AUTO REVIEW: 2019 Chevy Blazer Is Here — And Nothing Like What You Remember

(Detroit Free Press/TNS) -
chevy blazer
Chevrolet introduced the 2019 Blazer during a special event in Atlanta, Georgia, last June. (Steve Fecht for Chevrolet/TNS)

The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer midsize SUV is poised to jump to the head of its class, thanks to great looks, a roomy and comfortable five-passenger interior and good performance.

If you remember the boring old Blazer and TrailBlazer midsize SUVs, forget them now. The 2019 Blazer doesn’t share a nut or bolt with them. It’s long, elegant and surprisingly luxurious — Chevrolet’s answer to people who fear booming SUV sales will mean highways full of bland lookalikes.

The new Blazer just started showing up in dealerships, but I recently spent a couple of days driving Blazers in and around San Diego, on routes that included twisty mountain roads, steep hills, flat out highway runs and rush-hour traffic.

The Blazer’s handling and steering were responsive, making it feel like a smaller vehicle in heavy traffic. The ride is comfortable, and the cabin is quiet at highway speeds and over rough pavement.

The styling is unique, with narrow LED running lights, a sharp nose, fast windshield and roof and sculpted sides. It’s one of the few SUVs you’re likely to recognize 100 yards down the road.

chevy blazer
2019 Chevrolet Blazer (Jessica Lynn Walker/Chevy/TNS)

Two Engines, Many Features

Blazer prices start at $29,995 for a front-wheel drive model with a 193-horsepower 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. I tested a well-equipped Blazer RS, the sporty model with all-wheel drive and the optional 308-hp 3.6L V6. A smooth nine-speed automatic transmission is standard equipment.

Chevy expects the Blazer to compete in a growing new segment of high-styled five-passenger midsize SUVs. It fits in the lineup between the compact Equinox and three-row Traverse.

Blazer prices can approach those of the family-oriented Traverse, but Chevrolet doesn’t expect the two to compete based on the idea that buyers of five-seat SUVs are more interested in style than practicality.

The Blazer RS’s sporty handling and responsive handling should win over buyers who have been skeptical about switching to an SUV. It’s at least as much fun to drive as the front-wheel-drive midsize and large sedans automakers are abandoning in favor of SUVs.

The Blazer’s main competitors are likely to be the Ford Edge, Nissan Murano and Honda Passport, another old name that’s coming back attached to a new model this year.

The Blazer’s interior has the head and shoulder room of a large luxury sedan, and plenty of cargo space. The doors, dash — just about everywhere you touch — is wrapped in soft materials. Infotainment included a WiFi hotspot, wireless charging and an 8-inch touch screen.

chevy blazer
2019 Chevrolet Blazer (Jessica Lynn Walker/Chevy/TNS)

Other features include:

4,500-pound towing capacity

Sport-tuned all-wheel drive for the RS for improved handling and response

Faster steering on the RS that less sporty models

Surround view video

High-definition video rearview mirror

Adaptive cruise control

Forward collision alert

Autonomous front emergency braking with pedestrian detection

Lane-keeping alert and assist

18-, 20- or 21-inch wheels

Sliding and reclining rear seat

Dual-pane panoramic power sunroof

Standard HID headlights and LED daytime running lights

2019 Chevrolet Blazer at a glance

Price range: $29,995-$45,600

Blazer RS AWD tested

3.6-liter V6 engine

9-speed automatic transmission

Power: 308 hp @ 6,700 rpm; 270 lb-ft of torque @5,000 rpm,

Towing capacity: 4,500 pounds

EPA fuel economy rating: 20 mpg city/24 highway/22 combined

Price as tested $48,270 (excluding destination charges)

Assembly location: Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.