With over 3 decades of history behind it, Chevrolet’s Blazer is making a comeback early next year after a 16-year hiatus. The new look though is as far as possible from its old persona, but the changes that were made point the model in the right direction. Some retro fans might be disappointed by the company’s choice of reinventing the model, but the vast majority of the public welcomes the changes that are supposed to spearhead the car at the top of each prospecting buyer’s wish-list. The Blazer of old was the bread-earner, a sturdy, reliable vehicle you could count on to climb mountains in. The kind you’d see bank robbers roll into. It was able to take abuse and smile, more truck than anything else, the perfect cross-country companion. Little to no emphasis was placed on stylish features though, and that's what probably most people expected to see in the Blazer of the future: utility and little else. Chevrolet had other plans as they turned everyone's expectations on their head by giving the model a super sharp look and tons of features most of which focus on the driver's and passengers' comfort and safety.
Let's take the exterior, to begin with. An obvious Camaro vibe hits you as soon as you look at the new Blazer as both cars share the same daring lines and sharp look, and Chevrolet has made no secret of it, the iconic muscle car is the inspiration for the new SUV. Another design feature that takes this model far from its rough, truck roots is the way the blackout trim makes the roof look like it’s floating on the rear pillars giving the car a cool-futuristic outline. Chevrolet aims the new Blazer at the city-dweller, the Millennials, the Y Generation who’ve come to know success and maybe the brand-new emerging Z Generation that’s coming of age from now on. As a result comfort, looks and luxury moved in and were the main focus points.
The Blazer was built to be a mid-size crossover SUV, capable of transporting 5 passengers, so it slides perfectly between the smaller, compact Equinox and the three-rowed monster, the Traverse in Chevrolet’s SUV line-up. A little bit of the old model can be found in the new version’s powertrain options, as both are offering some serious power. The base models are fitted with a nimble 2.5-liter inline-4 engine capable of putting out 193 horsepower and 188 ft-lbs of torque. You can upgrade it to a 3.6-liter V-6 engine that’s going to give you 305 horsepower and 269 ft-lbs of torque. Both options come with a 9 speed automatic. If you choose the former version, the V-6, Chevrolet guarantees a towing power of up to 4500 pounds, so some of the "muscle" from the previous versions is still alive in the 2019 model. Unlike its predecessor though, the Blazer comes with forward-drive as standard, but two all-wheel-drive systems are available for upgrade. Both all-wheel-drive systems can be switched to forward-drive for fuel economy so opting for an upgrade here would be a wise choice as you'll get access to the best of both worlds, fuel-economy or superb grip, depending on your daily requirements.
If you step inside, you get yet another strong Camaro-vibe. The interior is modeled after the muscle car, and it's all about passenger comfort. High-end materials all around and a ton of standard features pamper Blazer's owners. From a much bigger list, we'd like to highlight the 8-inch touchscreen for infotainment, equipped with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, the wireless smartphone charging system or the 6 USB ports. Upgrades like a panoramic twin-pane glass roof, electronic locking glovebox, 21-inch tires and all the high-tech safety features we've seen in the past few years making their way into the market, make the car knock on the doors of the luxury-SUV segment. So expect to be able to get upgrades that range from forward collision warning to pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and even the Teen Driver system. It allows you to set specific limits on your car that encourage safe driving and it creates reports with things like top speed during each drive being reported.
The company’s decision to transform the Blazer completely really seems like the right choice. As appealing as the retro look might have been to a small group of enthusiasts it was highly unlikely that in today’s world a robust SUV that cares little for looks and comfort would have sold well, or survived for more than a year for that matter. The Blazer reinvented itself and found the strength to be reborn from its own ashes, much like the legendary Phoenix. It faced a production stop of close to two decades, and now on its market reentry, it looks better than ever. Maybe the pause was exactly what was needed for this model to thrive for generations more to come, a discontinuity that allowed for complete reinvention. The gap was so big that there’s absolutely nothing to link the old with the new apart from the name and sometimes, in our ever-evolving reality, that’s a good thing.