Entry price: $28,800
Price as tested: $41,595
This week, we’re driving the all-new 2020 Chevrolet Blazer, arriving with AWD mechanicals in 3LT trim. Although Blazer took a few years off prior to this all new generation, anyone who is a fan of SUVs and Crossovers surely remember the original Blazer, which debuted back in 1969 before the nomenclature SUV and Crossover existed.
Several of my friends owned those first generation Blazers, which were dubbed K5 and built on the full-size Chevrolet pickup chassis. They were big sellers at dealer showrooms, offering consumers a truck like experience in 4x4 trim that also dubbed as people movers thanks to full-size rear seating. This design lasted until 1995, when General Motors decided to rename the Blazer a Tahoe and then downsize the original K5 Blazer by building it on a smaller S10 pickup frame. Both the Blazer and GMC Jimmy were successful through 2005 when both evolved into the Trailblazer and GMC Envoy and then phased out by 2010.
Enter the all-new 2020 Blazer, a midsize design that fits right in the middle of the original K5 and S10 Blazer in dimensions. Additionally, gone is any tie to the past boxy-styled Blazers as sporty and, aerodynamic are adjectives used in discussing the crossover with onlookers. Bottom line is the Blazer is now more like a Chevy Camaro than anything else, and I’ll even go as far to say that the new Chevrolet Blazer is a “Camaro 4x4” that sits several inches taller yet with true sports car styling.
Built on a unibody chassis and lacking many of the heavy duty 4x4 essentials, don’t expect the new Blazer to be a serious off-road warrior. Instead, the 2020 Blazer is excellent on dirt roads and those wintery snow days, but leave the serious off-road excursions to the full-size Chevrolet Tahoe. Clearly, the sporty Blazer is built with family transport in mind, something one could never say about the Camaro. However, the bloodline is evident as even the legendary RS (Rally Sport) trim that appeared back in Camaro’s initial 1967 year is a trim option on the new Blazer.
As for pricing, the entry front drive L trim starts at $28,800, but doesn’t offer many of the high tech features and safety items consumers now desire. Trims move upward to 1LT at $33,495; 2LT at $33,995; 3LT at $38,195; RS at $41,695; and top level Premier at $43,895. The L and 1LT do not offer an AWD version while all others do.
Under the hood of our 3LT tester sits one of three engines available in the new Blazer, specifically a 2.0 Turbocharged inline-4 that is standard on the 2LT and 3LT trims. It produces 230 horses and 258 torque connected to a 9-speed automatic transmission, the latter utilized across the line. The lower priced models rely on Chevy’s 2.5-liter fuel injected-4 that puts out 193 horses and 188 torque and delivers identical 21 and 27 estimated EPA numbers as the turbo-4. The tow capacity for the 4-cylinder models is just 1,500 pounds, so if you need more towing of up to 4,500 pounds, opt for the RS or Premier trims which come standard with the 3.6-liter V6 where 308 horsepower and 270 torque will get the job done. However, the V6 will set you back to 18 city and 25 highway fuel mileage in 4x4 trim. The V6 is also available as an option for both 2LT and 3LT models but not available on the L and 1LT.
Outwardly, Blazer’s raised element hood with a large Chevy bowtie badge on the grille attracts initial attention. The aerodynamic design features a well thought out front end with the daylight running lamps situated up top while the LED headlights are in the center of the motif. The Camaro tri tier style grille is well done and finished off with lower fog lamps on each side. (The RS trim features a ZL1 Camaro style grille in my opinion).
Similar again to the Camaro is the new Blazer’s wide stance and low profile for an SUV/Crossover. The design flows well along the side and then moves upward behind the glossy black C-pillar. With a ground clearance of over 7 inches, it’s way easier for people of all ages to get in and out of while at the rear, everything lines up nicely with a sporty power liftgate featuring a top spoiler and impressive rear-tail lamp pattern.
Inside, be prepared for a well-designed effort. I immediately noticed the four climate control vents, the center two which act as temperature controls with a slide either right or left. The seating is good and quiet is the norm for the new Blazer. Most everything modern and techie come standard on the 3LT, as leather touches abound while things like Apple and Android compatibility are included. I especially like the keyless entry button on each door handle, remote start, side pockets on console and an outstanding gauge cluster that also harkens back a bit to the Camaro days. Other notables are 4G Wi-Fi, SiriusXM, USB access front and rear, heated seats, 6-speaker audio and even a power glove box. (Your Chevrolet salesperson will explain everything).
Only one option came with our tester, a $1,400 Sound & Technology package that adds an enhanced 4.2-inch color gauge/infotainment cluster, Chevy “Infotainment 3” Premium with Navigation, an 8-speaker Bose premium audio system, 120-Volt power outlet, two USB data ports, and the high definition Surround Safety Vision. This option adds even more to the standard info accessories, which include an 8-inch diagonal main center infotainment display and feel it’s worth the money.
On the highway expect a more car-like ride with traction coming from the automatic 4x4 system (no transfer case) and 18-inch tires on bright silver aluminum wheels. All new Blazers also earn a 5-Star overall government crash safety rating while standard safety items include seven airbags, lane change alert, rear cross traffic, rear park assist and teen driver information to name a few.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 112.7 inches, 4,123 lb. curb weight, up to 64 cu. ft of cargo space available with seats down, 7.4 inch ground clearance and a 21.7-gallon fuel tank.
Currently, there are several Chevrolet Blazer dealer incentives, some up to a $2,500 rebate, so make sure you give this new crossover a test drive. It’s more car than SUV, but that seems to be where the industry is heading these days.
From front to back, the new Blazer is a winner.
Likes: Excellent sporty design; roomy interior, lots of cargo room, V6 available, quiet ride.
Dislikes: Fuel mileage not great, pricing gets expensive quick, lack of safety on entry model, turbo engine could use more ponies.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc. Contact him at email@example.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.
Test Drive column: All-new 2020 Chevrolet Blazer
Entry price: $28,800