Rumours were already buzzing about the return of the Blazer, so when Chevrolet invited us for the unveiling of a mysterious new SUV, we knew exactly which vehicle it would be. The expectation was that the new Blazer would rival the Jeep Wrangler and future Ford Bronco for two reasons: first, its very name conjures the image of an authentic utility vehicle mounted on an independent chassis; second, the Wrangler is proving so profitable for FCA that other manufacturers are throwing their hats into the ring.
And yet, Chevrolet didn’t see it that way. According to Alan Batey, president of GM North America, the Jeep Wrangler’s market remains underdeveloped and joining it would be a step backward—something that GM has absolutely no interest in doing. As a result, the Blazer name now finds itself on a midsize crossover that’s aimed squarely at Ford Edge, Nissan Murano and Jeep Grand Cherokee buyers. Simply put, it’s a midsize five-seater that offers much the same as the GMC Acadia.
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In fact, don’t be surprised that the new Blazer uses the same technical components as the Acadia, including the chassis, engines and all-wheel drive system. However, it gets the company’s nine-speed automatic gearbox that—you guessed it—will also end up in the Acadia.
The art of seduction
What’s different is Chevrolet’s approach with the new Blazer, which is totally unlike GMC’s. Chevrolet aims to win over clients who care more about the image their vehicle projects. Hence the Blazer’s more slender and dynamic lines. While not overly innovative, this crossover sure is beautiful. And yet, the Blazer lacks a little originality. The A pillars are like those of the Ford Explorer and the front end is inspired directly by the new Hyundai Santa Fe or the previous Jeep Cherokee. The tail end draws an obvious parallel with the Mazda CX-5. The result is reminiscent of the elegant Range Rover Velar.
Set to launch at the beginning of 2019, the new Blazer will come in three trim levels. The basic version will have a 193-horsepower, 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine. The other two versions—RS and Premier—can be equipped with a 3.6-litre V6 producing 305 horsepower. Unfortunately, GM’s 2.0-litre turbo isn’t in the cards just yet, but maybe that could change if there’s enough demand for it.
As you’d expect, the cabin is nicely assembled, and Chevrolet’s attention to detail is even more noticeable in this vehicle than in the Traverse. The quality of the materials and meticulous presentation is an important feature of the Blazer, which could even surpass the GMC Acadia Denali in this regard. The equipment is also convincing, including the 4G LTE Wi-Fi and a multitude of safety gadgets and driving aids.
How much will the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer set you back? It’s a safe bet that its cost will be very similar to that of the GMC Acadia. Obviously, Chevrolet has yet to announce pricing—we can expect that information a few weeks prior to its introduction.