miles a week.

At the TBSS price point (I am looking at some with 30-40k miles for around $21-$22k) I can live with a poorly tuned transmission. It can't be any worse than the Pilot (a teenager with a stick shift could do better than the Pilot's computer).

As for the handling, I guess what I am asking, is the handling very good for an SUV?

tweeter81
06-02-10, 03:41 PM
16-18 on the highway?! That might be a deal breaker. I was getting 22 with the V, sometimes 24. I could live with 20. Any lower than that, no way. I commute 500 miles a week.

At the TBSS price point (I am looking at some with 30-40k miles for around $21-$22k) I can live with a poorly tuned transmission. It can't be any worse than the Pilot (a teenager with a stick shift could do better than the Pilot's computer).

As for the handling, I guess what I am asking, is the handling very good for an SUV?

Clarification: 16 mpg @ 82 MPH and 18 mpg @ 75 MPH and 20 mpg @ less than 70 MPH - I have heard that a tune can pick up 2-3 mpg on these vehicles, easily - but again, I am not sure, just what I heard.

Handling: I don't know for sure as I don't really push the TBSS, as that is what the V is for. I would say it handles better than any other SUV or truck that I have driven, but it would really depend on how hard you drive it. It understeers like a bastard with the stock rubber. I can't really even do a cookie with it because of the understeer, awd, and lack of power to spin the tires. As far as I can tell, the AWD can be turned down, but not off. The shocks/springs are pretty firm, the steering is crisper and heavier than my girlfriend's V6 Trailblazer, and the brakes are pretty good as well.

rangerrob
06-02-10, 03:42 PM
JimmyH, if you want a used SUV, buy my 99 Toyota 4Runner, it's all TRD, supercharged, headers, exhaust... i'd probably part with it for 7k... ps. 161k miles, lol, just an option :)

JimmyH
06-02-10, 03:46 PM
thanks, but there is something in my head that wont let me buy a Toyota :p

And I prefer to buy american when I can. I have been reading up a little on the SS. I watched motorweek's review of it back in 06, and they were very complimentary. And it seems like several folks on the TBSS forums get around 20 on the highway taking it easy. Which is what I have been doing the last few years anyway.

What is involved in changing the rear end? It seems a few guys have swapped the 4.10 rear to a 3.73 which really helps. And a PCM tune seems to net a few. So a tune and a 3.73 should bump the highway mpg about 4-5.

I am starting to get very interested.

Jon
06-02-10, 03:53 PM
I briefly looked at one before I got the Explorer... There was nothing appealing about the TBSS except for the motor. 4 speed auto, requires premium, the interior is garbage... Sure my Explorer is slower, but you're buying a DD, not a toy.

JimmyH
06-02-10, 04:28 PM
no offense, but I don't see anything impressive about the explorer interior. a guy I work with is on his 3rd explorer in the last 6 years. They all looked cheap to me. But I agree, the TB interior is rather cheap looking. Just like all other Chevys.

I just miss the rumble of a V8. I could go for another V. I really like the Camaro. but I am not paying $35k for one, and the used Camaros are holding their value right now.

UnsafeAtAnySpd
06-02-10, 04:29 PM
I would rather go with an SRT-8 Jeep. Although, this opinion is not based on first hand experience. I've neither driven or road in either. I think it looks better though. If they had the towing capacity that I would want, I would've looked into either though.

JimmyH
06-02-10, 04:31 PM
I already had a Cherokee. No way I am doing that again. granted, the 94 I had was a completely different animal...

I dont like them. And those low profile tires are worse than the SS.

tweeter81
06-02-10, 05:52 PM
I don't have a problem with my TBSS's interior. I think it looks pretty good in all black, with the small chrome touches around the cabin, and the "SS" embroidered in white on all four seats. Seats are very similar to the V's, in looks (ultra-suede inserts) and comfort (a very good thing).

As stated above, I think the SRT8 is cooler and much better looking, but not for the price premium. Also, its 2500 lb towing capacity is basically worthless, and the TBSS has a 6500 lb towing capacity which means I could easily tow my V on a small trailer with no problems. My TBSS also has a towing package directly from GM (not sure if that is standard on the 3SS package or not).

Another thing, I bought mine used with 6500 miles on it and now, two years later, it has 27000 miles on it and I have only had one problem (passenger window regulator broke, but was fixed promptly under warranty). Overall it is a very solid, squeak-free SUV, I would take it anywhere for any distance and not worry one bit. I also won't be worried when it goes out of warranty in another year.

JimmyH
06-02-10, 07:39 PM
thanks tweeter, you have been quite helpful. imaginary rep points to you.

ahahnu
06-02-10, 10:55 PM
I think they are pretty cool looking. Kinda street sleeper like the V. Subtle body mods, and V8 work for me.

JimmyH
06-03-10, 12:56 PM
There is a Chevy dealer on my way home. So I stopped by to look at one. And take it for drive. It was kinda meh. Though to be fair, my expectations might have been too high. The one they had was an 08 with only 23k so they wanted way too much for it. And it was tinted to the point of no rear visibility. It did not pull as hard as I thought it would. But it did feel very stable in the few turns I took. It was certainly superior to the Pilot in every way, though that is not saying much.

I will probably go look at another one. Go for another ride. One I can actually see out of maybe.

Zo6PwRd
06-04-10, 12:20 AM
Maybe I missed it but are you looking for an AWD on 2WD? I wouldnt want one if it werent the AWD but your gonna suffer greatly in the MPG department.

As for the jeeps, better looking, nicer interior, worst gas mileage known to man(ive heard as low at 9mpg city 12 hwy)........perfect vehicle= jeep srt8 with an LS2 IMO lol.

Notgrampas
06-04-10, 08:12 AM
I have not driven a Trailblazer SS, but I do have this observation. For such a big, heavy vehicle with a 390 hp (?) engine, it sure has teenie brakes.

JimmyH
06-04-10, 12:55 PM
I would not get one that is rwd. Seems pointless to me. I know awd adds weight and hurts economy, but the main reason to get one is the advantage in inclement weather. And the ruggedness over Chicagoland's crappy pavement.

The reviews I had read said good things about the brakes. They are not brembos, but they are larger dual piston calipers up front. According to motorweek, it stops short of 120 ft from 60 with no fade. That is quite impressive for a 4600lbs vehicle.

tweeter81
06-04-10, 01:22 PM
The brakes seem perfectly adequate to me. Not as good as the Jeep's Brembos, but I have never had any problems with them. But I don't beat the hell out of the vehicle either.

JimmyH
06-04-10, 01:39 PM
The SRT is aimed at a much higher performance level. I would not even consider one. And I have heard the ride is utterly punishing. And I don't want a car with such strict torque management software.
The SS is more utilitarian it seems. I found the ride quite pleasant. And once it finally downshifted, the power seemed very even and smooth. I have heard that is not the case with the SRT.

Junior1
06-04-10, 06:04 PM
What do you want to know Jimmy ??? I got em all...

CTS-V? *check* 2005 with 8,500 miles

TBSS? *check* Bought one of the last Silver AWD 3SS in the northeast. Silver/Black to match my V (keep in mind I also sold it with 1500 miles 8 weeks later)

Jeep SRT8? *check* Bought one the the last 2009's off the line in July of last year (to replace the TBSS)

JimmyH
06-04-10, 08:06 PM
So the srt is no more?
What about the 300 and charger?

Junior1
06-04-10, 10:34 PM
So the srt is no more?
What about the 300 and charger?

No the SRT is still around, 2009 was a screwy production year due to the bailouts.
The TBSS is no longer around, both in production and in my garage.
I actually had it listed here last year before it sold locally.

Jon
06-05-10, 02:40 AM
no offense, but I don't see anything impressive about the explorer interior. a guy I work with is on his 3rd explorer in the last 6 years. They all looked cheap to me. But I agree, the TB interior is rather cheap looking. Just like all other Chevys.

I just miss the rumble of a V8. I could go for another V. I really like the Camaro. but I am not paying $35k for one, and the used Camaros are holding their value right now.

Oh, the Explorer interior isn't luxurious by any means... It's just less crappy than the TBSS. Plus having Ford Sync is very nice.

JimmyH
06-08-10, 03:29 PM
Ford sync is very cool. I think that's the one thing the 11 Mustang has over the Camaro. GM really needs to update its ancient onstar system. And integrate it with the audio system. It's kind of silly that you have to pair one bluetooth device twice in the Camaro, once for handsfree with onstar, and again for streaming music with the radio.

I think I am past wanting a TBSS. My wife put it in perspective for me; it's kind of dumb to trade one suv in on another, certainly for someone like me who really despises suvs. It's nice to have something that can handle the crappy pavement well, but I would rather have a sport sedan or coupe.

Thanks for the input folks. I think I will just live with the Pilot until I am ready for something else.

tweeter81
06-08-10, 04:15 PM
Ford sync is very cool. I think that's the one thing the 11 Mustang has over the Camaro. GM really needs to update its ancient onstar system. And integrate it with the audio system. It's kind of silly that you have to pair one bluetooth device twice in the Camaro, once for handsfree with onstar, and again for streaming music with the radio.

I think I am past wanting a TBSS. My wife put it in perspective for me; it's kind of dumb to trade one suv in on another, certainly for someone like me who really despises suvs. It's nice to have something that can handle the crappy pavement well, but I would rather have a sport sedan or coupe.

Thanks for the input folks. I think I will just live with the Pilot until I am ready for something else.

I hear ya. Having had mine for just over 2 years, I just need to get it paid off then I will be looking to replace it with a 6.2 F-150 Raptor CrewCab (or whatever the 4-door is called). I get my fast car fix with the V, so my other winter beater really needs to be rugged and very versatile (which the TBSS is, kindof, but not as much as I would like).

JimmyH
06-08-10, 09:58 PM
That Raptor is getting alot of praise. Gotta give Ford credit for making a truck that is rugged, yet versatile. They say its road manners are very civilized. Still, unless you are planning some serious off-roading, there has to be better DDs than that. Seems a little pricey to me.

Lord Cadillac
06-08-10, 10:29 PM
I am asking this here because, A) I can, B) because I know there are a few folks here who have, or have had, both a TBSS and a CTS-V.


Anyway, I have found quite a few in the area that seem like a good price. And I have to admit I am getting fond of the space you get in an SUV. And what the hell, half the people around here haul 90+ cubic feet of air, so why can't I?

Forget the obvious stuff; I know it's a truck, so it's not gonna handle like a V.
But how is the handling? Is it comparatively fun to drive? what kind of mileage on the highway, truly? 14mpg? 18? 23?

How is the drivetrain? Is it solid? Or did they shortcut it like the V1?

I am getting tired of the big Honda Milk Wagon. And I am sure the TBSS awd with AS tires should be a great year round vehicle.
I know it's probably a little pricey right now but if you waited a couple of years, the Lincoln MKT would give you room, comfort and high performance - especially when modified. The ecoboost engines are getting some attention.

http://www.lincolnforums.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=6502

JimmyH
06-08-10, 11:36 PM
I am not hot about Lincolns, or Fords in general. And that Hennessey package has to be good for at least $5k, probably more. I will admit, Ford really has their ecoboost engines down right. But unless I find a TBSS at a steal, I think my SUV days end with the Pilot.