The Chevrolet Blazer Returns as a Crossover

Shop for a midsize crossover sport utility vehicle and you’ll find most offer three rows. But not so with the Chevrolet Blazer and a handful of competitors, as each model offers two rows with ample storage space. The Blazer features a sporty look and backs that up with an available V6 engine.

What’s new this year

The Chevrolet Blazer is an all-new model, although its name is a familiar one. It was last produced in 2005 on a truck-based utility vehicle. However, the new Blazer shares its underpinnings with car models, which translates into refined ride quality, agile handling, and improved fuel efficiency.

Chevrolet offers the 2019 Blazer in L, Blazer, RS, and Premier trims. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is available.

Design: exterior & interior

Elements of the Chevrolet Camaro dominate the Blazer’s front end. It’s a sporty look marked by a narrow upper grille and thin LED lights. A gaping lower grille with available chrome surround amplifies the fascia.

The dramatic look continues along this SUV’s sides with distinctive body sculpting across the lower doors. The beltline suddenly rises at the rear door handle, then meets the roof to form a unique rear quarter window. From the rear, the wraparound taillights include wing-like LED accents. Diffuser-like trim with dual-exhaust ports complete the presentation.

Chevrolet dresses this model with attractive 18-inch wheels. Some models offer sporty 20- or 21-inch wheels. Available features include heated power-controlled side mirrors, a power liftgate, a panoramic sunroof, and roof rails.

The Blazer’s cabin is spacious, delivering sufficient room for five adults. Notably, it offers as much space as the competing Nissan Murano and the Honda Passport.

The base trim has cloth-covered seats, including manually-controlled front seats. Moreover, a split-folding rear bench seat comes standard.

Move up the trim range and power-controlled front seats become standard. Chevrolet dresses these seats in leather and adds heating and cooling elements. Furthermore, heated rear outboard seats are available with the top RS trim.

We like the versatility of the rear seat, which moves forward by nearly six inches, which is ideal for expanding the storage space. With the rear seat folded, the Blazer supplies a respectable 64.2 cubic feet of cargo space.

The cabin offers clean lines with decorative trim separating key sections of the dashboard. In an unusual design, the circular vent dials control temperature and air flow. They’re strategically placed on the far sides and the center of the dashboard. Ample storage compartments are in the base of the stack, between the front seats, and in the doors.

Standard features include keyless entry and push-button start, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescopic steering column, and air conditioning. Among the upgrades are a power steering column, zoned climate control, and a cargo management system. We like the available digital instrument panel, which is also adjustable.

Technology & safety

Chevrolet is at the leading edge of all things technology. Long before its competitors got in, the brand offered GM’s OnStar connected services plan in all its vehicles.

The 2019 Blazer gets things right with its standard 8-inch touch-screen display, multiple USB ports, and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. A six-speaker audio system and both Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto smartphone compatibility round out the included features.

The list of available upgrades includes wireless charging for smartphones, six USB ports, navigation, a 120-volt power outlet, and an 8-speaker Bose audio system. Our test model included all options, which made this Blazer better equipped than some luxury models.

Safety is a mixed bag with the Blazer. All models come with an HD rear vision camera, which delivers sharp images on the color display. However, to gain such important features as lane change alert, side blind zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear park assist, you’ll have to pay extra for them. Further, advanced driver-assist features such as adaptive cruise control, forward automatic braking, lane keep assist, and lane departure warning is included as part of an extra-cost package upgrade available only on the two top trims. Most of these features are standard in competing models such as the Toyota Highlander.

Performance

Though the competing Ford Edge offers turbocharged engine choices, the Chevrolet Blazer supplies naturally aspirated four- and six-cylinder engines. Each Blazer engine works with a 9-speed automatic transmission, delivering one more cog than the Ford.

Most buyers will find the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine adequate for their needs. It supplies 193 horsepower and 188 foot-lbs. of torque. These models are front-wheel-drive only.

The available 3.6-liter V6 engine throws down a robust 308 horsepower and 270 foot-lbs. of torque. You’ll find standard front-wheel drive, but we recommend the available all-wheel drive for better power distribution, which is especially useful under hard acceleration and while cornering for keeping the front wheels straight. Both engines deliver ample step-off acceleration with the V6 ideal for quick passing on the open road. The ride is comfortable, the steering is spot-on, and handling is accurate.

If you’re towing, the V6 equipped with all-wheel drive and the trailering package pulls up to 4,500 lbs. On the other hand, all front-wheel-drive models pull just 1,500 lbs., which represents a significant difference. Notably, the base engine has just a 2 mpg edge over the V6, delivering a combined 24 mpg city/highway driving.

Our recommendation

Start your search with the Blazer trim and you’ll gain access to some of the driver-assist features offered. This means opting for the available Convenience and Driver Confidence Package ($1,845), which includes lane change alert with side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, and rear park assist. The package also includes a power liftgate, remote start, heated front seats, and roof-mounted side rails. Your cost, ahead of discounting, comes in at $35,340.

Fully loaded, the 2019 Blazer approaches $50,000, which is very costly for this model. Buyers preferring a V6 model with all-wheel drive should find well-equipped models for about $40,000.

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