by: Mike Ginsca,
The Blazer nameplate is back after a hiatus of almost 15 years. But it’s not exactly the same Chevrolet Blazer as it once was. The new Blazer shares nothing with the old apart from the name. So does that make it a bad SUV? Not at all…
Engine – The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer can be equipped with a 2.5L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engine that produces 193 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque. This RS trim Blazer is equipped with the optional 3.6L V6 engine and it produces 308 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. Because it’s not a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine like many other SUVs on the market today, the peak power and torque figures are relatively high in the rpm range. The Chevy Blazer doesn’t feel that quick to get off the line but once it does, it feels relentless as it goes through the gears.
With the 3.6L V6, the Blazer can achieve 9.5 L/100km (24.8 mpg) on a highway and 12.7 L/100km (18.5 mpg) in a city. During my time with the SUV, I averaged right in the middle with 11.0 L/100km.
Transmission – The V6 engine is paired with a new 9-speed automatic transmission. Because there are 9 gears, the engine’s rpms are dropping by approximately 500 rpms with each gear change under normal driving conditions. That’s not a lot and at highway speeds, it’s barely turning over at 1,500 rpms. That’s how it can get good fuel economy figures without the use of a CVT.
Turn the drive mode knob to Sport (checkered flag), and the shifts become more prominent. Unfortunately there are no paddle shifters or even a dedicated gear selector position for you to change gears manually. You have to use the buttons that are mounted on top and just to the side of the gear selector but it’s an awkward position.
Braking – The brakes on the Blazer feel firm even after repeated use or going down a long mountain road. However, while the Chevy Blazer is available with emergency automatic braking and forward collision alert, neither features are standard. What’s worse is that if you do want this safety feature, it is only available on the RS trim and up as part of the RS Plus Package. Not very good packaging considering some competitors, like the Honda Passport, offer these features as standard across all trims.
Handling – With styling that takes inspiration from the Chevy Camaro, the Blazer has some sporty credentials to back it up. The Blazer feels planted around corners thanks to not only well tuned suspension, but also the advanced all-wheel-drive system that is available on the RS and Premier trims. This AWD system actually uses clutches in the rear differential for actual torque vectoring without the need to use brakes as most other AWD systems use. Steering feel tough is quite bland and vague but it is precise.
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Ride Comfort – Thanks to the well tuned suspension, the 2019 Chevy Blazer soaks up bumps well. You still feel the bumps when driving over them but the shunts are not jarring and won’t spill the coffee in the cupholder. The seats provide good comfort as well with a lot of adjustability for whatever your height is but the leather/padding is a bit on the firm side.
Interior Space – Although this is a 5-passenger SUV like the Chevrolet Equinox, it offers more space for front and rear occupants. Both rows have ample head and leg room for average height as well as taller adults. Trunk space, however, is not a lot. The Honda Passport and Hyundai Santa Fe offer more cargo space than the Blazer’s 864 L (30.5 cu-ft) behind the rear seats.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – Engine noises are fairly well subdued from intruding into the cabin under normal driving conditions. However, wind and road noise is abundant at highway speeds. Having a conversation with someone next to you is not a problem but front occupants may need to raise their voice to talk with the rear occupants.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – As mentioned earlier, advanced safety features such as emergency automatic braking are only available on the top RS and Premier trims. That means that you’ll have to spend at least $46,300 CAD plus $4,395 CAD for the RS plus package to get the advanced safety features. However you do get a lot of other features for your money such as navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, surroundview monitor, heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, power liftgate, adaptive cruise control, wireless phone charging, Bose audio, and heated steering wheel to name a few.
Exterior Design – The new 2019 Chevrolet Blazer exterior design is a far cry from the boxy look of the old model that your parents had when growing up. The new SUV takes much of its styling inspiration from the latest iteration of the Chevrolet Camaro. It also previews the future look of Chevrolet SUVs with LED daytime running lights higher up above the low beam and high beam lights. Particularly in this red colour, the Chevy Blazer stands out in a crowded parking lot with a lot of onlookers.
Interior Design – The interior also follows the design cues of the Camaro. Large central air vents with temperature control rings are the predominant feature of the dashboard. The 8” touchscreen is not recessed back like how it is on the Camaro which makes it easy to see and use by both the driver and passenger. While a lot of features are controlled via the touchscreen, there are physical buttons for quick changes to the climate or audio system.
In all the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer is a well executed SUV. It looks great and has good driving characteristics. If you want it with all the bells and whistles though, it is about $4,000 – $5,000 more expensive than the top trim Hyundai Santa Fe or Honda Passport. Thankfully, Chevrolet does have a lot of sales each month, so the best thing to do is wait until one of those sales discount the Blazer by a few thousand dollars.
Thank you to Chevrolet Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Chevrolet.ca
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Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.