All-new Chevrolet Blazer is the symbol of the auto industry in the crossover era
Classic nameplate reappears after 14 years as a sleek, seductive five-seat crossover with a visual penchant for sportiness — and the powertrain to match it
Some hate them, some love them, some buy them merely out of necessity… The opinions elicited by crossovers might be a mixed bag, but it’s no longer possible to deny how important they’ve become to the industry. In cases like that, as the body style appears in more models, it begins to influence how makers compose the rest of their lineup.
Crossovers were created to offer qualities of several body styles in one. In order to actually consider a car feature a quality, one needs to analyze what buyers want. Once automakers managed to figure that, the success we see today was born: crossovers now exist in a plethora of brands, sizes, prices and purposes. As a result, they’re now affecting the other body styles available.
Besides the fact that pretty much every company now offers at least one SUV or crossover, Alfa Romeo went the extra mile by cancelling the Giulia station wagon in favor of the Stelvio and Ford went even further by announcing that all its sedans will be dropped from the US market. While GM already stated that it’ll remain committed to urban models, it won’t let the crossover rise go unnoticed.
One of the complaints usually aimed at crossovers is that the people-pleaser character makes them bland. Parallel to that, many car fans won’t buy the sporty models they love because their routine requires more practicality. This is the problem Chevrolet wants to solve: the all-new Blazer trades just a bit of family-use qualities for design and powertrain actually capable of seducing emotion-driven buyers.
Up front, the split headlights have the DRLs next to the bulging hood and the regular lights much lower, right above the fog ones. That drives attention away from them and helps establish the visual dominance of the Lexus-esque grille. On the sides, the ascending waist line enables the floating roof effect and reduces the size impression. The rear is equally well-sculpted, albeit lacking noteworthy elements.
A very clever detail is Chevrolet’s use of the cladding color between DRLs and grille and on the entire lower section of the body. Among the two trim levels officially shown so far, it uses the body color on the Premier so as to convey elegance, but shifts to glossy black on the RS: the front parts make the Blazer look more aggressive, while the lower ones help it seem shorter. This is quite fitting for a sporty model.
If the exterior left you with déjà vu, check the cabin. More specifically, the low dashboard dominated by the infotainment screen and large air vents right in front of the gear shifter: this is the closest you’ll get to a crossover Camaro. The other similarities are all-black trim and limited seat count, although the crossover shape makes the Blazer seat five and carry a lot of baggage.
Paired to either a 2.5-liter inline-four or a 3.0-liter V6, nine-speed automatic transmission and optional twin-clutch AWD, the all-new Blazer has nothing to do with the body-on-frame, S-10-based SUV which used the same name until the 2000s. Now, not only it becomes a great competitor for the Ford Edge as it’s also capable of beating the latter at its own game.
While it’s still early to talk about the foundation of a muscle crossover market niche, one can already see this car through the lens of this post’s title. Instead of yet another segment, crossovers are becoming the backbone of the market. Generalist makers, above all, are increasingly inclined to venture into emotional markets by adapting them than creating separate body styles like hatchback or sedan.
It’s understandable that such observation makes most car fans cringe, but we all need to keep in mind that this is a trend, like all the others which have come and gone in this market (remember when people were crazy about minivans?). Since it looks far from fading, the best one can do is to enjoy what they’re being offered. After all, a more practical interpretation of the Camaro doesn’t really sound bad.