Putting the Sport Back in Sport Utility: 2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS
Who say’s driving a crossover has to be boring. It’s not news that most of crossovers out there uphold a ‘soccer mom’ moto with a Starbucks addiction. Sadly however, we cannot deny they are incredibly useful and when it comes to the family, they are practical. While sport cars are pretty to look at and fun to drive, you can’t fit a car seat in the back or haul that science project you put together for your 8-year old last night. However, according to Chevrolet, why not make the best of both worlds.
With Chevrolet bringing back the ‘Blazer’ nameplate, it certainly has drawn up some controversy as to “why” and “how could they” considering the heritage of the extreme off-road glory in the 80’s and 90’s. Since I’m the writer of this article that suffers from the millennial era, the Blazer I know saw its fair share of shopping malls and morning school drop offs. So pardon me when I say, “so what.” This latest generation, they’ve scratched the off-roader idea and gone more Camaro influenced, bringing the sport back into sport utility.
There is no surprise that new Blazer rather strikes home to the male influence with a muscular physique and clean lines. Presenting Camaro-like aesthetic, the Blazer marks it’s as the sports car of the crossover market. With a sharp angular body, bulging panels, and attractive curvatures, the Blazer is certainly one to stand out from the rest. Available in 6 different variants, the ‘RS’ is the sportiest of them all featuring a black mesh grille, blacked out badges and huge 20-inch black wheels.
Starting at $29,995, the entry Blazer ‘L’ doesn’t lose its charming demeanor. Even with a plain black grill and 18-inch wheels, its charismatic structure supports a masculine approach. With the ‘RS’ being the more aggressor, it starts at $41,795 and comes standard with the 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V-6. The Blazer does feature an entry-level 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 193-horsepower – it’s only available on the first two trim levels with the ‘L’ and ‘2.5L Cloth’ starting at $33,495.
Opting for the more powerful 3.6-liter V-6 however, that’s where the likeness begins. With all-wheel drive being a $2900 option, our specific tester was sure to pull out all the tricks. That meant it had 308-horsepower shuffling through its 9-speed automatic in a crisp, orderly fashion. Unlike a traditional all-wheel drive platform, the only way to get power waddling through all four-wheels is to physically engage the all-wheel drive system choosing between On-Road AWD, Sport AWD, Snow, and Haul – when none of those are engaged, 100-percent of the Blazers power is transferred to the front wheels. Now, with 270 lb-ft of torque conveying to the pavement, the Blazer truly handles its power well in an efficient manner. Getting to 60 mph takes just over 6 seconds with no torque steer from the front wheels.
Crossovers have a tendency to drive like a whale with handling precision of a can of cheese whiz. The Blazer feels like it explores a different agenda. The steering is nicely weighted with a hefty feedback and decent on road feel. The suspension, while a bit on the rougher side, handles body control decently and provides a pleased balance of comfort and sporty vibe. Given its size and weight, it doesn’t feel like a bloated sports car – it’s comfortably well controllable with minimum drama from the chassis and when push comes to shove the front-wheels holds its own alleviating dramatic understeer. With sport car vibes, switch the drive mode into Sport AWD, inceases responsiveness from the gearbox, and throttle engagement, and power gets evenly distributed for maximum control.
Given that the Blazer is driven by six-cylinders, fuel economy isn’t quite its forte. Averaging 18 mpg in the city, our sampler was 4 mpg below the rated EPA. However, once out on the highway, its EPA 28 highway mpg was achievable after a 200 mile loop.
Continuing the Camaro theme, the interior heavily conveys its similar design scheme. With our RS model optioned up, it held a premium state filled with soft touch materials and attractive use of black and red accents. The black leathers seats brought a unique flair as each perforated hole was outline in a red dye that almost gives an optical illusion. There was no shortage of little special touches that separated the Blazer from the rest of the competition – like the dual-zone climate control being operated simply by rotating the vents. This also helps save space and provides a streamline look to the cabin.
Unlike most sports car, the Blazer didn’t need sport seats here to hold us snug – its standard seats were plenty comfortable and supportive for the journey ahead. Rear occupants won’t find much to complain with all the real-estate they have to occupy either.
Sadly, there is a price to pay for such handsomeness. Equipped with the $3,575 Enhanced Convenience Package, the Blazer was equipped with all the latest safety and driving assist features plus heated rear seats, its gimmicky camera rear view mirror, and memory seats with power adjustable steering wheel. Then there’s the $2495 Sun and Wheels Package that incorporate the massive panoramic sunroof and 21-inch gloss black wheels. In the end, this puts our Blazer over the $50,000 mark.
Despite the price, the Blazer offers that realm of practicality and fun-to-drive ingenuity. Without having to sacrifice too much of that sports car dream, the Blazer can be an adequate supplement to that that sportier lifestyle, and this one comes with a power lift tailgate.
Model: 2019 CHEVROLET BLAZER
Starting Price: $29,995
As Tested: $50,765 – ‘RS’ MODEL
FEATURING SUN & WHEELS PACKAGE AND ENHANCED CONVENIENCE & DRIVER CONFIDENCE II PACKAGE
Engine: 3.6-LITER V-6
Horsepower/Torque: 308-HORSEPOWER / 270 LB-FT TORQUE
Transmission: 9-SPEED AUTOMATIC
Drivetrain: ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
Fuel Economy: EPA RATED: 22-CITY / 28-HWY
(AS TESTED: 18 MPG COMBINED | 27.5 MPG-HWY – 200 MILE TEST)
Fuel Range: 410 MILES
0-60 MPH: ±6.0 SECONDS