2019 Chevrolet Blazer front on stage

Chevrolet has resurrected the Blazer name for an all-new SUV destined to slot between the compact Equinox and three-row Traverse.

The “Blazer” moniker was last affixed to a body-on-frame model derived from the S-10 pickup truck. Here it's used for a midsized crossover that takes aim at a popular—and crowded—market segment, with distinctive looks and a long roster of comfort and convenience features.

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The five-passenger 2019 Chevrolet Blazer has a good pedigree. The related Traverse stands atop our SUV road-test ratings with impressive room, comfort, refinement, and connectivity. The more closely related GMC Acadia also is a strong performer. But the lower-priced Equinox doesn’t quite deliver on its promise. The question remains: Which of these SUVs blazed the trail for the new Blazer?

2019 Chevrolet Blazer
What it competes with:
Ford Edge, Kia Sorento, Nissan Murano, Toyota Highlander
What it looks like: Sportier than the related Traverse, this modern crossover has a hint of a floating roof to the rear and Camaro inspiration at the front and interior.
Powertrains: 193-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder; 305-hp, 3.6-liter V6. Nine-speed automatic transmission.
Price: $29,995
On-sale date: January 2019

Outside

The Blazer is based on a platform that underpins the Equinox and is stretched for the Traverse, but this new model takes its own styling path. There's a floating roof aspect to the rear, akin to what you see on the Lexus RX and Nissan Murano. Chevrolet explains that the front end will range from the sporty, blacked-out look of the RS seen here to the brighter, chrome-accented Premier. All models will have HID headlamps and LED daytime running lights.

Dual exhaust outlets further convey a sporty attitude. Wheels will range from a standard 18 inches to 21 inches on the RS and Premier trims. A hands-free power liftgate will be standard on those top trims.

2019 Chevrolet Blazer interior

Inside

Among the details released about the interior is a common thread of keeping passengers warm and connected. Automatic heated steering wheel and heated/ventilated front seats tie in with the automatic climate control system to make adjustments as needed—a convenience that may be particularly appreciated with remote start. A simpler yet still clever convenience: The windows can be opened slightly via the key fob to allow heat to dissipate before entering. Top trims will offer heated outboard seats for the second row.

In addition to the latest infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, the Blazer will have up to six USB ports, wireless phone charging, and a subscription-based 4G LTE WiFi hot spot. Active noise cancelling is standard on all trim levels.

The cargo section will offer a rail-based system that allows the space to be configured and blocked off as needed to secure items. Think of this as a built-in way of creating storage dividers to keep grocery bags from rolling about.  

2019 Chevrolet Blazer cargo section

What Drives It

The Blazer will be offered in front- and all-wheel-drive configurations. As seen on other GM SUVs, Blazers with AWD will be able to be set to operate in strictly FWD as desired to bolster fuel economy.

There are two engines: a 193-hp four-cylinder and a 305-hp V6. Each engine is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. In the Traverse, we found the V6 combination delivered smooth power and quick acceleration. The transmission was unobtrusive. But fuel economy was just average.

With the V6, the Blazer will have a maximum tow capacity of 4,500 pounds. To aid trailering duties, the SUV will have a “hitch view” with its rearview camera that looks down at the hitch. Onscreen guidance can further help alignment with the hitch ball.  

Safety and Driver-Assist Systems

Forward-collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, and lane-keep assist will be available only on the RS and Premier trims. All trims will come with the Teen Driver feature that allows settings to be assigned to a key fob that encourage good driving and generate a report card. The base L trim level misses out on some assists, with the Blazer LT1 and higher gaining access to blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert. 

A rear camera mirror, used to display a rearward view from behind the vehicle, thereby avoiding potential obstruction by head restraints and passengers, is available on Blazer 3LT and higher. 

There are two “Driver Confidence” packages that bundle numerous safety and assist features, along with numerous convenience upgrades. This suggests gaining items like FCW and AEB will come at a price premium, on top of high-level trims. 

CR’s Take

As automakers ease away from offering full car lines, there will be a shift toward increasing SUV choices. Chevrolet is filling a hole in its own product line with this new model that promises to benefit from the established Equinox and Traverse. While the Equinox proved competent in our testing, the Traverse was shown to be something special, hinting at the potential for the Blazer.

We’ll have to wait for our formal road test to see where the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer stands in the SUV pantheon. For now, it looks like a promising new choice for midsized SUV shoppers, although one that limits access to desirable safety features. 

2019 Chevrolet Blazer rear