History of the Trailblazer SS

History of the Trailblazer SS


Chevy Trailblazer SS History

The Chevy Trailblazer was a four-door midsize SUV that ran from the 2006 through 2009 model years. Although the standard Trailblazer was a popular family SUV that mostly competed with the Ford Explorer, GM decided to do something a little different with it during that time. As a sturdy body-on-frame SUV, the Trailblazer was well-equipped to hold a powerful V8 engine, and GM did exactly that by debuting the Trailblazer SS in 2006.

It wasn't unusual for GM to go this route with an SUV. The automaker had already made some high-performance SUVs in the past, including the GMC Typhoon. The Typhoon featured a turbocharged V6 engine and was one of the fastest vehicles available between 1991 and 1993. GM only made 5000 units of this speedy SUV.

However, when the Trailblazer SS debuted, it was given a Corvette engine. Eventually, the Chevy Trailblazer SS would compete with Jeep and the Grand Cherokee SRT8, which was specifically made by Jeep to outrun the Trailblazer. Ultimately, the experiment didn't last long. Only about 26,000 models of the Trailblazer SS were ever made.

Back in the 2000s, Chevy seemed determined to make SS (Super Sport) trims for every one of its models, whether they were originally sporty or not. The Trailblazer was one in a long line of other SS models like the Cobalt, Malibu and Impala. Its main claim to fame was that it was an unassuming family SUV with "Corvette power" when fast SUVs were most assuredly not the norm.

2006 - 2009 Trailblazer SS: Evolution and Changes

The 2006 Chevy Trailblazer SS had several marked differences from the standard Trailblazer. The most obvious one was the 6.0-liter LS2 V8 engine from the C6 Corvette. This engine offered 395 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. However, the Trailblazer featured a more restrictive exhaust than the Corvette as well as a taller intake manifold to make better use of the torque in a much heavier vehicle. The Trailblazer's suspension was also constructed to be much stiffer and was lowered with the addition of a rear air-leveling system. Handling was much improved with standard 20-inch wheels and 10-inch wide tires. The SS Trailblazer came with a 4.10 differential to improve fast acceleration from a stop.

In terms of appearance, the Trailblazer SS was given a chromed mesh grille on the lower front bumper and standard tinted windows. This gave it an aggressive, sporty look that matched its speed. Inside, drivers were treated to a few extra niceties like a six-CD changer, satellite radio, ceiling-mounted DVD player, and a navigation system. The top speed for the Trailblazer SS was recorded at 149 mph, and it could accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 5.5 seconds. Both RWD and AWD configurations were available for the Trailblazer SS.

You might imagine that a high-performance SUV with a Corvette engine would retail for a pretty hefty price, but the Trailblazer SS wasn't particularly expensive as a new vehicle. The MSRP started around $32,000 back in 2006. Currently, the Trailblazer SS is a rare find in good condition with low mileage, so you can expect to pay between $10,000 and $20,000 for a used one.

As the Trailblazer was only available for a short time, there were no significant changes made from model year to model year aside from various details on the interior and some different tech options. It never received the Corvette LS3 engine that came out for the 2008 model year. However, this is a popular swap for those lucky enough to snag a used SS Trailblazer. Another popular swap is a supercharged V8 engine of varying types.

Chevy SS Trailblazer Fast Facts

  • The SS Trailblazer was capable of towing 6,600 pounds when properly equipped
  • AWD was optional on the Trailblazer SS but standard on the identical Saab 9-7X Aero
  • Fuel economy on the Trailblazer SS was unsurprisingly low at 12 MPG in the city and 16 MPG on the highway
  • SS badging on the Trailblazer was largely subtle and found on the sides, rear, and the interior
  • The first 2006 model had five more horsepower than the outgoing 2009 model
  • Springs on the Trailblazer SS were 25% stiffer than standard models
  • The stabilizer bar on the Trailblazer SS was 10% thicker than the standard models

Legacy of the SS Trailblazer

The legacy of the SS Trailblazer was a fairly short one. It was made in a period where GM had a penchant for stuffing V8 engines into otherwise average vehicles. Only around 26,000 models were made between 2006 and 2009. Most sales came in the first two model years, with 9,361 sold in 2006 and 10,726 sold in 2007. In 2008, this dropped way down to 5,744, and 2009 was even smaller at a mere 610 vehicles sold. For each year, more AWD versions were sold vs. 2WD, so if you're looking for one on the used market, you have a good chance of finding an AWD model. The total ratio was AWD - 15,356 and 2WD - 10,215.

Another strange element to the SS Trailblazer story is the fact that GM also made the Saab 9-7X Aero at the same time. The Saab was pretty much a Trailblazer in every way except for the badging. The Saab sold for a higher price tag than the Chevy at about $46,530. Ironically, the Saab is much rarer now and is considered less valuable than the Trailblazer. This is partly because the Trailblazer enjoys plentiful OEM and aftermarket support compared to the Saab.

For those scouring the used market for a unique deal, the Trailblazer SS is hard to beat. As a factory performance SUV, it's one of the cheapest available and lends itself well to further modifications.

More Performance Car History: Performance Car Histories

Trailblazer SS Performance Parts Offered by Synergy