Despite the debut of the new midsize TrailBlazer, Chevrolet expects to keep the smaller, prior-generation Blazer in its lineup until at least 2003. The TrailBlazer name was previously used on step-up Blazers. But GMC dropped its Jimmy the automakers equivalent of Chevys Blazer when it introduced the midsize 2002 Envoy.
The 2002 Blazers come in LS and Xtreme trims. The sporty low-rider Xtreme two-door model features a lowered suspension, 16-inch tires on alloy wheels and an aggressive exterior with flared fenders, side skirts, deep-tinted windows, front and rear fascias, and a body-color grille. An optional Striping Package for the two-door Xtreme features aggressive wide hood and tailgate stripes. Body-color moldings, grille and bumpers decorate the four-door LS.
In four-door form, the Blazer rides a 107-inch wheelbase and measures 183 inches long overall about 6 inches longer in both dimensions than the two-door model. Each body style stands about 65 inches high and 67.8 inches wide and are available with either a swing-up liftgate or a tailgate that drops down. The rear window opens separately and flips up on all body styles. The Blazers spare tire stows beneath the rear of the vehicle. Flat, five-spoke aluminum wheels are newly standard on the four-door 4WD LS model.
Either five or six passengers fit into the Blazer, depending on the model. Four-door models have split front and rear bench seats for a six-passenger capacity. Front buckets and a two-place split, folding rear bench are standard on all two-door Blazers, including the Xtreme version. Four-door Blazers have a roomier rear seat and more cargo space than the two-door. A floor-mounted automatic-transmission gearshift lever is standard on two-door models.
Under the Hood
A 190-horsepower, 4.3-liter V-6 is the sole engine in the Blazer. A standard five-speed-manual and optional four-speed-automatic transmission are available on two-door models, while the automatic is standard on the four-door Blazer. Two four-wheel-drive systems are available: Insta-Trac on the 4x4 LS is engaged by a dashboard switch, while Autotrac which is standard on other 4x4 Blazers automatically engages when additional traction is needed. Antilock brakes are standard.
Evenif they couldnt quite reach above the SUV pack, Blazers and their now-departed GMC Jimmy cousins have delivered an appealing blend of comfort, performance and handling. Owners can expect a reasonably quiet ride, more-than-adequate acceleration, and handling that at least matches most of the Blazers competitors. It is trucklike, but that doesnt particularly interfere with the Blazers practical virtues and easygoing personality.