2002 North American Truck of the Year

Updated: January 17, 2002

2002 Chevrolet TrailBlazer

Chevy TrailBlazer is the 2002 North American Truck of the Year. Journalists who voted for the mid-size sport-utility vehicle praised its new inline six-cylinder engine, its interior and exterior packaging, and its comfortable ride.

“The new inline-6 is smooth and powerful, a pleasant companion on long trips,” said Mitch McCullough, editor of New Car Test Drive and one of 49 journalists on the North American Car of the Year jury. “The robust power this engine generates makes me wonder whether its tow rating is overly conservative. GM has been leading the pack among full-size trucks and SUVs and now, finally, has a strong sport-utility to compete with the Ford Explorer. The TrailBlazer’s chassis, like that of the Envoy, is highly rigid, giving it a nice, smooth ride and crisp handling.”


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Read NCTD review of the 2002 Chevrolet TrailBlazer

The North American Truck of the Year is designed to recognize the most outstanding truck, sport-utility, minivan, or crossover vehicle based on such factors as design, innovation, performance, handling, driver satisfaction, safety, quality, functionality, value, price, and fuel economy. Vehicles must be substantially changed from the previous model. GM completely redesigned and re-engineered its Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, and Oldsmobile Bravada for the 2002 model year.

New Car Test Drive feels this is North America’s most prestigious automotive award because the automotive journalists who comprise the jury are completely independent. Jurors are from print, broadcast and electronic media. Most do not associate with one another and many do not even know each other. The jurors vote in confidence. Ballots are counted by Deloitte & Touche, and the winner is kept secret until early January when it is announced at a news conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Therefore, it is not possible for advertisers, publishers, or even peers to have any significant influence over the voting. Jurors are given 25 points to divide among the eligible vehicles. However, no more than 10 points may be given to a single vehicle.

Gary Cowger, president of GM’s North American Operations said the TrailBlazer’s engine is winning over buyers with the performance of a V8 and the economy of a six-cylinder.

Chevy’s TrailBlazer beat its own Avalanche by a narrow margin and the Jeep Liberty was close behind. Nominees for the award included the Dodge Ram, Ford Explorer, Land Rover Freelander, Honda CR-V, and Toyota Highlander.

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