After two years of very minor changes, the Blazer continues to serve as a Chevrolet’s relatively roomy, plenty powerful, and styling-focused mid-size crossover. But that also describes many other crossovers on the market so what makes the Blazer stand out?
The Blazer’s styling, for starters, certainly helps to separate itself from the pack. The exterior’s sharply-angled lines and numerous cues from the Corvette and Camaro give it some sporty flair but ultimately its odd proportions (even for a crossover) and sweeping styling curves that move up the rear fender give it a look of being unbalanced and with a bit of a humpback. The optional black-painted roof panel only serves to enhance the lifted rear end while washing away the sporty effect intended by its blacked-out a-pillar garnish.
Inside, the Blazer continues to show its affinity for the Camaro with two large HVAC vents that serve as the design’s focal point but in everyday life, they are decidedly more about looking cool than being easy to use. The same can be said for the thin row of HVAC controls that provides the convenience of a quick selection but their small dot “on” indicators are not easily visible from the driving position angle. The rest of the interior is more or less what you would expect from a practical crossover.
Flat seats make for easy ingress and egress, the large steering wheel (taken from the Silverado) is comfortable to hold and its controls are logically arranged and have a crisp engagement, and forward visibility is decent. The infotainment screen is placed high in the dash and is actually tilted rearward to prevent any sun glare – but doesn’t eliminate seeing your hand – and its display is impressively crisp which is supremely advantageous when using the high-definition surround-view camera. The multi-media system itself is fast at changing menus and offers customizable layouts while the sound through the Bose sound system will please those looking for a lot of bass. Those sitting in the back will appreciate the added shoulder space (+3 inches) over the compact Equinox crossover and its rear cargo room is especially open and clean.
Getting out on the road, the Blazer shows what it’s really made of – a crossover at heart. The engine is plenty strong and can effortlessly keep ahead of traffic around town or on the highway but it’s not suitable for a legitimate sports car. It prefers to live in the lower half of its speed range to avoid getting buzzy and its transmission also deserves praise for never getting confused and always willing to kick down a few gears when necessary. The all-wheel-drive system provides a unique front-wheel drive-only mode for maximum efficiency along with an automatic, Sport, Off-Road, and Towing modes – the last three of which are a bit silly considering the Blazer’s chassis setup and capabilities. All put together, the Blazer earns an EPA-estimated 21 mpg combined which is on par with other V6-powered crossovers.
The chassis is very much like the drivetrain in that it would much rather take things easy. Around town the suspension feels mature with its body motions always kept in check and on the highway, the sharp impacts are nicely isolated and the overall atmosphere is pretty relaxed. But throw in a high-speed dip or a low-speed road hump, and the rear suspension quickly runs out of travel and will give you a swift slap in the back – and that’s with no one in the back seat.
Whether or not the Blazer is for you depends on your expectations for a $50k crossover. Aside from its looks, it’s very much your average five-passenger crossover. It obviously doesn’t have the off-road chops of its legendary namesake but it also doesn’t have the goods to deliver on the sporty pretext of its exterior and interior styling. For those who are looking to split the size of the Equinox and the large Traverse and would like something with a hefty dose of pizzaz, the Blazer makes its case as a worthy candidate.