Many Faces, One Great Drive – 2019 Chevrolet Blazer

STORY: SEYTH MIERSMA

We thought we’d share this recent article from “New Roads” – A Chevrolet Owners Magazine.

Looks, capability, and driving joy: Every version of the all-new Chevrolet Blazer has big personality. Should you care anything about cars, you’ve probably stopped for lunch in a sleepy village like the one we recently found. Placed handily between two great sections of road, in a landscape of green, wooded hills and unhurried back roads, the little town is the perfect place to grab some lunch after a great morning of spirited driving. You probably don’t expect to make the effort in your typical SUV, however.

Within 30 minutes of heading out in the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer to one of our favorite “good driving roads,” we broke into smiles as we confidently steered the vehicle into another sloped corner. The newest member of Chevrolet’s family of SUVs doesn’t just look the part—this thing likes to go.

Of course, you get that impression even when the SUV is standing still. The athleticism of the vehicle is a fine payoff for the Blazer’s sporting good looks. We drove the energetic Blazer RS for most of the day, but its impressive performance can actually be had in two very distinct top-level trims: the RS and the refined Blazer Premier.

And while all three variants (including Blazer’s signature look) are under-girded with interior space, technology, and driving pleasure, the difference between the Premier and the RS creates very distinct vibes for wholly different drivers.

The exterior of the Blazer Premier shows an evocative evolution of Chevrolet design language. Think of Premier as a code word for premium, as this trim level executes design in a way you might expect to see from a luxury brand. The prominent grille—flanked by slim, modern lighting elements—is accented by bright work for an upscale appeal. Overall, this subtle design gives the exterior the feeling of an athlete in a well-tailored suit: confident no matter what the situation might call for.

John Cafaro, who is executive director of Chevrolet global design, summed it up nicely: “The Blazer has attitude. The high belt line and tight proportions with dramatic sculpting also enable the athletic stance with attitude.”

The Premier take on the interior—with piano black and chrome accents—puts an emphasis on material quality and craftsmanship. As Cafaro puts it, “We offer a unique personality for each trim and push the limits of what the interior can be through a wide range of choices achieved through color and interior decor.”

To call the Blazer RS eye-catching is to trade in understatement, as the bold exterior theme and great proportions are almost impossible to miss. The progressive sheet metal design should advance thinking about an SUV in any form, but the blacked-out, energetic look of the RS turns the amps to 11. The dark accents, complemented by available 21-inch gloss black wheels, give Blazer RS a wholly modern vision. The sum of the parts also reinforces the surprising agility we discovered on the road.

“It looks commanding on the road while fulfilling the promise of versatility at the heart of every Chevy crossover and SUV,” says Cafaro.

The moodiness of the exterior translates to the interior treatment as well. Jet Black, leather-appointed seating surfaces are punctuated by bold red accents, making for a cabin that feels a bit like a sports car cockpit without sacrificing space, comfort, or amenities.

You’ll find versatility in all three forms of the Blazer. The second row can be moved to optimize for either rear-seat leg room or cargo space, so you’ll be covered if you’re going out with friends or packing the back with groceries for a big party at home. Those seats also recline, or fold flat to open up maximum cargo capacity—a whopping 64.2 cubic feet for you stats hounds.

Speaking of packing, the RS and Premier are both equipped with the Cargo Management System (the first on a Chevrolet vehicle), and its utility is evident. We’ve always liked cargo nets to secure storage areas, but this rail system with an adjustable cargo fence takes that idea even further by dividing the cargo area to fit your stuff and help keep it from moving around.

Truth be told, taking the scenic route instead of the highway is where the Blazer really separates itself from the class. As much of a standout as a driver as it is a styling statement, this SUV offers pleasingly precise handling characteristics. The RS trim delivers even sportier handling capability—thanks to its quicker ratio steering system and optional 21-inch tires—to appreciate on your favorite twisty road.

It was hard to find something not to like on our tester with its available all-wheel drive. The Blazer RS was the picture of poise as we motored over wood-lined lanes, exhibiting the kind of driving manners that you might not expect. Better still, when we switched the vehicle into the Sport mode on the available Traction Mode Select system, the all-wheel drive system allowed for exceptional delivery of power out of a turn.

Clearly, the suspension and chassis tuning have been matched to the potent 3.6-liter V6 available engine (standard on RS and Premier). With 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque available, taking the long way home becomes a smile-generating experience. And though the 3.6-liter V6 may be the power champ, the essential athletic character of the Blazer isn’t lost with the standard 2.5-liter engine, either.

Any version of the new Blazer offers common goods like excellent ride, an ultra-quiet cabin, and a tremendous list of standard and optional amenities. But with the huge variety of character between the signature Blazer look, RS, and Premier, the most challenging facet might just be picking one.