REVIEW: Chevy Blazer returns as the 'muscle car of SUVs'

The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer is all-new this year, with an expressive design that seems to turn heads everywhere. 

Angular and confident, it has been revived back into the sport utility spotlight. Bringing the Blazer namesake back into reality, however, wasn’t a simple task – that’s because the old Blazer was a truck-based utility SUV, not a sporty crossover like the new model.

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Inspired by the iconic Camaro muscle car, the new Blazer seems to be much more than just a comeback vehicle – it redefines what crossovers stand for and how far the styling can reach.

Design

With a unique front corner, angled roof, and spoiler, the airflow is directed efficiently over this handsome, futuristic looking vehicle. Inside the front grille are shutters that are controlled by the vehicle to further increase aerodynamic ability at high speeds. A narrow strip of LED lights above the headlights stands out even in the daytime, and the rear tail lights are trendy and attractive.

All in all, the Blazer stands out as the “muscle car” SUV – I received a lot of compliments from bystanders while driving the Blazer around town. The styling is heavily influenced by the Camaro.

REVIEW: Chevy Blazer returns as the 'muscle car of SUVs'_3
The Blazer’s rear taillights are trendy and attractive, adding to the muscle car feel of the SUV. photo supplied

The interior has a max seating of five, and the SUV offers ample cargo volume (with the rear seats folded) at 1,818 litres (64.2 cubic feet). Active noise cancellation provides a quiet cabin environment, and the interior takes direct styling from the Camaro sports coupe. Chevrolet has really thought through the functionality of the Blazer and there are many storage cubbies, bins and hidden nooks to store items. An electronic locking glovebox provides extra security and can be unlocked by entering the passcode on the touchscreen console.

The infotainment system measures 4.2 inches diagonally, although if choosing the RS or Premier trim, it doubles to eight inches. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are compatible, and the myChevrolet mobile app provides a ton of useful features for drivers.

As expected, many safety features are included with the Chevrolet Blazer. A few of the standout features include a Safety Alert Seat – this uses vibration pulses in the driver’s seat to alert the driver about a potential collision instead of an auditory alert. Intellibeam headlamps will intuitively switch between high and low beams when oncoming vehicles are detected. Surround Vision is another feature that uses four separate cameras to assist with parallel parking. There are countless other features.

REVIEW: Chevy Blazer returns as the 'muscle car of SUVs'_2
The interior of the Blazer all looks very fancy and functional, with plenty of hidden bins and storage cubbies, although there is a bit of a plasticky feel to it. photo supplied

While the interior looks fancy and it’s functional, GM products in general come across as a bit plasticky and cheap – especially in comparison to newer Nissan products that have an upscale, European feel inside.

Performance

The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer comes equipped with up to five drive modes available depending on AWD or FWD: Tour, Sport, Off-Road, Snow/Ice and Tow/Haul.

There are two engine options available: a 2.5-litre engine providing 193 horsepower, or a 3.5-litre V-6 engine that provides a heart-stopping 305 h.p.

Fuel consumption for the 2.5-litre engine is 10.8/8.8 litres/100 kilometres for city/highway. For the 3.6-litre engine, fuel economy for FWD is 12.0/9.0 l/100 km, and for AWD it is slightly higher at 12.7/9.5 l/100 km for city and highway.

There are four trim levels for the Chevrolet Blazer: Blazer 2.5, RS, Premier and True North. The base level Blazer 2.5-litre is basic, but the standard features are many.

REVIEW: Chevy Blazer returns as the 'muscle car of SUVs'_1
Shutters inside the front grille of the Blazer adjust on the fly to increase aerodynamic ability at high speeds. photo supplied

The RS trim and Premier trim are very similar, with one being sportier and the other more luxurious. Both come standard with the 3.6-litre V-6 engine and a twin-clutch advanced all-wheel drive. The Blazer RS trim has a custom grille with black mesh and a hexagonal-shaped design. Design accents are a glossy black and red.

The top-level Premier trim comes equipped with a chrome grille, door handles and silver roof rails. Also included with this trim are premium leather seats that are heated and ventilated in the back as well (all trim levels have heated front seats).

True North is another trim option that also has the 3.5-litre V-6 engine, but is more geared to all-season with tinted windows, a programmable power lift gate, FWD or AWD, and trailering equipment and sway control. Towing capability (when equipped), is up to 4,500 pounds (2,041 kilograms).

Regardless of which models you select, the Blazer is surprisingly fun to drive. In comparison to its major competitors such as Toyota Highlander, Nissan Murano or Ford Edge, the Blazer is downright sporty. The cornering ability, sharp handling, and quick response are traits often not seen in SUVs and crossovers. Even the ride is smooth and refined. The Blazer is truly the “Camaro” of the SUV segment.

Summary

Chevrolet has positioned the Blazer in the mid-size crossover market and done so in a smart way. Prices for the Chevrolet Blazer start from $35,100 MSRP up to $48,700. The new Blazer may bring back those people who are tired of driving SUVs that feel too clunky and look clumsy.  The Blazer has proven that utility and sport can truly go hand in hand.

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