With the Honda Passport and Nissan Murano giving it strong competition, the Chevrolet Blazer puts forth the strongest argument to consider a Chevy SUV in years.
The differences between the Blazer and the Trax, Equinox, Traverse, Suburban, and Tahoe start at the vehicle’s nose and continue to its tail. The Blazer’s narrow, squinty headlamps and grille are reminiscent of the Camaro, drawing your eyes to the edges of the SUV, which has a wide and beefy stance.
Call our Customer Care Team at 630-898-9630 now for the best offers on new Chevrolet Blazers!
With its very vibrant Red Hot paint job, the Blazer RS borrowed as a tester is a magnet for second looks, including some from the local authorities. Its shiny 21-inch gloss black wheels replaced the standard 20-inch “Dark Android” machined-face aluminum wheels as part of an options package. They played well off the red, combining with black badging and roof rails for a thoroughly modern, Mark Rothko art-like appearance.
For as much effort as was put into making the Blazer fierce up front, there’s little to show from the effort at the rear. There, it takes on a rather generic appearance that plays into the design aesthetic of the Equinox and Traverse. It’s a shame.
The Blazer RS trim is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine that is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. It achieves 308 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque that make it feel rather zippy compared to the average SUV. The SUV’s acceleration is more satisfying in this configuration than the drive experience in the Murano and Passport.
This engine comes with either the front- or all-wheel drivetrain. As tested, the Blazer RS all-wheel drive which helped it stick to the road well with much less body sway than the Murano delivers. Despite handling well, the Blazer’s drive experience isn’t as sporty as the Acura RDX but is a step up from the Murano and Passport.
A 2.5-liter four-cylinder power plant is standard on the Blazer but is only available on the base L and Blazer 2.5 Cloth grades. It achieves 193 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque. The smaller engine is, unsurprisingly, more fuel efficient than its 3.6-liter counterpart, though not by much, getting 22/27 mpg city/highway.
The Blazer’s cabin is filled with modern design elements that are unlike everything else in the Chevy lineup (in a very good way) including the circular air vents with climate controls on their exterior rings. Small buttons for other controls, like airflow and heated seats, string across the center stack below the standard 8-inch touch screen display emphasizing how spacious the SUV’s cabin is.
The infotainment touch screen is more solidly anchored to the dashboard than it is in other GM SUV’s, where is seemingly floats in a Mazda-like manner. Behind that screen is a not-so-secret-anymore storage compartment.
The centrally-located air vents do a good job circulating air throughout the cabin and are easy to maneuver. Despite their low positioning, they keep the heat from the sun pouring through the windscreen at bay.
Unlike in other Chevy SUVs, the Blazer isn’t rich with an abundance of cabin materials. Its interior is filled with a solid selection that are similar in quality to what you’ll find in the Passport and Murano. The Chevrolet tester had good fit and finish.
Chevrolet, a division of General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), has installed comfortable seating for adults in both rows of the Blazer. Unless you’re especially tall, you won’t have a problem being comfortable in the back seat.
Cargo space is perfectly fine as well. As a midsize SUV, its short on cargo space, but the average daily driver likely won’t notice that it falls behind its closest competitors and it shouldn’t be a deciding factor for Blazer shoppers.
The Blazer RS tester came equipped with a cargo management system had a moveable rail that locks into place at various points throughout the cabin. The idea is good in theory, but the rail is flimsy and, in the tester Blazer, it rattled frequently. Still, it can easily hold a group of grocery bags or a few potted plants in place for the ride home. If the rail wasn’t there, the floor well of the back seat would have worked just as well for storage.
The Blazer starts just over $29,000 but the Blazer RS (which isn’t a top-tier model) has a starting MSRP of $43,500. For that price isn’t not a bad deal. However, for the features buyers will want like adaptive cruise control, a sunroof, wireless charging pad, forward collision alert, a power tilting and telescoping wheel, heated rear outboard seats, and lane keep assist, customers have to add on over $6,000 in options packaging bringing the total cost up to over $50,000 when the $1,195 destination and delivery charge is added in.
Buyers can get a top of the line Passport or Murano for thousands less. The three-row Subaru Ascent in its most premium build is also less than the Blazer RS with those options packages.
If you’re in the market for a zippy two-row SUV with a high-tech premium interior, and don’t mind spending around $50,000, you should cross-shop the RDX, which has also been redesigned for the 2019 model year and delivers a more engaging drive experience than the Blazer, combined with equally aggressive styling.
Still, the Blazer makes a compelling argument to be the two-row SUV for empty nesters. Its interior shows what Chevrolet can do, and hopefully what they will do in the future.