Model tested: 2020 Chevy Blazer Premier AWD
Engine: 3.6-liter DOHC, SIDI V6
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
Torque: 270 lb.-ft.
EPA ratings: 18/city, 25/highway, 21/combined
Base Price: $45,600
As tested: $49,060
Overview: In 2019, GM revived a nameplate that hasn’t been around since 2005 — the Chevy Blazer. However, the new version isn’t the rugged, body-on-frame, truck-based SUV its predecessor was, but a comfortable, midsize, crossover SUV with front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive. Having owned the Blazer’s identical GMC sibling in the ’90s, I was ambivalent about the new Blazer. That was a mistake.
Walkaround: Sitting high with a wide and aggressive stance, big wheels and flared fenders, the Blazer showcases clever body lines and eye-catching details. With high-mounted taillights and blacked-out trim over the high beltline, the roof appears to float on its rear pillars. Our Premier model test-driver featured a chrome-accented grille. However, grilles vary depending upon the four different trim levels.
Interior: The Blazer’s cabin is driver-centric, boasting plenty of room for five adults. Symmetrical groupings of buttons flank the 8-inch touchscreen housing the smooth-working infotainment system. Seats could be more comfortable, although there are enough adjustments for most drivers to find a comfortable position. However, taller drivers may find the steering wheel a bit close. In upper trim levels like our Premier, leather eight-way power front seats can be heated and cooled. Rear-seat headroom is good and legroom exceptional, with the rear bench sliding both ways to accommodate cargo and passenger room as needed. Cargo space behind the rear seat totals 30.5 cubic feet, growing to 64.2 with seats folded flat. Liftover height isn’t bad.
Behind the Wheel: The V6 acceleration is good, thanks to the 308 horses and well-programmed nine-speed automatic — despite the Blazer’s 2-ton weight. This Blazer won’t remind anyone of the old version, but sharp handling highlighted by road manners that feel more sedan-like than SUV allow the Blazer to track well through curves. In any Blazer, the driver can twist a knob to quicken steering, shift points and throttle response. A more sophisticated AWD system, with a twin-clutch rear differential that can shift torque between the rear wheels — to improve handling and traction — is available on RS and Premier models. The V-6 Blazer can tow up to 4,500 pounds.
Bottom Line: The 2020 Chevy Blazer delivers strong V-6 acceleration and generous passenger room. This isn’t your father’s Blazer, but it isn’t bad.