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2020 Chevrolet Blazer Review

Fresh from its debut last year, the 2020 Chevrolet Blazer returns with a new engine, new trims and a bit more bravado. Although the Blazer name has long been associated with a rugged, off-road kind of SUV, the current Blazer is more of an urban adventurer. With room for only five passengers, the Blazer looks to take on smaller crossovers, such as the Ford Edge, the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Nissan Murano and, to some degree, the Jeep Grand Cherokee. To its credit, the new Blazer is an attractive vehicle with loads of features and three engine options: a 193-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, a 230-hp 2.0-liter turbo or a 308-hp 3.6-liter V6. Being slightly larger than the current Chevrolet Equinox but not as long as the Traverse, the Blazer sets up camp in the middle ground between the two, offering consumers a sporty, midsize SUV with plenty of room for all their stuff. On the flip side, a trailer-tow rating of 1,500 pounds for the front-wheel-drive models isn’t going to impress many, although that figure jumps to 4,500 pounds when equipped with all-wheel drive and the V6 engine. We also are not impressed that, unlike most rivals, the Blazer’s driver assists (think automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control) are options only offered on the most expensive trims.

What’s New for 2020?

For 2020, the Chevy Blazer gains a new optional engine and a new trim lineup. A 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder is now standard in the 2LT and 3LT trims. The V6 is still optional on these two models and standard on the RS and Premier. The idle stop/start mechanism can now be manually overridden. See the 2020 Chevrolet Blazer models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Camaro-like good looks
  • Sporty driving attitude
  • Powerful engine options
  • Plenty of cool options
  • 4,500-lb tow rating when properly equipped

What We Don’t

  • Optional driver-assist systems are only offered on most expensive trims
  • Uncompetitive pricing
  • 1,500-lb tow rating for 4-cylinder models
  • Lots of black plastic inside the cabin

How Much?

$29,995-$54,000

Fuel Economy

The 2020 Chevrolet Blazer offers a choice of three engines. Base models with the 193-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder are FWD only. This engine earned an Environment Protection Agency estimate of 21 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Optional is a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine rated at 230 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. FWD models attain 21 mpg city/28 mpg hwy, while AWD versions see 21 mpg city/27 mpg hwy. The third engine choice is a 308-hp 3.6-liter V6. Fuel economy for this engine is rated at 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy with FWD, and 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy when equipped with AWD. There are two part-time AWD systems that activate only when wheel slippage is detected. RS and Premier trims get a more advanced, twin-clutch setup that can shuttle power to the outside rear wheel to help improve cornering. All models employ a 9-speed automatic transmission.

Standard Features & Options

The Chevrolet Blazer comes in six trims: L,1LT, 2LT, 3LT, RS and Premier. The L and 1LT trims only come with the 2.5-liter engine. The 2LT and 3LT trims come with the new 2.0-liter turbo and offer the option of AWD and a V6 engine, while the RS and Premier trims come standard with the V6 and offer the option of AWD.

The Blazer L ($29,995) comes standard with power windows and door locks, dual-zone automatic climate control, 18-in alloy wheels, cloth seats, hill start assist, an electronic parking brake, an 8-in color touchscreen with a rear backup camera, 6-speaker audio with Bluetooth audio streaming, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and OnStar with 4G LTE. Also standard are two USB charging ports (one type-A and one type-C), cruise control, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, heated outside power mirrors, keyless entry with push-button start, a spare tire inflator kit, HID headlights with auto on/off and seven airbags.

The Blazer 1LT ($33,495, FWD) adds a compact spare tire, road tool emergency kit, deep tinted glass, 8-way power driver’s seat and SiriusXM satellite radio.

The Blazer 2LT ($33,995, FWD) ($35,995, AWD) adds the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and all the features of the 1LT.

The Blazer 3LT ($38,195, FWD) ($40,195, AWD) adds perforated leather seating, heated front seats, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-change alert and rear park assist. Also standard are black roof rails, heated power auto-dimming outside mirrors, a power lift gate, 6-way power passenger seat, remote start and universal home remote.

The Blazer RS ($41,695, FWD) ($44,595, AWD) adds the 3.6-liter V6 engine, unique black exterior accents, 20-in alloy wheels, black leather seating with Alcantara inserts, gesture power lift gate, navigation, a 120-volt outlet, an 8-in diagonal color driver information display and a heated steering wheel.

The Blazer Premier ($43,895, FWD) ($46,795, AWD) adds chrome horizontal grille slats, unique 20-in wheels, Bose audio, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and a power-adjustable steering column with memory settings.

Most options are bundled into packages and vary by trim. The Blazer 1LT offers the Convenience and Driver Confidence package that adds heated front seats, remote start, a programmable power lift gate, roof rails, lane-change alert with blind zone warning, rear cross-traffic alert, rear park assist and auto dimming heated side mirrors.

The Blazer 3LT offers the Sound and Technology package that adds the Infotainment 3 system, rear camera mirror, Bose 8-speaker audio, HD surround vision and a 4.2-in driver information screen. The RS and Premier are the only trims to offer the Enhanced Convenience and Driver Confidence II package that includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, auto high beams, rear camera mirror, a wireless charging pad, a surround vision camera and the safety alert seat.

Safety

The Chevrolet Blazer comes standard with seven airbags, electronic traction and stability control, a rear backup camera and a tire pressure monitor. Additional safety equipment varies by trim and includes blind spot monitoring, forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change and lane-keeping assist.

As of the writing of this review, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2020 Chevrolet Blazer an overall 5-Star crash test rating, earning five stars in the front and side impact tests and 4 stars in the rollover test.

Behind the Wheel

When powered by the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, the Blazer feels adequate, but not spectacular. It can accelerate and pass, but it doesn’t do either with any sense of urgency. The situation doesn’t get much better with four passengers onboard. Overall, the Blazer L has a fairly smooth ride, responsive steering and a quiet cabin. Body roll in the corners is minimal — we’d say it’s comparable to that of the Ford Edge and the Nissan Murano. The 4-cylinder can feel a bit jumpy at low speeds, making it difficult to get a smooth start from a standing stop. We also noticed the 9-speed transmission was slow to shift at times. The turbocharged 4-cylinder is definitely worth the extra cost, giving better acceleration with good fuel economy.

Move up to the V6, and it’s a whole different story. The 308-hp engine fulfills the promise made by the Blazer’s sleek sheet metal, and when teamed with the torque vectoring AWD system, it increases towing from 1,500 pounds to 4,500 pounds (though this requires the optional tow package). Assisting with the drive is a mode selector that adjusts steering, shift points and throttle response to one of three settings: sport, tow and off-road. We like the V6 in the 2LT and 3LT and think this is the best choice for comfort, power and value. While the RS is clearly aimed at the enthusiast driver, it’s stiffer suspension and big wheel and tire combo produce a rather stiff, sometimes jarring ride.

Other Cars to Consider

2020 Ford Edge — The Ford Edge offers more powerful engine options and more standard driver assists, as well as more trim and option choices.

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee — The Grand Cherokee offers a more versatile platform, with real off-road ability. In addition, it has more luxury and standard safety systems, although its interior is not as roomy. The Grand Cherokee also offers a V8 and high-performance engines options.

2020 Nissan Murano — A comparably equipped Murano costs less than the Blazer and comes with more standard equipment. The Blazer’s V6 is more powerful, but the Murano’s engine is more fuel-efficient.

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe — The Hyundai Santa Fe offers more standard features, such as standard driver assists, a better warranty, a lower price and more optional equipment choices. However, while the 4-cylinder engine is comparable to the Blazer’s standard engine, the optional 2.0-liter turbo is more powerful than the Blazer’s turbo engine — but not as powerful as the Blazer’s V6.

Used Lexus RX 350 — A used 2015 to 2018 Lexus RX 350 offers more luxury and safety features in an upscale SUV with plenty of room and power. There’s also a high-mileage hybrid option in the RX 450h.

Autotrader’s Advice

If you’re not concerned with the latest driver-assist features, we think most people will be quite happy with the 2LT or 3LT. The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder is just too weak for this vehicle, and the V6 opens the door to AWD and a 4,500-lb tow rating. We’d toss in some options, such as the Sound and Technology package, and still get out the door for around $40,000. Find a Chevrolet Blazer for sale

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