Higher trails with Holden’s revamped SUV

More than a name change – that’s the promise from Holden in respect to the Trailblazer, an incoming update of a familiar fare.


Urban cowboys will have closer connect with Holden’s largest sports utility when it adopts an all-American monicker later this year.

That seems the tenor of the view expressed by Ed Finn, General Manager Corporate Affairs at GM Holden New Zealand, in response to Melbourne head office having now confirmed it will adopt the global Trailblazer moniker for the replacement for the Colorado 7 full-size sports utility vehicle.

The announcement confirms Motoring Network’s report on April 29 that the facelifted version of the seven-seat heavy duty wagon will forgo a persona that arrived in 2012 in favour of a badge that already attaches to the same truck in its Chevrolet format and has a long history with the American marque.

How much more of a Stateside personality Colorado 7 will undertake has yet to be made clear by Holden here, but maybe that mightn’t be harmful with Kiwi interest in new Americana at a high thanks largely to an already established love affair with Jeep, Chrysler and, above all else, the new Ford Mustang.

Holden has not discussed whether it believes there is even potential that Trailblazer owners might start attaching Chevrolet badges to their vehicle, as some Commodore V8 owners already do, but the new name can only be beneficial in lifting the model’s sales and status.

“The introduction of the Trailblazer name marks an important differentiation in the Colorado range as it clearly sets the SUV model apart from the ute variants,” Finn commented.

“Utilising the name Trailblazer denotes a clear delineation between the models, creating a marked shift in positioning and is more in line with what customers have come to expect from an SUV,” he continued.

“We believe this change will be positively received, as it provides the model with a fresh focus and, for some customers, moves the vehicle into a different consideration set – that of being more SUV, rather than ute, orientated.”

The Trailblazer is due late year, about the same time as the updated Colorado one-tonner. Holden won’t say exactly when, but we believe September is about right. The current Colorado 7, and ute, is now on run-out is preparation for the switch.

The Trailblazer uptakes styling elements from the Chevrolet Trailblazer Premier show car designed by GM Australia Design's studios at Fisherman’s Bend, Port Melbourne, and revealed at the Bangkok motor show in March.

While pricing and specification are yet to be revealed, Holden looks set to take the Trailblazer further upmarket from the Colorado 7 LTZ, which while having shown itself to be tougher off-road than some has also been found to be more rudimentary than many, a position that has probably cost it sales.

Last year the vehicle grabbed 428 registrations and now it is facing three new competitors in the Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and Ford Everest. Also contesting for business are the highly-related Isuzu MU-X.

The show oncept had a much more uomarket cabin than the current Colorado’s. Holden-provided photographs shown today suggest the production equivalent’s interior has been updated and improved, with less utilitarian materials, a new dash and instrument cluster design, mirroring the ute, as well as more connectivity tech including an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

Holden says there will be premium materials and contrasting stitching throughout the cabin, lending a more high-end feel than its predecessor.

The brand says the high-riding wagon will retain its off-road ability, but it will also be more refined, thanks to a focus on reducing noise, vibration and harshness levels and ride isolation for a more comfortable cabin.

Exterior design-wise, it features signature LED daytime running lights, chrome accents and a “sophisticated” colour palette.

Holden has not provided detail of what else will come here, but Finn has promised change is in the air.

“Trailblazer will introduce more refinement and comfort to the SUV model and as such is deserving of a new name to mark this new direction into an even more desirable space.”

Holden is yet to confirm if the Trailblazer will get the same active safety features – lane-departure warning, blind-spot warning – as the Brazilian version.

Holden Australia has also said in a releases that the model has a “more sophisticated design, increased content and refined ride comfort” and that the Trailblazer “will be a significantly different vehicle to its Colorado 7 predecessor, catering for different customers and needs”.

GM Holden executive director of marketing Geraldine Davys said the company listened to customer feedback when developing the Trailblazer and in determining its name.

“With the redesigned 2017 Trailblazer, we have dialled up the luxury and ride comfort to offer a more premium SUV that’s comfortable and confident in urban areas, but remains just as capable for weekend adventures,” she said.

“The move to adopt the Trailblazer name emphasises the vehicle’s new direction into a more luxurious and premium space.”

Holden New Zealand managing director Kristian Aquilina says customer feedback and a change in vehicle design were important factors in the renaming.

“New Zealanders have a real affinity with this model and understandably we’re eager to build on this success and look forward to the introduction … later this year.”

The Brazilian version carries over the same 147kW/500Nm 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine that is fitted to Thai-built Australian-spec models, but the South American market also gets a 208kW V6 petrol engine. It is unclear if this will make it here.