By Gary Gastelu
Published May 10, 2019
Ford did it with the Explorer. Nissan did it with Pathfinder. Honda did it with the Passport.
Is even a big deal that Chevrolet transplanted the Blazer name from a truck onto a crossover?
Based on the robust sales of all of the above, probably not. Especially considering that the last-generation Blazer went out of production in 2005. Likely disappointing only those holding out hope for a K-5 or S-10-style competitor to the upcoming Ford Bronco, which is a dedicated off-roader based on the Ford Ranger pickup, the 2019 Blazer was built for the street.
It’s front-wheel-drive and features styling that makes it resemble a Camaro more than a Colorado. That’s also true on the inside where the dashboard, circular vents, climate controls and infotainment screen all look like they were sourced from the Camaro’s parts catalog. Dressed in its sportiest RS trim, the Blazer has presence.
Priced at $41,795, it also has a nine-speed automatic transmission and a 308 hp V6 in place of the 193 hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder that comes in the entry-level model for $29,995. The Blazer is available in five versions, with the Premier standing next to the RS at the top of the list in classier clothes.
The Blazer sits in Chevy's lineup below the Traverse and has seating for just five, but with tons of room everyone. That includes the rear middle passenger, who is treated to a flat floor instead of a hump. The cargo space is just a hair larger than the smaller Chevy Equinox’s, however, thanks in part to the Blazer’s steeply raked roof.
While a loaded Blazer can crest $50,000, it does come with pretty much every feature imaginable in an attempt to justify the price, including adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera, video rearview mirror, heated and ventilated seats and a wireless charging pad for smartphones. I’m not sure it pulls it off, but the market will soon decide how much money needs to be placed on the hood. (As of this writing you'll find up to $2,000 sitting there.)
The Blazer sits low for a utility vehicle, so much so that it can feel like a sedan from the driver’s seat. The RS isn’t quite as athletic as it looks, even with optional all-wheel-drive and the mode selector set to “checkered flag,” but it handles and rides well enough for a vehicle that competes with the likes of the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano. The Blazer is built on the same platform as the Cadillac XT5 and some of that luxury refinement has clearly trickled down. Not that far, as the XT5 has a base price of $41,690.
There is an off-road mode in the drive settings that tips its hat to the Blazers of yore, but nothing about the vehicle suggests you should venture onto any surface that isn’t as flat as the paved road you’re turning off of. If a campground is as far into the wilderness as you typically venture, keep in mind that all-wheel-drive models can tow a healthy 4,500 pounds.
You can still get a true heir to the old Blazers if you really want one. You just have to head south of Mexico or overseas where Chevy sells the pickup-based TrailBlazer SUV.
2019 Chevrolet Blazer
Base price: $29,995
As tested: $50,765
Type: 5-passenger, 5-door all-wheel-drive SUV
Engine: 3.6-liter V6
Power: 308 hp, 269 lb-ft
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
MPG: 18 city/25 hwy