Following in the footsteps of Ford with its Bronco, Chevrolet has resurrected a legendary nameplate: the Blazer.
The original Blazer was a hot commodity, one of the first SUVs to hit the market in 1982. Produced until 2005, it fell out of favour because it was a gas-guzzler. However, an all-new 2019 Blazer is back to try to cash in on the SUV craze.
“Our goal was to deliver attention-grabbing style with the versatility and convenience of an SUV that also showed a natural progression of the Chevrolet design language,” said Mike Pevovar, the Blazer’s exterior design director, during its global reveal last month in Atlanta.
While the Blazer doesn’t look like its boxy predecessor, it’s still powerful and aggressive, with big wheels, sharp creases and a massive front grille that looks strikingly similar to the iconic Camaro. You can also spot Chevy’s signature styling cues on the rear LED tail lamps and dual exhaust outlets.
“This vehicle is about the styling,” said Alan Batey, president of GM North America, after the unveiling. “Interestingly enough, the No. 1 reason for purchase for people in the mid-segment who buy a two-row vehicle is styling. So we gave our designers free rein and said, ‘Go for it.’”
And they did. The cabin is modern and youthful. On the sporty RS display model, red is the standout colour of choice, and the bold colour scheme continues inside. Red accents embolden the circular air vents and gear shifter while red stitching covers the steering wheel and upholstery. There’s a standard eight-inch colour touch-screen display, but you don’t have to rely on it for everything. There are conventional dials for the volume and buttons for the climate control system. There’s also Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto compatibility, wireless charging, six USB ports and 4G LTE WiFi, all features intended to attract younger buyers.
With so many players in the SUV segment, it’s confusing, but the Blazer is considered a mid-size crossover SUV. It has two rows and seating for five people. The rear seats are adjustable and can slide or recline for added comfort and more legroom. Headroom in the second-row is excellent, even for those taller than six feet.
The rear seats also fold flat for extra cargo space. A cargo-management system with rails and a cargo fence that lets you divide the cargo area so smaller items will stay securely in place are available options. The dual panoramic sunroof is huge and makes the cabin feel spacious, especially in the rear. Other options include a heated steering wheel, cooled front seats, adaptive cruise control and a hands-free power liftgate.
Two engines will be on offer: a standard 2.5-litre I4 with 193 horsepower and 188 lb-ft of torque, and a 3.6-litre V-6 engine with 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque; both are mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive will be available. Unlike the Blazer of old, this vehicle won’t be as thirsty – although official fuel-economy numbers haven’t been released yet. But it will have fuel-saving technology such as an auto stop/start function that kills the engine when the vehicle is stopped. The V-6 will also be able tow up to 2,041 kilograms.
The new Blazer will be built in Mexico – a move that has sparked controversy because the Trump administration is threatening tariffs on imported autos. The engines, however, will be American-made. It goes on sale in early 2019. Pricing isn’t available yet.
The writer was a guest of the automaker. Content was not subject to approval.