Driven: 2019 Chevrolet Blazer review
  • Car Review

Driven: 2019 Chevrolet Blazer review

By David Undercoffler | July 19, 2019

Autolist rating: 3/5
But would we buy it? Yes, if we were feeling spendy and didn’t mind a lack of safety features
Price range: $29,995 - $46,795, including destination but before options

Key takeaways

  • All-new model that resurrects the old Blazer name.
  • Sporty compact crossover aimed at Nissan Murano, Ford Edge, Honda Passport, etc.
  • Has style for days and a robust powertrain to match.
  • Gets very expensive with only nominal options.
  • Lacks key active safety features that should be standard -- but aren’t even optional on some trims.

What is it?

The Chevrolet Blazer is an all-new five-passenger compact crossover from Chevy that resurrects the Blazer nameplate that was previously an SUV in the 1970s through the mid 2000s.

This new Blazer can be considered a lifestyle crossover; it’s larger than Chevy’s Equinox and smaller than its three-row Traverse. The Blazer is aimed at wealthier buyers who prefer more style than they do substance. It competes in a growing segment of crossovers that includes the Ford Edge, Nissan Murano, Honda Passport and Hyundai Santa Fe.

The Blazer is available with two engines. The lower-end models come with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 193 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel-drive only.

The more common powertrain is a 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 308 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque and is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel-drive is standard on this engine while all-wheel-drive (and other upgrades) is an additional $2,700.

The Blazer is available in the following trim lines: L, Cloth, Leather, RS and Premier (the four-cylinder engine is only available on the L and the Cloth trims).

In terms of exterior dimensions, the Blazer is most closely aligned with the Nissan Murano. Inside, the Blazer is down on cargo room compared to most of its peers.

What’s good

TLDR: Style, power and space.

Style. It’s hard for a vehicle to get neck-turning attention in L.A. (since you’re competing against some of the most exotic cars on the planet on a daily basis). But on multiple occasions while we were testing a loaded fire-engine red Blazer RS, we caught smiles, waves and nods of approval from fellow drivers and pedestrians. We like that the Blazer’s sleek, futuristic style takes chances and looks different from nearly everything else on the road. Think of it as a Camaro you and your family can use everyday.

Breezy powertrain. Our tester had the 308-horsepower V6, all-wheel-drive and nine-speed automatic transmission. It all added up to a potent combination that was a joy to drive in any scenario. Because it’s not a turbo, there was no turbo lag to suffer through when you needed immediate grunt and the transmission’s shifts were quick and precisely timed.

Passenger space galore. Despite its sporty proportions and profile (which cut into cargo room in the back) we were impressed with the Blazer’s passenger space in the front and rear seats. We found plenty of room for a carful of tall people on a long trip.

What’s bad

TLDR: Needs standard safety gear, gets expensive quickly

Lacks key safety features. Despite its high price tag, the Chevy Blazer curiously lacks crucial active safety features that are standard on many of its rivals. These include adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane-departure alerts. Even worse, some of these features aren’t even available on lower trim levels -- you couldn’t add them as options if you wanted to. This is a big misstep by Chevy and it’s the Blazer’s biggest weakness.

Expensive. The loaded AWD RS model that we tested clocked in at $50,765 and a Premier trim with the same options creeps closer to $52,000. While these trims come with a laundry list of luxury and active safety features (leather seats that are heated and cooled, panoramic moonroof, navigation and 21-inch wheels), that’s still serious money for a crossover that has the build quality of something that costs at least $10,000 to $15,000 less.

Less cargo space. Though there’s plenty of interior space for passengers, the Blazer’s exterior profile does eat into its cargo space. There’s still enough to make this a practical vehicle, but less than some of its rivals.

5 stars of execution

Safety Features? NO

  • In 2019, any vehicle that starts above $30,000 should have active safety features like automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-departure alerts. The Blazer doesn’t.
  • Not only does it not offer these as standard, but they’re not even optional on the base trims.
  • The Blazer has received a five-star crash test rating from NHTSA; IIHS hasn’t tested one yet.

Value? NO

  • As we mentioned, the Blazer has a tough time in the value department.
  • Not only does it not offer the active safety tech as standard, but the base models and even the higher trims don’t come with much in the way of features.
  • To get the goodies that most buyers want, you have to start adding option packages, which quickly drives up the price.

Efficiency? YES

  • The AWD Blazer with the V6 that we tested is rated by the EPA at 18/25/21 MPG city/highway/combined.
  • That fuel economy is in line with the Honda Passport and Ford Edge, though it trails the Nissan Murano.

Driving experience? YES

  • We thoroughly enjoyed driving the Blazer in all types of driving situations.
  • From tight canyons to daily city driving to freeway cruising, the Blazer’s smooth and powerful V6 engine and transmission combo handled everything with aplomb.
  • In addition to the powertrain, we also liked the handling of this new crossover.

Execution? YES

  • Overall we came away impressed with the Blazer’s savvy mix of driving dynamics, packaging and style.
  • Buyers prioritizing these three elements will find a lot to like in the new Blazer.
  • However, we were dismayed by the pricey options and the lack of active safety tech.

Total Rating: 3 stars

What’s it gonna cost me?

The base Blazer L with the four-cylinder engine starts at $29,995. It comes standard with start-stop technology to save fuel, an eight-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a six-speak audio system, WiFi hotspot connectivity, a 4.2-inch digital display in the instrument panel, keyless entry and pushbutton start, 18-inch alloy wheels and heated exterior mirrors.

The Blazer Cloth with the four-cylinder engine and front-wheel-drive (FWD) starts at $33,495. It adds to the L things like a power driver’s seat, Sirius XM radio and a variety of options that aren’t even available on the L.

The Blazer Cloth with FWD and the optional V6 is another $1,000.

Next up is the Blazer Leather. It comes with the V6 only and starts at $38,695. It adds to the Cloth model things like perforated leather seats (naturally) that are heated up front, rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, a power front passenger seat, lane-change alert with blind-spot monitoring, remote start and power liftgate.

The sporty RS model is next (this is the one we tested). It comes with the V6 and AWD only and it starts at $44,695. Standard features over the Blazer Leather include unique exterior trim pieces, 20-inch alloy wheels, a hands-free power tailgate, an eight-inch digital instrument panel screen, heated steering wheel and an enhanced eight-inch touchscreen infortainment system.

Finally, we have the Blazer Premier. As the name implies, this is the loaded trim level and it starts at $43,895 for the V6 and the front-wheel-drive (AWD is an extra $2,840). Other standard equipment includes unique 20-inch alloy wheels, unique body-colored trim pieces on the exterior, a Bose eight-speaker audio system, an upgraded infotainment system, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, memory setting for front seats and power tilt steering wheel.

If it were our money on the line, we’d opt for the Blazer Leather in FWD or AWD and then we’d add the “Sun and Wheels” Package. For an extra $2,295, this group adds a panoramic moonroof and sharp 20-inch alloy wheels. That’s $40,990 out the door for the FWD model.

Also consider

The Blazer is in a unique class of crossovers; they’re not as price-conscious as the smaller family segment like the Chevy Equinox, Honda CR-V and Ford Escape. And they’re not the larger family models like the Chevy Traverse, Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer. Instead the Blazer and its ilk are near-premium models for buyers who want a little more upscale vehicle but don’t need the size of a three-row model.

Rivals include the Ford Edge, Hyundai Santa Fe, Honda Passport and Nissan Murano; all of these models are worth a look if you’re shopping in this segment.

If we forced to choose our would probably be the Passport. With the Murano a close second.