202011 Chevrolet Blazer
– Handsome styling
– Seating space and features
– Ride and handling
– Road noise at highway speeds
– No low-range gearing
– Few low-rent interior bits
The Chevy Blazer was quite a different over the last few decades. From the 1970s till the mid 90s, it was a popular two-door full-size offroader until it was replaced by the Tahoe. Concurrently, there was also a midsize Blazer offroader that ran from the 80s till the early 2000s, eventually replaced by the Trailblazer. So the nameplate was essentially dead until it was revived again for the 2020 model year in the form of a midsize 5-seater crossover.
The all-new Blazer competes in a niche with limited rivals, as most midsizers are a bit bigger to accommodate three rows of seating (which is a job left to the Equinox and the Traverse in Chevy’s line-up). Intended to be a “sporty” option among crossovers, the Blazer does pull off that image, but looks best in RS trim, with blacked out trim and huge dark wheels complementing the all-round LED lighting and sharply-cut body panels.
Stepping inside, the dash has a modern layout very similar to that of the Camaro, with hints of red to signify the RS trim. The moderately-bolstered leather seats have red stitching, and there is a matching leatherette wrap on the dash. However, excessive use of hard plastics on the doors and lower cabin panels detract from the ambience at this price point.
Space is very good, with ample rear legroom and headroom. There is no shortage of storage spaces or cup-holders, with a space under the infotainment stack for a wireless charger as well. But while the boot is generously proportioned, the overall volume is less than just about every rival.
There is also no lack of tech features, as the touchscreen includes everything from navigation and Bluetooth to Apply Carplay and Android Auto. Other notable features include 360-degree cameras, rear camera centre-mirror view and a panoramic glass roof. There are also paid-subscription services such as the Chevrolet Connected Services to control some features (such as locking the car) with your phone, as well as the OnStar concierge service.
Beyond the usual full set of airbags and stability control, available safety features include lane-keeping assist with lane departure warning, rear camera with cross-traffic alert, forward collision alert and adaptive cruise control with forward auto braking and front pedestrian braking.
Aside from a base 228 hp 2.0-litre turbo mated to front-wheel-drive models, the higher-spec engine is the 3.6-litre naturally-aspirated V6 that does duty in our all-wheel-drive RS version. It makes a solid 308 hp at 6700 rpm and 366 Nm of torque at 5000 rpm. Mated to a 9-speed automatic, the powertrain is a smooth performer — no turbo or DSG quirkiness that afflicts European crossovers — and is a bit of a rocket on the road.
The RS did the 0-100 kph run in 6.8 seconds during our warm-weather testing, although it feels quicker in mid-range acceleration — which is where you most need a strong kick — thanks to the abundance of gears.
Fuel economy hovers at around 14.5 litres/100 km (6.9 km/litre) in mixed driving, although we were prodding the throttle pedal more than we should. That V6 is a great engine that also does duty in the base Camaro.
Sharing a platform with Cadillac’s crossovers and featuring , the Blazer RS drives like a premium vehicle, with confidently stable handling that slips into safe understeer if you push it far towards its limits. Body roll is limited and well-controlled, and while the steering feel is mild, it has more than enough heft and accuracy to be enjoyable compared to, say, Hyundai’s staid offerings.
The Blazer rides well on long-distance trips, even with 20-inch alloys on the RS, but road noise becomes rather noticeable at highway speeds. Still, it’s easy enough to ignore the constant hum.
The Blazer has all-wheel-drive and has some extra ground clearance for all-weather capability, but it isn’t meant to be an offroader in the slightest. Still, you should be able to traverse beaches and gravel trails with a bit of care to avoid loose sand and steep approach angles.
The Blazer, at least in RS form, is a very entertaining alternative to a “fat” sports sedan such as a Nissan Maxima or a Dodge Charger R/T, and even drives better than some premium crossovers. While the oldest Blazers achieved somewhat of a “legend” status, the sporty new model isn’t going to be mentioned in the same breath by any real car enthusiasts. But it is exactly what the current market demands, and holds enough appeal to anyone who likes driving but needs practicality.
Dh 128,000-174,000Current Model Introduced in:
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