Chevrolet Blazer — Attractive mid-size crossover photo

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Every mainstream automaker is adding hot-selling crossover SUVs to their lineups with sizes ranging from sub-compact to full-sized. Chevrolet is a good example. For 2021 it has added the sub-compact Trailblazer on the heels of the mid-sized two-row Blazer in 2019 resurrecting the name first used on the truck-based Blazer in 1969, and retired in 2005.  The addition of the new Blazer gives Chevrolet six sport utility vehicles for 2021 ranging in size from the small Trailblazer to the huge truck-based Suburban.

The mid-sized 2021 two-row Blazer slots between the bigger three-row Traverse and the smaller Equinox. Despite its off-road truck heritage, it features style over ruggedness, an on-road unibody family vehicle rather than an off-road adventure truck. But like most crossovers, the Blazer can be purchased with all-wheel drive and it has adequate towing capacity for weekend toys rated at 4,500 pounds when outfitted with the 3.6-liter V-6 making 308 horsepower. photo

The new entry adopts a more aggressive look than its siblings, with a prominent dual Chevy grille including squinty-eyed headlights high up on the fenders. Likewise, the taillights sit up high on the rear haunches giving the rear end a thick, chunky, rugged look. The Blazer's modern guise might turn some people off, but to us it works just fine.

Inside, the Blazer adopts the Chevrolet Camaro's cabin look with its most unusual feature the huge center air vents with air flow regulated by large wheels around the vents. The Blazer offers generous legroom for rear-seat passengers as well as 30.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the seats.

The Blazer comes in four trim levels — L, LT, RS and Premier. The LT has three sub-trims — 1LT, 2LT and 3LT — offering increasing amounts of standard equipment, and with three engine choices. The base L starts at $31,190 including a $1,195 destination charge. The L can only be purchased with the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 193 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque — and all-wheel drive is not available. We don't recommend the base four-banger although it should be adequate for L and 1LT buyers.

We think most buyers will be satisfied with the turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder making 227 horsepower while deriving 22 mpg city and 29 highway in two-wheel drive. It's standard in the 2LT, 3LT and Premier trims. We like the 3.6-liter V-6, which is standard equipment on the RS and can be added to the 2LT, 3LT and Premier trims for $500. All engines are mated to a 9-speed automatic.

The 2LT may be the best overall value with a starting price of $35,490 and a solid list of standard features including four USB ports, an 8-inch touchscreen, cruise control, power-adjustable drivers seat, satellite radio, and such safety features as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist and lane departure warning.

For comparison purposes and to point out that the turbocharged 4 is adequate, it has a published
0-to-60 time of 7.9 seconds. If carrying big loads or towing large weekend toys is your thing than we recommend the V-6, which has a tow rating of 4,500 pounds.

We drove the V-6 with AWD mated to a nine-speed automatic in a RS trim and found it offered a rewarding driving experience with a 0-to-60 time of 6.3 seconds. While we found passing and merging effortless, we also were pleased with the crossover's handling traits due in part to the torque-vectoring system in the RS and Premier trims that apportion torque side to side to each individual wheel. It gives the Blazer the feeling of agility in the corners. And at highway speeds, the Blazer is agreeably quiet.

The Blazer has easy-to-use switchgear, and while there's a lot of hard plastic in the interior, we found it inoffensive. Standard equipment includes GM's Infotainment 3 system, which uses large icons to access various features and responds quickly to inputs; Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity; dual climate control; four USB ports including one very attainable in the center console; a nice-sounding six-speaker base audio system with satellite radio availability; and a Wi-Fi hotspot. In addition to stretch-out room for four adult passengers — five in a pinch — the Blazer has a useable 64.2 cubic feet of cargo room with the rear seats folded.

Our AWD test vehicle came with such goodies as a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, an eight-speaker Bose audio sound system and driver seat memory carrying a base price of $44,895. But even at that price such features as adaptive cruise control, wireless charging, roof rack rails, and cargo net have to be ordered as options. Adding all-wheel drive runs between $2,700 and $2,900 depending on trim level, about double what it is on many nameplates. Our test car came with two convenience packages bringing the bottom line to $48,380.

2021 Chevy Blazer


Base price: $31,190; as driven, $48,380
Engine: 3.6-liter V-6
Horsepower: 308 @ 6,700 rpm
Torque: 270 foot-pounds @ 5,000 rpm
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
Drive: all wheel
Seating: 2/3
Wheelbase: 112.7 inches
Length: 191.4 inches
Curb weight: 4,253 pounds
Turning circle: NA
Luggage capacity: 30.5 cubic feet
Cargo capacity: 64.2 cubic feet
Towing capacity: 4,500 pounds
Fuel capacity: 21.7 gallons (regular)
EPA rating: 19 city, 26 highway, 21 combined
0-60: 6.3 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider: VW Atlas Cross Sport, Honda Passport, Ford Edge

The Good
• Appealing exterior styling
• Responsive handling
• Strong V-6 engine
• Many desirable features available

The Bad
• Undesirable base engine

The Ugly
• Options can be expensive