Chevrolet Trailblazer 2005: The Weekly Driver Review

Written by James Raia

Withrepparttar addition ofrepparttar 102744 5.3-liter, 325-horsepower V8 extended cab (EXT), eight Chevrolet Trailblazer models are onrepparttar 102745 road in 2005. And asrepparttar 102746 largest and most powerful Blazer available,repparttar 102747 new EXT has plenty to offer.

It's comfortable and provides a confident drive. It offers vast cargo space, has an attractive two-tone interior, a well-designed console and boasts of plenty of impressive option packages.

But sometimes subtle qualities or subtle deficiencies are more impressive or problematic than a vehicle's overt characteristics.

So it is withrepparttar 102748 new Blazer. While recently showingrepparttar 102749 car to several friends, one sat inrepparttar 102750 second row of seats. Surprisingly, his head easily hitrepparttar 102751 roof. My friend is 6-foot-3, and while that's tall, he's not a giant by any stretch.

"I've got a Scion and there's plenty of rear seat headroom," my friend commented.

The quick analysis made a good point. Asrepparttar 102752 largest and most powerful Blazer available, shouldn't a 6-foot-3 person sit comfortably inrepparttar 102753 middle ofrepparttar 102754 car's three rows?

Conversely, an SUV hardly seems like a vehicle for a remarkable sound system. Butrepparttar 102755 Bose premium sound system available inrepparttar 102756 Blazer's Sun, Sound and Entertainment Package is superior. The combination AM/FM stereo, six-disc changer, XM satellite radio and eight speakers are arguablyrepparttar 102757 finest music package I've experienced in any test car inrepparttar 102758 past two years.

Beyond a curious space limitation and a wondrous sound system options,repparttar 102759 Blazer offers an odd mixture. It's a well-designed SUV with plenty of space for family and cargo. It has adequate steering and handling, and it offers a quiet ride considering its status as a large SUV with 17-inch tires.

Yet,repparttar 102760 Blazer falls short in other key areas.

The vehicle's braking system seems uneven - fine in some circumstances, soft in other scenarios with far-too-long response time. The Blazer maneuvers well in traffic and its turning radius is surprisingly tight and efficient. But again, for each ofrepparttar 102761 vehicle's strengths, there's a weakness. The Blazer's fuel rating of 14 mpg (city) and 19 (hwy) is hardly impressive.

Mitsubishi Outlander 2005: The Weekly Driver Review

Written by James Raia

The 2005 Mitsubishi Outlander isrepparttar least expensive ofrepparttar 102743 Japanese manufacturer's three sports utility vehicles. It's compact, nicely designed and offers more standard features than many SUVs nearly twicerepparttar 102744 price.

Butrepparttar 102745 Outlander faces a tough challenge. In a popular category that includes best-buy choices likerepparttar 102746 Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester,repparttar 102747 Outlander doesn't offer any outstanding qualities that could sway potential buyers.

My test drive forrepparttar 102748 week wasrepparttar 102749 new all-wheel drive limited edition Outlander. It joinsrepparttar 102750 previous LX and XLS models and features an impressive list of upgrades from previous models.

All Outlanders offer a 4-cyclinder, 160-horsepower, 2.4-liter engine. With its standard automatic transmission,repparttar 102751 vehicle performs adequately in city driving. But it lacks acceleration for highway journeys, and it struggles on long inclines, even with only two adult front-seat passengers.

Steering and handling are adequate andrepparttar 102752 automatic transmission shifts smoothly. Mitsubishi's all-wheel drive system is a plus and it's reminiscent ofrepparttar 102753 AWD feature Subaru first offered. The Outlander limited edition includes 17-inch alloy wheels and four-wheel independent suspension. But such features don't easerepparttar 102754 tough go over city street speed bumps, even at slow speeds.

In several other basic areas front and rear-seat room, ride noise, interior materials and instrumentation function repparttar 102755 Outlander is adequate. The gauges, for example, are simply designed and easy to use. But if average isrepparttar 102756 best Mitsubishi can do, how canrepparttar 102757 Outlander compete with heavy-hitters inrepparttar 102758 compact SUV market segment?

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