A pure pleasure to drive down U.S. Highway 1 at more than 100 mph. That sums up what the TrailBlazer SS is all about. It was by far the most fun tester to drive. The 6.0L V-8 LS2 packs great power and torque (395 and 400, respectively)...just ask the Corvette owner one of our guys dusted. Even with all that power, some staffers found the fun-quotient compromised by the StabiliTrak. Luckily, the traction control can be turned off, just as fortunate, is the prowess of the StabiliTrak to help the already tight suspension around tight turns. The TrailBlazer SS stuck to the road like bug guts on a windshield around the twisties of a local mountain range and equally challenging rush-hour traffic at unexpected speeds, while the exhaust system serenaded us with a pleasingly low rumble. Forget off-road performance. While the TrailBlazer SS is available with AWD that might help with adverse road conditions, ours was a 2WD version bred for asphalt and not dirt.

Park the SS next to a standard TrailBlazer and the SS package's 1-inch lowered stance, vented front spoiler, attractively spoked 20-inch wheels, black-on-black interior styling, and leather seats with suede inserts and clean SS badging look great. Park the TrailBlazer SS away from its cousins, however, and the magic fades. It becomes a sporty-yet-nondescript anachronism that begs for styling to evoke its proven performance. If only the design's promise lived up to its delivery.

The seats felt nice but could have offered better lateral support. The audio system was OK, but the lack of navigation and satellite radio was noticeable. The white tachometer lends a racy attitude to the otherwise monochromatic dash but is more suited to a manual tranny vehicle. Personal room is medium. Taller drivers and passengers in this seven-seater will find everything cramped. The cargo area is decent, and rear seat passengers will hope the driver and passenger are short enough to need their seats moved forward.

To sum it up, the TrailBlazer SS will appeal to those who want to relive their high-octane youth and still maintain some of the TrailBlazer utility to load up the family for the weekend ahead.