Chevrolet is bringing back the Blazer for 2019, but don’t expect the historic large SUV that started the utility ball rolling through the 1970s and ’80s, nor the compact S-10 Blazer that helped start the compact utility craze of the ’80s and ’90s.
Rather, the new built-in-Mexico Blazer (due early in 2019) is closer in size to the mid-sized short-wheelbase TrailBlazer that went away in 2009 — a little longer in length, a little shorter in wheelbase, a little wider and in-between the 2WD and AWD in height. The all-new crossover slots into the void left when the Equinox was downsized this past year and the Traverse was upsized.
“Chevrolet has been at the forefront of each of the major automotive industry trends by anticipating consumer demand and delivering innovative products like Bolt EV, Colorado and Trax,” said Alan Batey, president of GM North America and head of Global Chevrolet. “The introduction of the all-new Blazer builds on that momentum and further strengthens the most comprehensive lineup of crossovers and SUVs on the market today.”
Dimensionally, Blazer matches up exactly with the GMC Acadia, which used to match up with the Traverse (which replaced TrailBlazer back in 2009). Confused? Yeah, we were too when GM first explained how it wasn’t terminating any nameplates while matching up the new vehicle to an existing one that already had a match … you get the idea.
The visual presentation will be familiar to Chevrolet fans, but maybe not so much with Chevrolet-utility fans. The look from front and rear is Camaro-like, and it comes in a sporty RS model, whose designation has historically been bestowed on sporty Chevrolet cars, though Traverse this year also has an RS model.
The presentation changes from model to model, with the Premier bearing more chrome accents and the RS getting the cool black-out treatment. Wheel sizes also change, with the standard 18-inch aluminum wheels replaced by 21-inch versions on the RS and Premier.
Also car-like, and CUV-unlike, is a driver centric interior that falls just a few contours short of the signature dual-cockpit configuration of sporty Chevrolets. The front seats can be optioned to heated and heated/ventilated, with their controls automatic when using the remote start (as is the optional heated steering wheel). An electronic locking glove box offers an additional level of security for items such as purses, working with the remote locking and even remaining inaccessible when the car is in Valet mode.
The interior will seat five (Traverse can house seven) with sliding and folding split rear seat flexibility to expand or contract the cargo hold according to passenger and cargo needs. Rear outboard seats can be optionally heated.
For connectivity, the new Blazer features an 8-inch touchscreen running Chevrolet Infotainment 3, compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It can also create a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot through OnStar. Wireless device charging is available, as are six USB ports.
Expanding to as much as 1,818 litres, the cargo area features a rail-based cargo management system (a Chevy first), so carrying whatever you need to take along inside the new Blazer shouldn’t pose to big a problem. And loading up is equally easy with a hands-free hatchgate opening feature. And if you’re towing cargo along, an optional feature uses the rear camera to help you line up the hitch.
Power is supplied by a choice of stop/start engines: a 2.5-litre 4-cylinder puts out 193 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque; and a 3.6-litre V-6 puts out 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque, helping the crossover tow a maximum 2,041 kg.
Both are controlled by 9-speed automatic transmissions and can be had with a twin-clutch all-wheel drive system. A standard Traction Select system allows the driver to select different modes for different traction conditions. On AWD models, the system allows the driver to “disconnect” the rear wheels and operate in front-wheel drive when AWD isn’t needed.
Additional details, pricing and equipment levels will be available closer to the on-sale date in early 2019.