What we have for you today are spy shots of a rather curious prototype. It’s the international-market Chevrolet Trailblazer. No, not the all-new Trailblazer small crossover that recently made its debut as a replacement to the Chevrolet Trax, but rather the midsize, body-on-frame Trailblazer currently sold in select markets across Southeast Asia and Latin America.
Caught undergoing testing in Spain, the Chevrolet Trailblazer prototype seen here is wearing some light camouflage on the front end. It also has all badging taped off. A strange exhaust tip sits out back. Other than that, this here Trailblazer SUV does not feature any other changes. All that leads us to believe that this is a powertrain development mule for a next-generation baby Duramax engine family, and that there is perhaps a slight front facia refresh hiding underneath the camo.
Here’s our reasoning. Outside of GM’s large-displacement Duramax diesel engines like the 6.6L L5P and L5D, all GM diesel engine development is performed at the automaker’s Italian development facility in Turin. And, as luck would have it, the Trailblazer is currently offered with the 2.8L XLD28 Duramax engine, which derives the 2.8L LWN four-cylinder Duramax diesel offered for the North American-market Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickup trucks. Powertrain development mule for the win!
Now, some other publications (we won’t name names) have reported that this is a mule for the next-generation Trailblazer, that there is an all-new platform underneath this prototype, and that all that somehow means that GM is planning to bring the next-generation Trailblazer as a body-on-frame SUV offering to North America. No… no… and no!
Having spoken to various sources familiar with future GM product plans, we can say with a high amount of certainty that this is not the case. In fact, absolutely nothing about this Chevrolet Trailblazer prototype suggests that it is a platform development mule: there are no changes in wheelbase, track, or body – all things that typically get modified (or rather, chopped up) during mule development stages. Heck, even the interior appears to be untouched, and the nameplate and badging is present and accounted for – things that are typically the first to be removed from mules.
So strike that ludicrous theory right off your list. Though these spy shots are interesting, they most certainly do not represent the next-generation Chevrolet Trailblazer. In fact, we would even go so far as to question the notion that the body-on-frame Trailblazer midsize SUV will live on to see another generation after the current model reaches end-of-life status. After all, the three-row Chevrolet Blazer crossover – previewed by the Chevy FNR-CarryAll Concept (pictured below) – seems a very nice replacement for that model.