Review: 2019 Chevrolet Blazer has beauty, confidence, and buyer confusion
When Chevrolet re-introduced the Blazer name last year, there followed a lot of use of the word "Camaro" in the hoopla. Chevy very much wanted to tie the Blazer in with the Camaro, style-wise, and has largely succeeded. The Blazer is a good-looking crossover, but a bit confusing as well.
The 2019 Blazer has entered showrooms with good results, gaining a lot of attention from consumers. There are those who complain that the new-generation Blazer is neither the compact S-10 pickup-based Blazer of the 1990s, nor the now-iconic two-door, removable-top Blazer of even earlier times. Instead, the Chevrolet Blazer is now a four-door midsize crossover fitting between the smaller Equinox and the larger Traverse.
The Blazer is competing in a tough segment of A-game two-row crossovers, where good looks will only get you so far. In that beauty pageant, the 2019 Blazer definitely makes the finals, but once it’s past runway poses and into the talent portion, it’s still going to get high marks. It just may not take the crown.
There is a lot to like about this crossover, including its stately drive quality, nice ride, and very well-done infotainment system. The interior is comfortable and very upscale in feel, too. There are a few misses, though, like the somewhat restrictive rear seat headroom (thanks to that Camaro-like roofline) and a more pinched cargo area than that of many rivals. Advanced safety equipment – such as automatic emergency braking – are not included except as add-ons in the highest of trims, despite advanced safety systems fast becoming standard in the industry.
Customers drawn to the dealer lot to look at a new Blazer will face a bit of confusion as well. The base model is called the L. Fair enough, but the next level trim is called the Blazer, then the RS, and then the Premier. Blazer Blazer, anyone? For the 2020 model year, Chevrolet has wisely dropped the “Blazer” trim level name in favor of LT, matching the rest of its lineup.
The two engine choices for 2019 start with the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 193 horsepower (144 kW) and 188 pound-feet (255 Nm) of torque. A nine-speed automatic is standard, as is front-wheel drive. Going to the Blazer or higher trim, though, adds the option (or standard, depending on trim choice) of a much better 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine that outputs 305 horsepower (227 kW) and 269 lb-ft (365 Nm) of torque. All-wheel drive then becomes an option as well, while the nine-speed automatic stays.
We drove the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer in its top-line Premier package, priced at US$45,600 delivered. For the price tag, there’s a lot in that Blazer, which also included add-on options like forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control. The 3.6-liter engine performed very well in the crossover, and the drive quality and handling were excellent. There’s little sportiness to the Blazer, but it’s got confidence in its on-road refinement, which is the sort of thing most buyers in this segment will want.
Where the Blazer will disappoint is to those who want either the aforementioned sportiness, which it doesn’t have, or off-road prowess, which it definitely lacks. The Blazer, with AWD, can drive through bad weather and into light off-pavement for dirt roadways or easy trails – but no more than that.
Tech-lovers will like the Blazer’s four USB ports (standard) and excellent infotainment system. Using Chevrolet’s latest display and user interface, the upgraded infotainment system in the Blazer is one of the best in the business right now. It’s easy to use, has a crisp layout with fast responses, and comes with a lot of high-end goodies like a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot and a very well-done proprietary MyChevrolet app for vehicle control and outside contact. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard as well.
The Blazer is maneuverable enough in most situations and easy to understand in terms of its footprint when parking. Rear parking sensors are standard and while rear visibility is a bit crimped, due to the Blazer’s design, it’s manageable with the well-sized side mirrors. With the V6 and towing equipment installed, the Blazer is capable of pulling an impressive 4,500 lb (2,041 kg). That helps make up for its relatively small cargo space.
Our overall assessment of the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer showed us that it's more than just good looks – which it has plenty of. The Blazer is also a good, comfortable drive with a nice interior and nice daily dynamic. There are some shortcomings, like the cramped cargo space and lack of high-end convenience and safety items. In all, it's a good contender in the midsize two-row crossover market. For the 2020 model year, Chevrolet is changing up that confusing model designation and adding a turbocharged four-cylinder option.
The 2019 Blazer starts at $28,800 and is EPA-rated at 22 mpg (10.7 l/100 km) in the city and 27 mpg (8.7 l/100 km) on the highway.
Product Page: 2019 Chevrolet Blazer