Chevrolet’s 2019 resurrected Blazer is one sexy looking SUV whose front end and LED running lights resemble a hot Camaro coupe. Blazers’ racy styling appears suited for a NASCAR track.
The Blazer name goes back to the 60s when it was a 2-door, then 4-door 4WD SUV. At that time, the big three in its class were the Ford Bronco II and original Jeep Cherokee.
Today’s midsize Blazer is a racy work of art with its chiseled styling lines and squint running lights with the actual headlights located midway down on either side of the grille. It slots between Chevy’s Equinox and three-row Traverse crossovers.
During our test week, Blazer grabbed a lot of eyes, be it at filling stations or restaurants we visited. In fact, one waitress went outside on break, saw it, took several phone photos of it and came in and told me she loved it and was going to buy one just like the Nightfall Gray Metallic of the test car.
Blazer is offered in FWD and AWD and in base L, Blazer LT, RS we tested, and top tier Premier. Of the group, the RS is the sportier version with its blacked-out grille, trim and glossy black wheels.
Blazer is offered with two engine choices. A 2.5-liter inline 4 producing 193-hp and 188 lb/ft of torque for EPA mileage estimates of 22 city, 27-highway mpg with FWD. The other, is a potent 3.6-liter, V6 with 308-hp and 270 lb/ft of torque with EPA’s of 18/25 with GM’s twin-clutch AWD, and 20/26 with FWD. These numbers are helped somewhat by start/stop technology that cannot be shut off, a capability on many competitive models. Both engines couple with a 9-speed automatic transmission. The V6, however, is only offered with AWD models, and is optional on the LT trim model.
The V6 was independently 0-60 tested at 6.6 seconds, which is impressive for a heavy (4,246 pounds) AWD SUV. It can also tow up to 4,500 pounds. But if you don’t need towing capability, the inline 4 may be a better choice.
Full throttle acceleration with the V6 is a push-you-back-in-the-seat affair. Passing 18-wheelers on an interstate is a breeze.
Blazer RS’s interior is also racy. Gray leather seats had contrasting stitching on all seams and steering wheel. The comfy, perforated leather seats also had the red trim theme peeking through the tiny aeration holes to allow the cooling feature to cool the torso.
Major HVAC controls are selected on the 8-inch touchscreen with minor functions like air direction, A/C and defrosters, controlled by tiny buttons below the display. At the bottom of the stack, is a convenient wireless smartphone charger.
And get this. If using the Remote Start feature in winter, the heated front seats will turn on automatically. And if encountering an obstacle in front of the vehicle, the drivers’ seat bottom vibrates as a warning. Then there’s the round red air outlets that appear to come directly from the Camaro.
The 8-inch touchscreen/infotainment display with voice recognition, serves not only the audio, apps, Wi-Fi 4G connectivity, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, but the rearview camera offers five different views including Surround (360 degree) and Trailer Hitch to make backing up to a trailer and your ball hitch, easier.
Blazers’ AWD system consists of 2WD, AWD, Sport, Tow and Off-Road modes. All selectable by a rotary console switch. In Off-Road mode, the system modifies accelerator pedal response, directs AWD torque to all four wheels, affects the Traction Control System and the StabiliTrak/ESC system for improved traction. Despite this, and with a low (for an SUV) 7.4 inches of undercarriage clearance, Blazer is not ideally suited for rugged offroads. It’s more for modest snow depths, icy roads, rain slicked roads, shallow mud and sand.
Step-in into the back seats, (that slide and recline) is a low 19-inches. However, very tall folks need to do a head duck because of the sloping roofline. The seats can comfortably accommodate two adults with decent leg room, or three tweens.
In the cargo area, the RS trim version had a nifty adjustable cargo management system consisting of a set of aluminum bars that slide fore and aft to hold grocery bags close to the powered tailgate, or farther inward to hold larger items. Plastic grocery bag handles can be tied to the rails to avoid spillage.
With the rear seats upright, there’s 30.5 cubic feet of cargo space that measures 39-5 inches deep, 44.5 wide and 29 high. Flip the seatbacks and space increases to 64.2 cubes for 69 inches of cargo loading depth.
Beneath the cargo floor are two 5.5-inch deep bins on either side of the space saver tire for small item storage. Liftover is an easy 29.5 inches.
As for ride on Continental 21-inch tires, it’s smooth with the suspension soaking up major bumps, tar strips and roadway pock marks. The ride is generally quiet with some wind noise at highway speeds.
Steering effort is a tad on the taut side, but considering Blazer’s heft, it remains completely manageable. There’s nary any body lean in sharp, tight turns and Blazer exhibits a planted feeling.
Now for the bad news. With an extremely long list of standard items such as rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert, lane change alert with side blind alert and numerous more, Blazer carried a base price of $42,500. That would be competitive in its class. But, after adding the Enhanced Convenience Driver’s Confidence II package ($3,575) that included another long list of niceties plus forward collision alert, forward automatic braking, lane keep assist/land departure warning, front pedestrian braking and the safety alert seat. Most of these are commonly part of the competition’s base price. Added to that, a Sun and Wheel Package ($2,495) that includes a panoramic sunroof, 21-inch Gloss Black Wheels together with delivery ($1,195), upped Blazer’s bottom line to a whopping $50,765. That’s a premium to pay for a midsize SUV. This price falls into the luxury market of Lexus, BMW, Benz and comparable competitors.
Despite this, Blazer RS is a compelling SUV that comes with a 3/36K bumper-bumper and 5/60K Powertrain warranty. Roadside assistance and courtesy transportation is also included.
If you can do without a host of trim items of the RS model, the Blazer LT may be a more affordable choice.