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1999 Chevrolet TrailBlazer

1999 TrailBlazer

Aimed at buyers who crave the ultimate in style and comfort in a sport utility, the all new ’99 TrailBlazer is just that. The TrailBlazer is the brother of the LT 4- door Blazer that got the inheritance from daddy. It offers much more in the way of comfort and styling. Such benefits of the additional $1400* or more include two-tone custom leather interior, Z85 touring suspension, premium sound, Driver Control System, 4-wheel antilock disc brake system, the new Autotrac 4×4 and much more. Essentially, the TrailBlazer is the crème de le crème of the Blazer series with it’s many amenities. (*Price increase for TrailBlazer vs. Blazer is estimated and includes destination charges.)



Handling & Suspension

1999 TrailBlazerIndependent short/long arm (sla) front suspension with a stabilizer bar equips the front of every Blazer model. SLA Suspension helps the front wheels “step” over bumps independently and are controlled and dampened by torsion bars and Bilstein shocks. The rear suspension includes a live axle and leaf spring, which offer decent compression but minimal droop when venturing off-road. The suspension package, called the Z85 Touring Ride Suspension, doesn’t do the Blazer much justice off the beaten path. It does however offer a comfortable and grippy ride on the road at all speeds. Throwing the TrailBlazer into a tight turn gives the driver the feel of serious body roll and a feeling in the seat of the pants is that of understeer, but it isn’t. The body does roll out some but holds to the road well. Make no mistake, the TrailBlazer is sure footed on the highway, but gives the feeling of a loose ride.


1999 Chevrolet TrailBlazerOff the highway and into some gullies, steep climbs, wash-outs and hard-packed dirt roads rounded out our off-road tests. The TrailBlazer has unfortunately, terrible approach and departure angles making it difficult to tackle some steep inclines or declines. Chevrolet however, did do a good job tucking the drive train up and into the box frame keeping the driver from snagging tranny and transfer case on obstructions off-road, but the frame rails tended to slide across most obstacles due to the low ground clearance. Additionally and surprisingly, the leaf sprung rear end was well controlled and offered minimal wheel-hop during hard acceleration and deceleration in wash-board roads.
It’s lack of positive locking or traction aiding differentials in our tested model made it difficult to drive through loose dirt and rocks and got stuck more than once. A posi-traction unit is available and is highly recommended.

Chevrolet has a feature available for most of its SUV’s and 4-wheel drives called the Insta-Trac System. This system integrates two features allowing the driver to venture  off-road without much thought. The first of these two features, which is available on just about any four-wheel drive, is the “Shift-on-the-fly” feature allowing the driver to put the vehicle into four-wheel drive while in motion. The second feature of Insta-Trac is called the Auto-Trac. The Auto-Trac is standard on LT 4×4 models, including the TrailBlazer, and optional on LS 4×4 models, the system is capable of automatically engaging four-wheel drive for maximum traction. This system is not all-wheel drive, but more accurately termed a standby four-wheel-drive system. Autotrac provides 100 percent rear-wheel drive until road conditions warrant a change. When extra traction is needed, an electronic control module activates an electronic motor to transfer the torque between the front and rear wheels — all within a time frame that can be measured in fractions of a second. Once the speeds of the front and rear prop shafts are equalized (traction is regained), the transfer case returns to its standby mode until another speed differential occurs. If multiple, large slip events are detected for a sustained time, the system locks into the 4HI (four-wheel-drive high) mode to protect the system’s electric actuator motor. After a time, the system returns to the automatic 4WD standby mode. Autotrac also features a transfer case neutral position for easy towing behind a recreational vehicle.






1999 Chevrolet TrailBlazerA
The interior of the TrailBlazer is nothing shy of perfect. Two-tone, tan and brown custom leather wraps and finishes the seating surfaces and the door panels while other items in the cab are wrapped in single tone, tan leather. 8-way power driver and front-passenger seat adjusters and a driver’s two-position memory seat-adjuster make it very convenient and comfortable. The front-passenger seat does have an intruding hump near and to the right of the tranny tunnel that makes it a bit uncomfortable even for vertically-challenged passengers, but the two grab handles where nice to have. The rear seat has a decent amount of leg room for average sized passengers and is equally comfortable.

The dash and instruments are well laid out and lend themselves well to gloved or large hands. The gauges are easy to read in any light and all controls, aside from the parking brake are within reach and easy to use. Some of the creature comforts of the TrailBlazer include remote keyless entry, electronically controlled AM/FM stereo with cassette and compact disc player, 1999 Chevrolet TrailBlazer six premium speakers and automatic tone control, 3-channel programmable HomeLink transmitter, and an electrochromic inside self-dimming rearview mirror.

Goodies inside the TrailBlazer include a Delco / Bose stereo system with 6 speakers that put out some serious volume. The speakers do well with high and mid range sounds but seriously lack in the bass department. An automatic climate control system, located below the stereo, put out copious amounts of air. The deluxe overhead console housed map reading lights, the Homelink transmitter, electronic compass and an outside temperature readout.

Overall, the interior fit and finish scores a perfect ten as every panel, gauge, vent and part lined up well with each other and functioned perfectly.






1999 Chevrolet TrailBlazerThe overall exterior stylings for the Blazer (formerly known as the S10 Blazer), haven’t had any dramatic changes since its conception and it shows even in the new TrailBlazer. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you like the mid-sized SUV body style, but a change nonetheless will be welcome.
The TrailBlazer continues its smooth lines and geometry along with its low stance. The TrailBlazer has well-placed and not-overdone gold accents regardless of its monochromatic paint scheme.

Other exterior traits include foglamps and self-dimming driver side, outside mirror with dual breakaway feature. Front tow hooks are a nice feature and the roof rack is sturdy enough to hold some serious luggage, perfect for a trip to the mountains or the lake. Additionally, our TrailBlazer came with a class II receiver hitch and all necessary electrical hookups which will be nice for towing a boat, jet skis, motorcycles or the likes.


Engine and Drivetrain

The standard mill for the TrailBlazer is the Vortec 4300 V6 (L35) which puts out 190 horsepower at 4400 rpm and a generous 250 lb.-ft. of torque at 2800 rpm. The low-end grunt in the rig was impressive but at highway speeds, the passing power was a bit lacking.

Standard equipment for the TrailBlazer in the tranny department is the 4L60-E 4-Speed Electronic Automatic Transmission. It did well in our testing but did tend to overheat and smell a bit during acceleration tests. The second gear start option is nice during austere weather conditions as it locks the transmission in second gear when starting to drive.


Final Thoughts

All in all, the TrailBlazer is a nice rig with a comfortable ride and ample power. It is definitely more of a luxury vehicle and one that you should be proud to have the valet drive off in. Its on-road capabilities were better than good but it lacked in its off-road aptitude.


NOTE: All ratings on a scale of 1 to 4 with flat tires equal to a half.
Description Notes Rating
On-Road Performance The TrailBlazer did well on the road offering a soft ride. When put into hard turns, the vehicle felt loose but held its ground well.
Off-Road Performance Poor approach and departure angles coupled with street type tires and a low ground clearance makes it unsuitable for any off-road adventures any more serious than an unpaved road.
Drivability Very comfortable rig to drive. Large windshield and few blindspots made it easy to see all around.
Comfort Ample room for a compact SUV. Fit and finish both inside and out was awesome to say the least.
Appearance Smooth lines and geometry united with good color schemes makes the appearance very appealing.
Price in comparison to related vehicles Our TrailBlazer priced as tested for $33,376. Compared to other rigs in its class (Durango, Explorer, 4 Runner and the Grand Cherokee), it was about $1500 higher. (Prices estimated)
Editors Notes The ’99 Chevrolet TrailBlazer offers more creature comfort than one can ask for and ample power. However, it wouldn’t be our first choice for any serious off-roading…RW


 1999 Chevrolet TrailBlazer Specifications & Dimensions

NOTE: Trailblazer is a 4-door model only. All 2-door specifications are for reference only.

Model Availability
  2-Door 4-Door
Passengers 4 5/6
Class Compact Sport Utility
Assembly plant Linden, New Jersey Moraine, Ohio
Linden, New Jersey
Primary structure Welded steel frame  
Body material Hot-dipped steel (two-sided galvanized on strategic panels) (excludes roof)

 Dimensions and Capacities | Steering | Brakes | Engines | Transmissions | Chassis |
Mileage | Trailering Information | Wheels & Tires | BACK TO THE TOP

Dimensions & Capacities (inches/millimeters, unless otherwise noted)
  2WD 4×4
Exterior Dimensions 2-Door 4-Door 2-Door 4-Door
100.5/2553 107.0/2718 100.5/2553 107.0/2718
Overall length
176.8/4491 183.3/4656 176.8/4491 183.3/4656
Overall height
64.9/1649 64.3/1633 64.5/1639 64.2 /1631
Maximum width
67.8/1722 67.8/1722 67.8*/1722 67.8 /1722
Ground to rear load floor
29.9/760 29.8/760 29.5/749 29.4/747
Ground clearance (front)
8.4/213 8.4/213 8.3/211 8.3/211
Ground clearance (rear)
8.1/206 7.6/193 8.0/203 7.5/191
Est. curb weight (lbs./kg)
3518/1596 3671/1666 3848/1746 4049/1837
Maximum GVWR (lbs./kg)
4450/2019 5000/2268 4850*/2200 5350/2427
Base payload
(std.) (lbs./kg)
932/423 1329/603 1002/455 1301/591
Max. trailer capacity
5500/2495 5500/2495 5000/2268 5000/2268
Interior Dimensions
Headroom (front)
39.6/1006 39.6/1006 39.6/1006 39.6/1006
Headroom (rear)
38.3/973 38.3/973 38.3/973 38.3/973
Legroom (front)
42.4/1077 42.4/1077 42.4/1077 42.4/1077
Legroom (rear)
35.6/904 36.3/922 35.6/904 36.3/922
Shoulder room (front)
57.7/1466 57.2/1453 57.7/1466 57.2/1453
Shoulder room (rear)
55.6/1412 57.2/1453 55.6/1412 57.2/1453
Hip room (front)
52.0/1321 53.6/1361 52.0/1321 53.6/1361
Hip room (rear)
40.5/1029 51.3/1303 40.5/1029 51.3/1303
Cargo volume (rear seat up)
(cu. ft/liters)
30.2/857.5 37.3/1059.1 30.2/857.5 37.3/1059
Cargo volume (folded)
(cu. ft./liters)
66.9/1899.5 74.1/2103.9 66.9/1899.5 74.1/2103.4
*71.5 inches (1816mm) for ZR2 model.
*Ground clearance for ZR2 model is 9.2/8.9 in. (234/226mm) — (front/rear)
**5,000 lb. (2268 kg) GVWR available with ZR2.*


Dimensions and Capacities | Steering | Brakes | Engines | Transmissions | Chassis |
Mileage | Trailering Information | Wheels & Tires | BACK TO THE TOP

  All Models
Variable, integral power, recirculating ball
Steering ratio
  2WD 4×4
  2-Door 4-Door 2-Door 4-Door
Turns, Lock-to-Lock
3.38 3.38 2.97 2.97
Turning Diameter,
Curb-to-Curb (ft./m) Turning
34.8/10.6 36.6/11.2 35.2/10.7 39.5/12.0
  All Models
Four-wheel ABS, power-assist, front disc/rear disc (all models)
Front disc size
10.82 x 1.14 in. 275 x 29mm
Rear disc size
11.6 x .787 in. 295 x 20mm
Booster diameter
9.4 in. 239mm
Parking brake
Cable to rear wheels with drum/hat design


Dimensions and Capacities | Steering | Brakes | Engines | Transmissions | Chassis |
Mileage | Trailering Information | Wheels & Tires | BACK TO THE TOP

Vortec 4300 V6 SFI
Block material
Cast iron
Cylinder head material
Cast iron
Bore & stroke (in./mm)
4.0 x 3.48/101.6 x 88.39
Displacement (cu. in./cc)
Compression ratio
Induction system
Lifters Hydraulic
Cam drive
Horsepower/kW @
RPM (SAE net)
190 @ 4400/142 kW @ 4400
Torque/N-m @ RPM
(SAE net)
250 @ 2800/339 N-m @ 2800
Redline (RPM)
Recommended fuel (min.)
87 octane
Fuel tank capacity
19 (2-Door)/72 liters 18 (4-Door)/68 liters


Dimensions and Capacities | Steering | Brakes | Engines | Transmissions | Chassis |
Mileage | Trailering Information | Wheels & Tires | BACK TO THE TOP

TYPE 4-speed electronic
automatic w/overdrive &
torque converter (4L60-E)
5-speed manual
(NVG 3500 —
2-Door only)
3.06 3.49
1.63 2.16
1.00 1.40
0.70 1.00
2.29 3.55
  All models
All-welded, ladder-type, channel design and boxed front section
Independent w/computer-selected coil springs (2WD) or torsion bars (4×4)
Semi-elliptic 2-stage, multi-leaf spring
Shocks (mm)
32 w/standard suspension
Stabilizer bar (front/rear)
33/23 w/standard suspension
Rear axle


Dimensions and Capacities | Steering | Brakes | Engines | Transmissions | Chassis |
Mileage | Trailering Information | Wheels & Tires | BACK TO THE TOP

Powertrain 4-speed automatic 5-speed manual
  2WD 4×4 2WD 4×4
Mileage: MPG Liters/100 km MPG Liters/100 km MPG Liters/100 km MPG Liters/100 km
16 14.7 16 14.7 17 13.8 16 14.7
21 11.2 20 11.8 23 10.2 21 11.2
18 13.1 17 13.8 20 11.8 18 13.1
  2WD 4×4 2WD 4×4
Est. cruising range: mi. km mi. km mi. km mi. km
288 463 288 463 306 492 288 463
378 608 360 579 414 666 378 608
324 521 324 521 360 579 324 521
*Based on 1998 EPA figures. 1999 estimates not available at time of publication. Estimated Cruising Range based on 18-gallon fuel capacity.
Trailering Information
  2WD 4×4
Trailer classification Medium Medium
Gross trailer weight (lbs./kg, up to) 5500/2495 5000/2268
NOTE: Trailer tongue weight should be 10 to 15 percent of total loaded trailer weight (up to 750 lbs.)
Wheels & Tires
  2WD and 4×4
Wheel type Steel*
Wheel size (in.) 15 x 7
Tire type All-season steel-belted radials
Tire size P205/75R-15 blackwall*
*15-inch aluminum wheels optional. *Tire size availability depends on model and suspension package selected. All specifications are preliminary and subject to change.

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