Buy/Drive/Burn: American Family-hauling SUVs in 2005
At the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, Chevrolet announced the rebirth of the Trailblazer (note the spelling) for the 2021 model year. However, unlike its predecessor, it’s now a compact, three-cylinder CUV. The comments got a bit heated, pitting the GMT 360 version against its contemporary competition.
So let’s settle this. It’s time for a Buy/Drive/Burn in 2005.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep’s Grand Cherokee was brand new for model year 2005, as the midsize offering entered its third generation (WK). For its first year in North America, Grand Cherokee was available in Laredo, Limited, and Overland trims. Today’s selection is a mid-level Limited. Niceties like dual power seats, leather upholstery, and a CD changer were upgrades over the base Laredo. Standard on Limited was the 4.7-liter Power-Tech V8, which sent 235 horsepower through a five-speed automatic. The Grand Cherokee lived on in WK guise through 2010.
2005 found the Ford Explorer in the final model year of its third generation. For 2005, Explorer was available in XLS, XLT, Eddie Bauer, and Limited trims. We’ll opt for the Eddie Bauer today, which came standard with power seats, climate control, wood trim, and two-tone leather that mirrored the paint scheme on the exterior. Powering the Eddie Bauer was Ford’s Modular 4.6-liter V8, which routed 238 horsepower through the five-speed automatic.
TrailBlazer was introduced to GM customers in 1999 as the upscale trim of the ubiquitous Blazer (there was also an Envoy package for the Jimmy). The name came into its own as an all-new model for the 2002 model year. In 2005, customers could access three trims of TrailBlazer: LS, LT, and LTZ. Today’s pick is an LT, which upped the ante over LS with leather seats all around, powered buckets up front, optional Bose stereo, OnStar, and a power moonroof. Navigation was an option which almost nobody bought. For 2005, the 5.3-liter V8 was upgraded to the revised LH6 version. Featuring active fuel management, it produced 300 horsepower which made their way to the road via the four-speed automatic. TrailBlazer lived through 2009 before its replacement by the Traverse.
Three SUVs you saw daily between 2005 and 2013 (probably). Which one’s worth a Buy?
[Images: GM, Ford, Jeep]