On June 21, 2018, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, Chevrolet gathered a group of dealers and journalists in an event space in Atlanta, Georgia to reveal a new vehicle. Standing onstage in front of a draped vehicle, General Motors North America President and head of Chevrolet Global Alan Batey helped build the anticipation by reminding the assembled group about the hot SUV market, and Chevy’s strong position with its current lineup of Trax, Equinox, Traverse, Tahoe and Suburban. Within that band of vehicles, there’s a thin gap between Equinox and Traverse that he believes still has space for a new entry. When the silk was pulled, the draped vehicle was revealed to be the all-new 2019 Chevrolet Blazer.
Blazer is a name that has roots in Chevrolet’s not-too-distant past. For two generations (1969 – 1972 and 1973 – 1991), Chevy sold a truck-based two-door SUV that competed head-to-head with the Ford Bronco (1966 – 1996), Dodge Ramcharger (1974 – 1994, 1999 – 2002), and International Harvester Scout (1961 – 1980).
The new Blazer is a completely different animal, a four-door, five-passenger (two-row) mid-size unibody crossover vehicle designed to compete with the likes of the Nissan Murano and Ford Edge.
Blazer’s exterior design is bolder than Equinox, but shares the same basic and familiar crossover shape. Its most striking features are right up front. LED daytime running lights form eyebrows at the top of the fenders, while HID headlamps are inset low on the fascia, where you might expect to find foglamps. The lighting placement is unique among Chevy’s crossovers, but is reminiscent of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee – a front-end design that was the source of some controversy when it was revealed in 2013, and has been revised to a more conventional arrangement for the 2018 model year.
Blazer wears an athletic, sculptural hood and strong body lines. One notable line flows from the front fender along the shoulder of the vehicle, then kicks upward at the rear, behind the back-side door. Detailed LED taillamps with an Easter egg Chevy Bowtie dress the rear corners. A nicely sized fixed rear windshield is at the top half of the liftgate, which will be a hands-free power-operated unit in upper trim levels. 18-inch aluminum wheels will be standard, with wheels up to 21 inches available.
Inside, a clean, uncluttered dash is layered before the driver and front passenger. Sporty round HVAC vents promise good air flow and directionality, and lend a retro feel to the interior. At first glance, materials and textures look first-rate, with exposed stitching providing a feel of craftsmanship and quality. Automatic heated steering wheel and automatic heated/ventilated front seats will be available, programmed to work with Remote Start. Heated outboard rear seats will be available on Premier and RS models. Wireless charging and six USB ports will also be available features. 4G LTE Wi-Fi (with a 1-month/3GB data trial), Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and an eight-inch color touchscreen running Chevrolet Infotainment 3 are standard.
The cargo area in Premier and RS models will have a standard Cargo Management System, a clever rail and fence setup that will be a welcome first for Chevy SUVs. A small amount of underfloor storage is provided in available space around the temporary spare tire. An electronic-locking glove box (the first for Chevrolet) will be available, sized to hold a small handbag.
Two engine choices will be offered at launch: a standard Ecotec 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine (193 hp/188 lb-ft of torque) and an available 3.6-liter V6 (305 hp/269 lb-ft of torque), both with direct gasoline injection and stop/start technology, connected to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel-drive is available. An advanced twin-clutch all-wheel drive system is available on upper trim RS and Premier models.
V6-equipped models will be capable of towing up to 4,500 lbs. An available Hitch View camera and Hitch Guidance system will help drivers to align the Blazer hitch with a trailer without a second person’s assistance.
Pricing for the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer has not yet been announced, but will presumably begin between Equinox’s $23,580 starting price and Traverse’s $29,930 base. Trim levels will probably include a base Blazer, along with the announced RS and Premier. Chevrolet predicts that the Blazer will arrive at U.S. dealerships in early 2019.