A low-rider Xtreme model of the two-door Blazer is the big change for 2001, the last year for the current design. This midsize SUV will be redesigned for the 2002 model year. The Oldsmobile Bravada and GMC Jimmy share the same design, and Olds will be the first to market with the new version as an early 2002 model. Chevy will adopt the TrailBlazer name for the 2002 models.
Patterned after the Xtreme version of the S-10 pickup, the Blazer Xtreme has a lowered suspension, 16-inch tires and alloy wheels, and an aggressive exterior treatment with fender flares, side skirts, deep-tinted windows, and a body-color grille and front and rear fascias.
The Xtreme is available only with two-wheel drive to make it more affordable for the younger buyers it is expected to attract.
The four-door Blazer rides a 107-inch wheelbase and is 183 inches overall, about 6 inches longer than the two-door in both dimensions. Both are available with a liftgate that swings up or a tailgate that drops down. With either, the rear window opens separately and flips up. The spare tire is stored beneath the rear of the vehicle.
The LT four-door has split front and rear bench seats for six-passenger capacity. Front buckets are standard on LT and TrailBlazer four-door models and all two-door Blazers. The two-door models have a two-place rear bench instead of a three-seat bench. With 6 inches more on the wheelbase and overall length, the four-door has a roomier rear seat and more cargo space (74 cubic feet vs. 67).
OnStar, General Motors satellite communication system, is a new standard feature for the LT and TrailBlazer four-door models. A floor-mounted automatic transmission lever is standard on the TrailBlazer and optional on the Extreme. All others have a column-mounted shift lever with the automatic.
Under the Hood
All models come with a 190-horsepower 4.3-liter V-6. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the two-door and a four-speed automatic is optional. On the four-doors, the automatic is standard. Two 4WD systems are available. Insta-Trac is standard on LS 4x4s and is engaged by a dashboard switch. Autotrac is standard on other 4x4s and automatically engages when more traction is needed.
Antilock brakes are standard across the board.
Blazer offers roomy accommodations and capable 4WD systems at reasonable prices. There are plenty of alternatives, however, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Explorer and Toyota 4Runner, all of which match Blazer in some key areas and exceed it in others. Take a look at the Blazer, but also check out some of its rivals.
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