The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer is here and, though it may be an old name, the automaker hasn’t allowed nostalgia to sway its hand too strongly. Resolutely focused on actual five-seat crossover buyers rather than Blazer purists, it may bear the classic nameplate but the car behind it is something very different – yet familiar at the same time.
Think “Camaro Crossover”
It didn’t take long after Chevrolet whipped off the silk sheets for the design comparisons to start, and there’s clearly some common thinking going on between the automaker’s sports car and SUV teams. The similarities between the 2019 Blazer and the 2019 Camaro are stark, with the crossover looking a little like a taller, stretched version of the coupe. However, that needn’t be a bad thing.
In fact, while the 2019 Camaro proved more than a little controversial in its styling – particularly when it came to its huge grille – the proportions seem to suit the new Blazer much more. Chevy has kept the squinting headlamps of the coupe, with the Blazer using LEDs for its daylight running lights and HID for the high/low-beams.They’re all the more dramatic in comparison to the deep, trapezoidal-framed grille.
The Camaro’s sharply-creased surfacing looks great carried over to the new Blazer, too. From the side, there are definite hints of Lexus RX – perhaps no bad thing, given that’s an SUV from a class or two above – while the rear has a wide-planted sturdiness from the rear-3/4 that could well make it the new Blazer’s best angle. Chevy will be distinguishing each trim level, initially the RS and Premier but with more to come, with its own styling features and finish materials, too.
There’s a lot of Chevy DNA – and parts-bin sharing – going on
The 2019 Blazer doesn’t just look like a Camaro. Climb inside and there are some seriously familiar parts taking center stage on the dashboard. The infotainment system, for instance, looks like it has been pulled straight out from Chevy’s coupe.
The same goes for the distinctive circular HVAC vents. In fact, that whole center portion of the Blazer dashboard looks a lot like what you’ll find in front of you in the Camaro. Of course, since the crossover has a higher dashboard overall, it does throw in some useful extra space under the vents for your phone.
Chevrolet’s sharing is more than skin-deep, mind. The 2019 Blazer is based on GM’s C1 platform in its regular-wheelbase form: that’s the same architecture that you’d find underpinning the Cadillac XT5 and the second-gen GMC Acadia. It’s unlikely that we’ll see a variation on the Blazer based on the C1 long-wheelbase version, mind, with a third row of seats. For that, Chevrolet would rather sell you a larger Traverse.
One part nostalgia, one part cynicism
Is this a “true” Blazer? Fans of the original will probably (loudly) argue no. Nobody really expected Chevrolet to deliver a new body-on-frame SUV like the old Blazer, but the 2019 model seems to have taken the reality of its audience to heart.
That means all-wheel drive is an option, with front-wheel drive the status quo. Even the AWD version will try to disconnect its rear wheels most of the time, in the name of economy. Chevrolet hasn’t revealed any of the stats off-roaders need – like wading abilities or clearance – but we’re fully expecting the 2019 Blazer to be more at home mounting the curb in the Walmart parking lot than heading into the mud.
For Chevy, that’s just common sense. For all that the enthusiasts might have wanted a “true” Blazer, the target audience will likely only test the AWD crossover’s talents when avoiding wheel-spin on icy roads. Meanwhile, dipping liberally into the GM parts bins – the cabin and trunk are chock full of borrowed components from GMC and Cadillac, among others – should help keep production and development costs down.
Familiar names, new cars
Nobody ever said the auto industry didn’t enjoy reminiscing, and we’re facing a couple of high profile “blasts from the past” when it comes to SUV names. Chevrolet’s 2019 Blazer is only one of them: Ford is also bringing back the Bronco, much to the excitement of off-road enthusiasts. However, these won’t be direct competitors
The retro resurrection may be similar, but the premise is very different. Ford has already promised that the new Bronco will be a body-on-frame 4×4, borrowing the underpinnings of the Ranger pickup truck. That ought to keep the purists happy, even if most everyday drivers don’t actually need it. We’ll need to wait until 2020 to see exactly what Ford has cooked up
We won’t know 2019 Blazer value until later
We’ll find out a lot sooner exactly how affordable the 2019 Blazer will be, though. Chevrolet says the new crossover will go on sale in early 2019, with pricing to be announced closer to that point. At the moment it’s showing off the more expensive trims like the sporty RS and the fancier Premier, but there’ll be lower-end models eventually that do away with the bigger wheels and some of the cabin niceties.