Chevrolet brings back Blazer as a midsize crossover SUV

By Paul Borden

(April 11, 2019) The name “Blazer” has long been part of the Chevrolet family, but the resurrected Blazer SUV for 2019 bears little resemblance to its forebears, which have a history that goes back to 1969 when Chevy launched the K5 Blazer to compete with Ford’s Bronco, among others.

The latest edition is no longer a two-door truck with body-on-frame construction, but a mid-size crossover SUV, refined and more suited to what consumers are looking for today. Seating five, it slots in between the compact Equinox crossover and the full-size Traverse in Chevy’s stable of SUVs.

The new Blazer is offered in four trims with a starting MSRP of just over $30,000 for the base L (including the destination and delivery charges). Blazer (or LT) trim adds more features, and a sporty RS model and Premier trim top are at the top of the line.

This review is based on the RS that carries a base MSRP of $44,695 (including the hefty $1,195 destination charge) with options running the total to $50,765.

The base engine in the Blazer RS is a 3.6-liter V6 featuring stop/start technology and mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. It is rated at 308 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque at a negligible cost in fuel mileage over the 4-cylinder that is standard in lower trims.

V6 fuel consumption figures are 20 miles-per-gallon city, 26 highway in V6s with front-wheel drive and 18/25 for those with the available all-wheel drive. The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder is rated at 22/27 but delivers only 193 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque.

I’d sacrifice the mpg figures for the extra power that the V6 delivers. No, the Blazer RS doesn’t reach Camaro-like performance but it’s not bad for a vehicle that is 191.4 inches long and carries a curb weight of 4,246 pounds (with AWD).

The Blazer’s interior is nice enough for its class, not luxurious but not bare bones either. RS models get heated front seats with perforated leather trim as standard, and the red-trimmed adjustable rings on the adjustable front air vents give the RS a sporty feel.

Designers have done an excellent job incorporating the 8-inch touchscreen into the flow of the dash, and the various functions are all user-friendly. Well, at least on the screen they are. There is a row of black buttons between the touchscreen and the round vents to operate the A/C manually that are on the small side, and finding the even smaller buttons between the two vents on the center stack to adjust the blower can be distracting for the driver.

Rarely in South Florida does one have to wear gloves inside a vehicle, but heavy winter gloves I would think would make adjusting the climate control fans somewhat difficult.

Standard equipment on the Blazer RS includes navigation, keyless open and start, rear park assist and cross-traffic alert, lane-change alert with blind spot warning, HID headlamps, LED daytime running lights, heated outside mirrors with turn-signal indicators, 20-inch wheels (with 21-inchers available), leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, Bluetooth streaming audio and connectivity, dual-zone climate control, 4G LTE wi-fi hotspot, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Not overlooking one of the reasons people go for an SUV, the Blazer offers 30.5 cubic feet of storage behind the second row with a maximum of 64.2 feet with those seats folded flat.

Wireless charging, heated outboard second-row seats, ventilated driver and front-seat passenger seats, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel column, adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert and forward pedestrian braking, and a power sunroof are available in packages.

All in all, this Blazer certainly is a much-more civilized version of its predecessors with attractive exterior styling, a comfortable interior, and a quiet, confident ride.

What I liked about the 2019 Chevy Blazer RS: The infotainment functions are very forthright and user-friendly. The adjustable divider in the cargo area is a nice touch. It helps keep a full load of items from shifting around. Performance is good for its genre, at least with the V6 engine.

What I didn’t like about the 2019 Chevy Blazer RS: I would like a handy button to turn off the stop/start function. You can defeat it by lightening your touch on the brake pedal, but a switch would simplify things.

Would I buy the 2019 Chevy Blazer RS? I’d give it consideration. But it faces some very stiff competition in its class, and it likely would come down to whatever kind of deal I could make. Unfortunately, I am not a very sharp negotiator.