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2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer

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2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer Review

Even with the handling and interior quality issues, it’s still one of the midsize SUV class leaders.

Reviewed by Automotive on


Chevrolet was looking to capture the midsize SUV market when it released the TrailBlazer in 2001. It was an impressive addition to the SUV market, boasting the most powerful engine out there. Since its inception, it proved itself as a real contender for one of the best SUVs on the market. There are a lot of new additions in the 2003 model year including new trim lines and a more power from the already market leading six-cylinder engine. Unfortunately, a loose suspension, funny steering, and lots of cheap interior materials that don’t do the price of the vehicle justice plague the TrailBlazer.

The Range

Body Style: midsize SUV
Engines: 4.2-liter six-cylinder, 5.3-liter V-8 engine
Transmissions: automatic transmission
Models: LS, LT, LTZ, EXT

What's New

The 2003 Chevrolet TrailBlazer introduces the North Face Edition trim package, which offers a lot of add-ons for those inclined to enjoy off-road driving. It also adds body-color cladding, special seats, mesh map pockets on the back of seats, rain-sensing wipers, lighting for the lift gate, storage cargo liner and heavy-duty floor mats to the LTZ or the EXT models. A new 5.3-liter, V-8 engine is offered on the EXT. A larger 22-gallon gas tank is available on the late fall 2003 models, as well as optional child seat anchors on the EXT models.


The 2003 Chevrolet TrailBlazer has two wheel base sizes. The five-passenger vehicle measures 113-inches while the seven-passenger measures 191.8-inches total. Body components are original, but buyers may notice the roof, tailgate and front doors from the Bravada or Envoy models. The base LS model comes equipped with 16-inch aluminum wheels, while the LT gets 16-inch sport wheels. The LTZ gets 17-inch aluminum wheels.


The 2003 Chevrolet TrailBlazer's comes in five- or seven-passenger models. There is plenty of room for the passengers, and the cargo area measures a whopping 80.1 cubic feet. The EXT version with seven-passenger capacity has an extra leg well for the third row seating and boasts 22 cubic feet of space behind the back seat for storage. Cargo space is increased to 100 cubic feet on the EXT versions. Much of the interior design is very simple and ergonomic. Controls are clearly marked and easy to use. Unfortunately, there is an ocean of plastic that makes the interior feel cheap and unreliable.

Performance & Handling

The 2003 Chevrolet TrailBlazer comes equipped with one of two engines. A 4.2-liter, six-cylinder engine is available, which is paired with a four-speed automatic transmission. A 5.3-liter, V-8 engine is also available that produces 290 horsepower. It is also paired with a four-speed automatic. All TrailBlazer models are available in two-wheel or all-wheel drive. An Autotrac Auto 4WD setting allows buyers to transfer power to all four wheels when weather or driving conditions change, making the TrailBlazer suitable for off-road driving. The big engines make the TrailBlazer a real thrill to drive. There is plenty of take-off power when the gas pedal is pressed down. Even the six-cylinder feels incredibly powerful. It produces 275 horsepower, not too much shy from the V-8, ensuring that even the steepest mountains feel like a molehill. The engine is fairly quiet, and the cabin is silent except when the engine is really being pushed. On the freeway, it has a smooth ride, almost car-like, except for the slow handling. While handling problems are common on midsize SUVs, the problems seem to be a bit exaggerated. Fast turns can feel very loose and sometimes scary, so take it easy. Even with these slight problems, it is a class leader in power, acceleration, and quiet ride quality.


The 2003 Chevrolet TrailBlazer receives a few new standard safety features that were only offered as optional items in previous years. All-disc anti-lock brakes, dual-stage deployed front air bags, and seat-mounted side airbags are all standard. The bumpers are lower to make the SUV a bit closer to the same height as a car in case of a collision, preventing serious injuries.

EPA Fuel Economy

Chevrolet TrailBlazer: 14/20 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Power six-cylinder
  • Great highway ride
  • Five- or seven-passenger models available
  • Available four-wheel drive

You Won't Like

  • Crappy interior plastics
  • Steering quality
  • Soft suspension
  • Poor gas mileage

Sum Up

Even with the handling and interior quality issues, it’s still one of the midsize SUV class leaders.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Honda Pilot
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  • Nissan Murano
  • Toyota 4Runner

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