Chevrolet’s hot lineup of crossover vehicles and SUVs is about to get hotter. The bowtie brand gathered a group of dealers and journalists in Atlanta, Georgia to reveal the all-new 2019 Chevrolet Blazer.
Chevy already has a broad group of SUVs: the subcompact Trax crossover, compact Equinox crossover, full-size Traverse 3-row crossover, full-size Tahoe body-on-frame SUV and full-size Suburban body-on-frame SUV. As a midsize crossover vehicle, the new Blazer will slot into the narrow gap between the Equinox and the Traverse, cementing Chevy’s formidable front line.
Blazer is one of Chevy’s heritage nameplates. For two generations (1969-1972 and 1973-1991), Chevy sold a truck-based 2-door SUV that competed head-to-head with the Ford Bronco (1966-1996), Dodge Ramcharger (1974-1994, 1999-2002) and International Harvester Scout (1961-1980).
Wearing a bolder exterior design than the Equinox, the Blazer shares the same basic and familiar crossover shape. The vehicle’s face is likely to provoke a lot of conversation (and some debate). LED daytime running lights form eyebrows at the top of the fenders, while HID headlamps are inset low on the fascia, where you might expect to find foglamps. The lighting placement is unique among Chevy’s crossovers, but is reminiscent of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee — a front-end design that was the source of some controversy when it was revealed in 2013, and has been revised to a more conventional arrangement for the 2018 model year. Buyers and critics tend to be very sensitive about headlight placement — see the short, unhappy life of the Nissan Juke for another example.
The Blazer has an athletic, sculptured hood and strong body lines. One impressive line flows from the front fender along the shoulder of the vehicle, then strikes out upward at the rear, behind the back side door. Detailed LED taillamps with chevron designs dress the rear corners. Look for the clever Chevy bowtie Easter egg on the side of the tail lamps, a hint that the designers are not above a touch of fun. A nicely sized fixed rear windshield is at the top half of the lift gate, which will be a hands-free power-operated unit in upper trim levels. Eighteen-inch aluminum wheels will be standard, with wheels up to 21 inches available.
Shooting for an upscale look and feel, Chevy has lavished attention on the interior. A clean, uncluttered dash is layered before the driver and front passenger. Sporty round HVAC vents promise good air flow and directionality, and lend a retro feel to the interior. At first glance, materials and textures look first-rate, with exposed stitching providing a feel of craftsmanship and quality. An automatic heated steering wheel and automatic heated/ventilated front seats will be available, programmed to work with Remote Start. Heated outboard rear seats will be available on the Premier and RS models. Wireless charging and six USB ports will also be available features. Included as standard are 4G LTE Wi-Fi (with a 1-month/3GB data trial), Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and an 8-in color touchscreen running Chevrolet Infotainment 3.
One of the main reasons to buy a crossover vehicle over a sedan is the cargo compartment, and Chevy took the time and attention to make the Blazer’s unique. The cargo area in the Premier and RS models will have a standard Cargo Management System, a clever rail-and-fence setup that will be a welcome first for Chevy SUVs. A small amount of underfloor storage is provided in the available space around the temporary spare tire. An electronic-locking glove box (the first for Chevrolet) will be available, sized to hold a small handbag.
Two engine choices will be available for the Blazer when it hits showrooms: a standard Ecotec 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder engine (193 horsepower/188 lb-ft of torque) and an available 3.6-liter V6 (305 hp/269 lb-ft of torque), both with direct gasoline injection and stop/start technology and connected to a 9-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel-drive is available. An advanced twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system is available on the upper-level RS and Premier models.
Crossover owners like to know their SUV is capable of towing, even if they never use it that way. V6-equipped models will be capable of towing up to 4,500 pounds. An available Hitch View camera and Hitch Guidance system will help drivers align the Blazer’s hitch with a trailer without a second person’s assistance.
Pricing for the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer was not announced at the launch event. Expect prices to begin between the Equinox’s $23,580 starting price and the Traverse’s $29,930 base, just like the Blazer’s slot in the lineup. Trim levels will include a base Blazer, along with the announced RS and Premier. The Blazer is scheduled to arrive at U.S. dealerships in early 2019.