2018 Holden Trailblazer Z71 Review - The Other Z71


Like Aussies who followed our trend, Kiwis are big ute buyers. But what if a ute doesn’t quite suit?

Words: Peter Louisson   |   Photos Tom Gasnier
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Anything relegated to the tray is hardly secure if you leave the vehicle parked up for a time. Nor is it weatherproof unless you add some form of hard lid, around $2500 (do they ever close and lock easily?), or a canopy and then you’re looking at about $4000 extra.

Even then the load area isn’t going to be ideal for fragile goods, and unladen the suspension is hardly pampering. If you really need the load lugging/towing and off-road ability of a ute, the alternative is an SUV based on a ute, of which there are plenty, like this one, the Trailblazer Z71.

The alphanumerical, by the by, derives from a Chevy factory code for an offroad suspension package.

It is one of the only examples from this group that gets to 100km/h in single figures (9.2sec).

Anyhow, the Z71 is essentially the same (mechanicals and spec) as the top-rung LTZ Trailblazer, only it adds funky visual cues like black alloy wheels, black body side and beltline mouldings, black mirror caps and door handles, and black bonnet decals and headrests.

So it’s a dress-up special that costs $2k more than the LTZ edition ($65k vs $63k; we do the math for you). It can be had in white, black, red or grey. Ours was white which contrasted nicely with the theme of extra black.

We drove the LTZ a couple of years ago and quite liked most aspects of this vehicle, including its performance, as it is comfortably the quickest of this generally heavy bunch.

Helping is 500Nm of diesel punch peaking at 2000rpm. It is one of the only examples from this group that gets to 100km/h in single figures (9.2sec). That doesn’t exactly make it a hellcat on road, as its 7.0sec 80-120 time attests. Figure on fuel use around the 9.2L/100km mark.

Back then we drove it in the dry but this time we hit only wet roads. On the dual purpose rubber, Bridgestone Dueler H/Ts, the grip in the dry quickly goes down the gurgler when the road’s slick.

However, fear not because the Trailblazer has switchable 4WD and then it’s much less squirmy, though manufacturers don’t recommend prolonged use on sealed roads.

Peugeot 508 GT

It’s not idiot-proof mind, so you still need to take due care. The same’s true when pulling away from wet intersections - gas it overly and the Trailblazer can become a bit tail happy thanks to it having a proper LSD, though the TC/ESP reins it all in. Unless you’ve turned it off for some reason, and then it’s five-star safety rating might come in handy.

Otherwise, it’s as before, amongst the best value in its sector, and with decent ride quality improvement over Colorado thanks to its coil sprung rear. The Z71 looks better than the LTZ too.

There’s one ‘however’ here. On the Holden website it says you can buy the Z71 Colorado at present for around $55k, so if you add the canopy that’s still under $60k.

But the TB rides better, has seven seats and with full split folding can take from 878-1830L of gear, loaded to the roof (554-1043L to the window line).

Either way, you get Holden’s Complete Care three-year/100,000km warranty which includes free scheduled servicing.

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