2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS Review - Right Shape, Wrong Price
2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS Fast Facts
In addition to being a gearhead, I’m a sports fan.
The long-time play-by-play man for my favorite baseball team called it quits a year or two ago, presumably deciding the golf course was more appealing than the broadcast booth as he approached his eighth decade of life.
This gentleman, long ago given the nickname of Hawk, had a whole bunch of catchphrases in his verbal toolbox. One of them was “right size, wrong shape” – meant to describe a foul ball that traveled home run-worthy distance but landed on the wrong side of the foul pole.
And this particular Hawkism came to mind when I tested the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer last year. It does a lot right – but the price made me blanch.
Sure, you can get into a base Blazer for around 30 large. But the top-dog RS? That will set you back a great deal more. And there’s not enough, even in the RS guise, to set it apart from cheaper alternatives, such as a loaded Honda Passport.
I’m not as verklempt about Chevy slapping the Blazer name on a mid-size crossover as others are. I get why BowTie fans would prefer the Blazer to be a BOF full-sizer, based on history, but it’s not like the S10 Blazer didn’t exist for over two decades.
This Blazer does look cool, thanks to aggressive styling cues that seem shamelessly stolen from the Camaro, and I particularly dug the skinny headlights. The red-on-black trim and blacked-out wheels my test unit sported didn’t hurt, either.
Camaro influences continue inside, most noticeable in the big air vents at the bottom of the center stack. The design isn’t fully cohesive, though, and the infotainment screen looks like an afterthought. The materials are merely middle-of-road, at best. You might also notice in the pics that the panel gaps are bit larger than they probably should be.
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The 308 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque on tap from the 3.6-liter direct-injection V6 help the RS scoot around town with urgency, and Chevy has tuned this model’s suspension (independent MacPherson strut with hydraulic control arm ride bushing and hollow stabilizer bar up front, five-link independent with auxiliary spring aids and hollow stabilizer bar out back) to offer up handling that’s relatively fun for a crossover. That comes at the expense of ride, which is on the stiff side.
It’s nice that the Blazer looks cool and is relatively engaging to drive, but it’s not as well rounded as the Passport. At least it feels lighter on its feet than Ford’s Edge. Nor is it quite as refined as Nissan’s Murano. Even the aging Jeep Grand Cherokee feels more upmarket, and while that SUV also gets pricey, it can be had with a V8.
The $43K base price of my RS tester is bad enough – we’re already overlapping with a top-trim Passport Elite. A $2,495 Sun and Wheels package added a panoramic sunroof and the 21-inch wheels. The rest of the options sheet is taken care of by a $3,575 convenience package that included infotainment, premium audio, wireless cell-phone charging, heated rear seats, cooled front seats, adaptive cruise control, power tilt and telescope steering wheel, forward-collision alert, forward automatic braking, lane-keep assist with lane-departure warning, and front pedestrian braking.
Chevy aficionados can argue all day long over whether the Blazer name should be slapped on a five-seat, mid-size crossover SUV or not. They’re missing the point. The problem isn’t the name, it’s the price.
Good looks and a driving experience that contains some spirit aren’t enough to compensate for sticker shock, especially given the levels of “meh” present in terms of cabin materials.
If all pricing were equal, the Blazer would rank higher on my mental list concerning its class. As is, at least in RS trim, I’d shop elsewhere and pocket the dough.
[Images © 2020 Tim Healey/TTAC]
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The best Blazer is the middle of the road 2LT or 3LT models with the 3.6 and AWD for under 40K. If you must get an RS I would avoid the $1000 dollar 21" ugly black harsh riding wheels and the 1595 roof which is too large and lets in lots of heat and sun in the Summer months and even the RS models should be around 40K. I did drive a rental LT 2.5 FWD with the convenience package and was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it overall. This would be a really nice ride if Chevy offered the 2.0T in this model but is restricting it to AWD models. For around 30K this was one of the best handling SUV's I have driven to date and it got a lot of attention wherever I went!