First Look – Chevrolet Announces 2019 Blazer Two-Row Crossover
“Lifestyle” Sport-Ute to Do Battle With Ford Edge and Nissan Murano
The legendary Blazer nameplate has been rumored to return to the Chevrolet stable for years, but the company just confirmed it for 2019. Now attached to a two-row crossover, die-hard Chevy fans might be concerned the formerly off-road–ready Blazer name is being sullied, and we find ourselves in that camp. We wish Chevrolet had picked another heritage name for its new CUV—the original Nomad was a stylish, two-row wagon, and Chevy could have even branded it as an SUV coupe and resurrected the Monte Carlo name. But regardless, the 2019 Blazer does have some distinctive styling working in its favor.
It’s clear the company is trying to set the 2019 Blazer apart from other midsize two-row crossovers from non-luxury brands. A bold front graphic—which bears a strong resemblance to Lexus’ “spindle grille” styling—leaves a distinctive first impression. In true Chevrolet form, the grille is bisected by a bar that houses the Bow Tie emblem, with winglike structures extending out toward the upper lighting elements. Like the pre-facelift Jeep Cherokee or the new-for-2019 Hyundai Santa Fe, the Blazer makes use of high-mounted LED running lamps, with standard HID headlights situated lower in the fascia. But unlike those two slightly insectoid-looking crossovers, the Chevy looks much more purposeful and aggressive.
The side profile is equally bold. Thick character lines emphasize the front and rear wheel arches, while an upward swoosh originating from the front doors and terminating on the rear spoiler adds some visual flash. While the front end leaves Lexus impressions, the side profile is all Acura, resembling the all-new RDX thanks to the blacked-out D-pillar trim and triangular rear quarter glass. Standard 18-inch wheels should be large enough, but for those who must have more, the new Blazer will be available with massive 21-inchers (seen here on the sporty RS model, though similarly large wheels will also be standard on the top-spec Premier).
The rear end features clean lines that incorporate some Chevy design cues (we see a bit of Impala and Malibu in those taillights) while evolving the company's styling as well. It's from this angle that we also see some of the SUV's bodyside surfacing, which visually reduces the Blazer's mass and makes it look lighter and more athletic.
Powering the new crossover will be a standard 2.5L I-4 with 193 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque. It should post reasonable fuel economy figures, thanks in part to the Blazer’s standard nine-speed automatic transmission. The optional engine will be a familiar 3.6L V-6, producing 305 hp and 269 lb-ft and mated to a similar nine-speed auto—towing capacity for the big engine is pegged at a respectable 4,500 pounds. Predictably, all-wheel drive will be an option, and Chevrolet partially honors the Blazer’s storied reputation by offering Traction Select, a terrain management tool that optimizes throttle and electronic intervention for a variety of situations.
With seating for five and up to 64.2 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded, the Blazer is sized to compete with Ford’s sporty Edge and Nissan’s stylish Murano. The Edge, which has been heavily revised for 2019, offers more cargo space and a more powerful optional EcoBoost V-6 (reserved for the ST model), but its styling is much more sedate than either the aggressive Blazer or expressive Murano. Nissan’s offering, meanwhile, has been on the market for several years now and is showing its age slightly, but it practically invented the two-row lifestyle crossover segment and has a loyal clientele.
Working in the Chevy’s favor are towing capacity and fresh new styling, but we’ll only know how successful the company will be after the Blazer goes on sale in early 2019. Pricing, fuel economy, specifications, and options are still to be confirmed, but we expect it to start at less than $30,000, rising to $45,000 when kitted out with the V-6 and all the bells and whistles.