With sporty Camaro-like traits, the Blazer is a practical vehicle that showcases a comprehensive equipment list.
The revival of old SUV nameplates is a growing trend in the automotive industry. Ford has brought back the beefy Bronco and Land Rover’s rugged Defender is back in action. The brand with the “bow tie” badge has also reintroduced the blazer.
We have to drive the RS trim of the 2022 Chevrolet Blazer, the sportiest of them all, and these are our thoughts on the vehicle.
design and aesthetics
1969 was a significant year in human history. Man landed on the moon and 400,000 people gathered for the Woodstock music festival. It was also the year that Chevy launched its Blazer SUV, one with a rugged, boxy exterior and an even sturdier ladder-frame chassis that were design staples of the day.
It’s taken many forms over the years, but this stocky blazer is what it’s best remembered for. The current avatar, reincarnated in 2019, is a far cry from that truck-like shape and feel. It’s a mid-size crossover SUV that fills the gap between the Equinox and the Traverse with a two-row monocoque architecture. And the wind-defying jet fighter-style bodywork is strongly reminiscent of the Camaro, as evidenced by the front end design with a large trapezoidal grille. It also has the most elegant LED DRLs placed separately above the LED headlights.
At the rear are arrow-like LEDs reminiscent of those found on the Aventador supercar, and underneath are the RS-specific rectangular exhaust tips to deflate the potent V6. There’s also plenty of black-painted parts to add to the appeal, including the aprons, rocker panels and 21-inch 6-spoke wheels. Even the “bowtie” emblem is black.
The cabin, too, was lifted off the Camaro with a few differences. The RS comes with a leatherette-wrapped dashboard and perforated seats with red piping and red stitching. And there are some dark chrome touches thrown in too. The 4-spoke steering wheel is a bit too big for something with an RS badge, and visibility through the small Camaro-like windows isn’t the best, especially to the rear. But no worry! Chevy has equipped the rearview mirror with a separate reversing camera.
A relaxed driving position can be achieved thanks to the steering column’s electric tilt and telescopic function, and the 8-way power adjustment also deserves some praise. The circular vents are large and expel good amounts of cool air, and the innovative rotating bezels double as temperature controls and are so easy to use…yet another Camaro part.
Technically, we have two 8-inch screens. The instrument cluster is flanked by 2 analog meters and the other is the infotainment screen beautifully surrounded by a chrome bezel. I like the touch response, the simplicity of the menus, and the tactility of the physical buttons. All of this makes the user interface as intuitive as a Windows operating system – typical Chevy stuff.
And there are other small details that also deserve mention. For example, both the starter button and the hazard warning button are located in easily accessible places. And the glove compartment opens at the push of a button and can be locked with a PIN code. The placement of the wireless charging pad is also appropriate, but the pad itself may have become detached due to the heat. Maybe this is an isolated case, but Chevrolet isn’t the flagship brand for build quality anyway.
As for accommodations, the blazer is deceptively large. The rear is roomy enough for three adults, even on long rides, thanks to the relatively flat floor and the ability to shift the second row 5.5 inches. And you can lean back too! It also has a huge panoramic sunroof that adds to the airiness.
drive and performance
Accompanying this sporty aesthetic is a powerful 3.6-liter DOHC V6 with variable valve timing (VVT) and a 9-speed automatic. The powertrain is tuned to give you incredible throttle response and full-bodied acceleration that pinches your back to the seat much like a Camaro would. The power of over 300 horses is good for a 0 to 100 km/h sprint in under 7 seconds and with plenty of midrange grunt it can put a few sport sedans to shame.
Braking performance is also commendable. Thanks to the large contact area of the large tires and disc brakes all around (321 mm Ø at the front and 315 mm Ø at the rear), the drill at shredder speed and even full braking are easily achieved.
But this blazer does not meet all the goals that the sporty RS emblem strives for. First, quite surprisingly, it doesn’t have paddle shifters. Second, Chevy tuned the suspension (MacPherson struts up front and 5-link type rear) for comfort that’s good for the weary commute home from work and for family, but not for cornering. Yes, the fat P265/45R21 all-season tires and all-wheel drive try to keep it on track, but the body rolls from side to side during hard cornering. And with low-prof tires, the low-hanging valances (which don’t do the on- and off-take angles any favors) and the lack of a low-ratio gearbox mean this SUV is meant solely for the streets, not the sand. This makes the RS neither a track warrior nor a robust off-roader, but a nimble crossover with GT qualities.
Fuel consumption suffers a bit from the lively engine and curb weight of almost 2,000 kg. The RS averages a total of just under 8 km/l. But you can do better with light-footed driving and a little help from the auto-stop/start function (which has a disable button). If you want more convenience, go for the smaller displacement LT model with FWD setup.
practicality and features
What makes the Blazer such a practical vehicle is its exhaustive feature list. Remote start is a useful feature, especially in the summer, as are the ventilated (and heated) seats. It’s also equipped with 4G LTE Wi-Fi and a decent navigation system. In addition to the Type A and Type C USB ports, there is a 3-pin 230V socket on the back.
The front panel also has a similar set of USB ports. An 8-speaker audio system comes with the RS, tuned by Bose sound reproduction masters, and music can be streamed via one of 2 Bluetooth devices that can be connected. It also gets voice commands, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The electric tailgate with gesture control, which opens the 864 liter trunk with a foot movement, is particularly “practical”. And you can access all 1,818 liters by folding down the seats, which are big enough to set up a mini delivery business. There is also rail-type luggage management, underfloor storage and a height-adjustable tailgate. And if the delivery package is larger… like a bunch of quads, jet skis or a boat, you can haul that too thanks to its commendable 4500lb towing capacity.
There are also plenty of driving aids to immerse you in the bliss of safety, such as 360-degree camera, front collision alert, lane change alert with side blind zone alert, rear lane seat reminder, and rear cross-traffic alert. There’s also a PIN-locked teen driver mode that limits speeds and provides a full report on driving behavior, something helicopter parents will appreciate.
If you’re expecting a burly off-roader that harks back to the original, note that the Chevrolet Blazer RS won’t take you down memory lane or up a sand dune. But as a feature-packed city SUV with sporty Camaro-like features, it will please any family man or woman, especially those who enjoy space and speed.
The upcoming all-electric 2024 Chevrolet Blazer SS can produce 565 hp and 879 Nm of torque, allowing it to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in around 4 seconds.
Overview and evaluation
GOOD – Sporty exterior and Camaro-style interior; spacious; strong powertrain; benefits and functions
BAD – misleading nameplate; no paddles or sport suspension; average build quality and fuel economy; Facelift model is coming
EDITOR’S RATING – 7/10 stars
Body type – 5 seater; 5-door mid-size crossover SUV
Engine – Front Engine; 3.6 liter V6; all wheel drive
Transmission – 9-speed automatic
Peak power – 308 hp at 6,700 rpm – 365 Nm at 5,000 rpm
0 to 100 km/h – 7 seconds (estimated)
Top speed – 225 km/h (with limited drag; estimated)
Fuel consumption – 12.4 l/100 km (claimed)
Price — From Dh128,800