2006 Chevrolet TrailBlazer SS
Every real Chevy fan knows that SS stands for Super Sport, and that it indicates a serious boost in performance. Now the latest from the bow tie brigade to wear the SS badge is the 2006 TrailBlazer SS. It’s already a very competent mid-size family SUV, so let’s see how two extra S’s stir up the mix.
The Chevrolet Super Sport formula is a simple one. Just add more horsepower, sharpen the handling, and spice up the styling, and you’ve got an exciting new variation of a proven model. And designers have followed that formula to the letter with the 2006 TrailBlazer SS. This more muscular version of Chevy’s big volume mid-size SUV is the first utility to emerge from GM’s super tuning Performance Division.
as they have done with SS cars, the Performance Division staff immediately stuffed more motor under the TrailBlazer’s hood. In this case, it’s a 6.0-liter pushrod V8 derived from the current Corvette LS2 engine. In Trailblazer trim it delivers 395 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque.
Set low in the chassis to improve balance, the LS2 V8 drives either a rear or all-wheel-drive system through a new high-torque 4-speed automatic transmission with unique T-gear shift. We punched the pedal in our all-wheel-drive tester and saw a best 0 to 60 time of 5.8-seconds. The quarter mile passes in 14.3 seconds at 97 miles-per-hour. That’s almost 2-seconds quicker to 60 and over a second faster through the quarter than the standard TrailBlazer.
As expected, big power hits hard right off idle with minimal wheel spin. First and second gears fly by, but power dips a bit going into third and then flattens out for the rest of the run.
Handling comes courtesy of 25% stiffer springs and a 10% larger front stabilizer bar on a one-inch lowered suspension. Stabilitrak electronic stability control is standard and of great help. Gripping the pavement are low-profile 255/50 series tires on polished 20-inch alloy wheels. Coupled with quick hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering, the TrailBlazer SS responds like no truck we have driven before. Front end feedback is great with only mild push, but substantial body roll does remind you that this is a heavy truck. Still, side-to-side transitions remain tight as all-wheel-drive ensures plenty of grip at both ends.
Braking delivers a similar stellar performance. Stops from 60 average a very good 119 feet, thanks to larger 12.8-inch front disc brakes with twin-piston calipers, and specially tuned ABS. Stability is high, but a soft pedal and plenty of nose dive again lets you know that this is no lightweight.
All in all it’s a very sporty ride, but one that you pay for at the pump. The TrailBlazer SS carries EPA mileage estimates of 14 city/17 highway. Our mixed test loop delivered only 13 miles-per-gallon. Driving that loop also displayed quick throttle response, smooth acceleration with a nice rumbling engine note, and a solid but rarely harsh ride.
Our all-wheel-drive model’s towing capacity maxes out at a healthy 6,700 pounds, and payload at 1,449 pounds. That payload includes up to five people in two rows of true adult comfort. All in a racy cockpit that includes an SS signature instrument cluster with a silver face tachometer.
Tight fitting “winged” sport seats with embroidered SS logos are also standard, as is a special leather wrapped steering wheel. Options range from power adjustable pedals, to a premium Bose sound system with a 6-disc CD changer and XM satellite radio, to a GPS navigation system and kid-pleasing rear seat DVD entertainment system. Curtain airbags are also optional and highly recommended. While the spacious rear cabin and 43.7 cubic-foot cargo area gives the SS utility that the average muscle car owner can only dream of.
Finally, it’s all wrapped in aggressive muscle-truck bodywork with a monochrome grille and pavement-hugging front fascia. The combination of deeply tinted windows, body colored trim, lowered suspension, gives the SS a menacing profile. While from the rear the chrome exhaust tip makes it clear that this TrailBlazer is on fire.
Now, parking some TrailBlazer SS fire power in your garage will cost you $31,255 for the 2-wheel-drive model, or $33,505 for all-wheel-drive. Our fully loaded all-wheel-drive TrailBlazer SS priced out at a serious $40,305. But that serious money does net you some serious performance.
The 2006 TrailBlazer SS is yet another example of how well Chevrolet’s Super Sport system works. Pump up the power, sharpen the handling, and spice up the styling, and you’ve got the formula for maxed-out SUV fun.
- Engine: 6.0-Liter Pushrod V8
- Horsepower: 395
- Torque: 400 Lb Feet
- 0-60 MPH: 5.8 Seconds
- 1/4 Mile: 14.3 Seconds @ 97 MPH
- 60-0 MPH: 119 Feet
- EPA: 14 MPG City/ 17 MPG Highway
- Mixed Loop: 13 MPG