Today’s Chevy Blazer is quite a bit different from the iconic original that debuted in 1969, but many folks are happy to see that nameplate return. Years before the term “sport utility vehicle” was coined, the truck-based brute was a quintessential example of that class. It began as an offshoot of the full-sized Chevrolet pickup, gained a compact S-10 variant (known as the S-10 Blazer) in the early ‘80s, and enjoyed a few decades of strong sales before General Motors axed it in 2005. Now, it’s been revitalized for the 2020 model year as a great-looking and nicely powered two-row crossover with available all-wheel drive. Although it joins a popular segment of vehicles that toe the line between crossover and SUV, the reborn Blazer doesn’t look like every other utility vehicle on the road. It flaunts a Camaro-like design that adds a hint of muscle to its contours, helping it hit the sweet spot between fun-to-drive car and practical daily transportation.
Trims and Powertrains
The ’20 Blazer is available in six trim levels: L, 1LT, 2LT, 3LT, RS, and Premier. The L and 1LT are both given an ECOTEC 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 193 horsepower and 188 pounds-feet of torque. The 2LT and 3LT receive the all-new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (230 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque), although buyers of those two trims can opt for the 3.6-liter V6 (308 hp and 269 lb.-ft. of torque) that comes standard on the RS and Premier. All Blazers get a nine-speed automatic transmission; the Premier gets all-wheel drive as standard, while the other trims are front-wheel drive, with AWD available on the 2LT, 3LT, and RS.
Convenient and Stylistic Features
The L’s standard features include heated side mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, and rear air vents. The 1LT and 2LT add a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and the 2LT is upgraded with the turbocharged engine. The 3LT supplies black roof rails, a power liftgate, remote engine start, auto-dimming driver-side and rearview mirrors, leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a power-adjustable front passenger seat. The enhancements on the RS include larger wheels, a blacked-out front grille, dual exhaust tips, a hands-free liftgate, a heated steering wheel, and ambient interior lighting. The Premier is loaded with chrome exterior accents, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, memory functions for the driver’s seat, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a cargo management system, and simulated-suede trim. Most of these features are available for the lower-level trims through optional packages.
Safety & Technology
All trims are set up with a backup camera, and several more-advanced driver-assist technologies are available above the base trim. The 3LT and higher receive a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors as standard (these are optional on the 1LT and 2LT). Other available active safety aids include adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and mitigation, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection. There’s also an optional Safety Alert Seat, which buzzes to get the driver’s attention when there’s an imminent hazard.
The L through 3LT trims have the base infotainment system featuring an 8-inch touchscreen, two USB ports and two USB-C ports (one of each for each row), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and a six-speaker audio system. The RS provides another set of USB and USB-C ports, an upgraded driver information display, and a 120-volt power outlet. Integrated navigation can be included with the 3LT and RS trims, which the Premier adds along with a premium eight-speaker Bose audio system; a wireless charging pad is available.