Update: Since this first drive was published in February 2019, we have finished testing.

See the complete Chevrolet Blazer road test.

General Motors has revived the decades-old “Blazer” name and attached it to a new SUV that slots between the compact Equinox and three-row Traverse. The Blazer has a more modern focus on styling, tech, and convenience features than ruggedness. 

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Competition in the two-row midsized SUV segment is growing, with the new Honda Passport and redesigned Hyundai Santa Fe joining the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano.

We recently bought our own Blazer and find that it offers a comfortable driving experience wrapped up in a stylish, premium-feel package.

These are our first impressions.

2019 Chevrolet Blazer front driving

What we bought: 2019 Chevrolet Blazer 3.6L Leather
Powertrain: 305-hp, 3.6-liter V6 engine; nine-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
MSRP: $40,200
Destination fee: $1,195
Options: $1,895
Total cost: $43,290

What We Like . . . So Far

The Blazer has an appealing exterior styling that continues into the interior, which has a number of premium touches, such as a padded dashboard and handsome stitching.

Standard equipment includes an 8-inch touch screen, with buttons and knobs for common functions. The Blazer sports GM’s most recent infotainment system, which we found easy to navigate, and includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. The infotainment system also comes with lots of shortcuts that drivers can use through the steering-wheel controls. Other high-tech touches include a live look out a rear camera in the rearview mirror, which drivers can easily revert to a conventional mirror if it's too distracting.

We found the Blazer to have a firm, controlled ride and a quiet cabin. Its handling is competent overall—the Blazer isn’t as agile as the Ford Edge but is better than the Nissan Murano, its two top competitors. The transmission works well, complementing the engine's smooth power delivery.

The front seats offer decent comfort and support. A flat floor greets passengers in the rear seats, although we think the space is slightly tight for this size SUV.

The cargo area offers plenty of space to haul lots of stuff. 

2019 Chevrolet Blazer interior

What We Don't Like

The Blazer’s eye-catching exterior styling has its downside. For example, we found that the sloping roofline had a big impact on rear visibility, with the large rear roof pillars blocking much of the view out back. This makes the inclusion of the optional surround-view camera a welcome addition.

Overall, the controls are straightforward, but the climate system's hard buttons are hidden under a ledge in the center stack, which makes them hard to see and operate. The system’s large, round air vents (which are similar to the ones in the Chevrolet Camaro) also serve as rotary temperature adjustments. It takes a little getting used to at first, but drivers will quickly get the hang of it. Still, we also have some reservations about these low-mounted vents, because (in the Camaro) they did a better job cooling our elbows and knees instead of our upper body.

Important safety features such as forward collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB) are available only on higher Premier and RS trimmed Blazers—and even then they are still only optional. We’d prefer them as standard equipment at all levels.  

What We'll Keep Our Eyes On

At first glance, our Blazer seems nicely equipped. Our V6 Leather model came well-equipped with blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert, but conspicuously lacks FCW and AEB. Our $43,000 Blazer also lacks features commonly found in this segment, such as a sunroof.

This is a new Blazer for a new era. But can this sleeker design carry the torch of its fondly remembered predecessors? 

See the complete Chevrolet Blazer road test.

2019 Chevrolet Blazer rear