For almost two years Chevrolet in the Philippines has been at a crossroads. The closure of GM's factory in Thailand meant the discontinuation of two of their volume sellers: the Colorado pick-up and the Trailblazer SUV. Just a few years prior in 2015, GM closed down the factory in Indonesia that made the small Spin multi-purpose vehicle for our market.
So Chevrolet Philippines had to pivot, and it seems that's in full swing this year. A few months ago, they launched the little Tracker crossover to challenge the Geely Coolray, Volkswagen T-Cross, and other small quasi SUVs. Now they're about to follow it up with another one, as they're reviving the Trailblazer nameplate... but as a small crossover SUV as well to slot just above the Tracker.
This will be the latest major “realignment” of the Chevrolet Trailblazer nameplate. They did it once before when they used the model name for the PPV that was based on the Colorado; prior to that, it was a larger midsize American SUV that was a competitor to the likes of the Ford Explorer. At 4.4 meters, that means it will be a rival to the Toyota Corolla Cross, the Honda HR-V, Kia Seltos, and the Ford Territory.
Trailblazer RS model shown
We published yesterday that it will not be a vehicle built by SAIC-GM in China, but will instead be built by GM Korea. That, however, raised some questions in our team, particularly with pricing. What are the variants and how much will they be? Will the Trailblazer be competitive?
Now, we can report the pricing. According to contacts in the business, these are the two grades and prices that will be offered by The Covenant Car Company, Inc. (TCCCI), the distributor of Chevrolet in the Philippines:
2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer LT - PHP 1,488,888
2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer Premier - PHP 1,621,888
If you're familiar with the pricing of rivals in the segment, then the Trailblazer seems to be on the higher side of the spectrum. Despite the presence of a free trade framework with South Korea, vehicles imported from there tend to be pricier than direct competitors from Thailand or China. Sometimes distributors getting vehicles from South Korea will price them competitively, but with a shorter list of specifications and features to compensate.
Trailblazer RS interior shown
While Chevrolet Philippines hasn't released any specifications yet, we can make a few reasonable guesses based on the grades and prices. The first thing is the absence of two higher-grade models: the Activ and the RS. In South Korea, the Trailblazer has 5 grades: LS, LT, Premier, Activ, and RS. The absence of Activ and RS means there will likely be no option for a two-tone look with a white roof (Activ) or a black roof (RS). Unless Chevrolet Philippines made a special request for two-tone for their customers, the possible color options are white, black, red, blue, and black. We're also expecting it to come with 17-inch wheels and an all-black interior.
We can be quite certain of the engine because the GM Korea model has a sole engine option: a 1.3-liter (1341cc) E-Turbo engine. It's a twin-cam GDI 3-cylinder engine that could be making 156 PS and 236 Nm of torque; they may change the tuning for other markets depending on the emissions rules in effect.
The part that is unclear is the transmission and driveline. We can be sure that the LT will have the LT40 CVT and front-wheel drive, but it is possible (albeit unlikely) that given the big price gap to the Premier that it could have the 9-speed automatic with selectable all-wheel drive. The Korea-market Premier does come in both CVT FWD and 9-AT AWD. We'll have to wait a few days to confirm.
As for features, it's difficult to be definitive but we can say that the high-grade Korea-market versions of the Trailblazer include a touch screen audio system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, a dual-zone climate control system, a heads up display, adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, and other advanced safety features. There could also be features such as the panoramic glass roof that Chevrolet calls Skyfull (Hello, 007) and even active noise canceling. Again, we'll have to wait a few days to find out more.
What do you think about Chevrolet's pricing and variants for the Philippines? Should they offer the RS and Activ? Should they have sourced from SAIC-GM if the pricing was lower? Let us know in the comments.