For skeptics of the permanence in Americans’ swing toward SUVs, a trickle of resurrected truck-based nameplates should erase all lingering doubt. Automakers are so sold on this trend, they can’t come up with enough models: Ford has confirmed the Bronco’s return. Honda is rumored to bring back the Passport. And now GM has the Chevrolet Blazer. Hey, it’s 1996 again! Sorry this page took so long to load on that dial-up, but we’re glad AltaVista got you here.
OK, it’s really 2019 — or at least the model year. GM plans to introduce the Chevy Blazer for the first time in the U.S. since it left the market after 2005. Fortunately, the automaker also redesigned it — lest we get stuck with an SUV that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety once called the deadliest car of its time. On sale early next year, the 2019 Blazer is a mid-size SUV that slots between the Equinox and Traverse.
We’ll bring you full details on Friday, but here’s what you should know off the bat:
- Lots of utility: Chevrolet says the Blazer will offer a Hitch View angle on the backup camera to help you hitch a trailer, and maximum towing capacity is estimated at 4,500 pounds. Other utilitarian features include an available sliding rear seat and cargo management system with rails and a fence.
- Four-cylinder or V-6: A 2.5-liter four-cylinder (193 horsepower) is standard, with a 3.6-liter V-6 (305 hp) optional. Both engines work through a nine-speed automatic transmission. A twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system, which could be similar to the hardware in the GMC Acadia, is available. (GMC and Chevrolet are both brands under GM.) In all-wheel-drive versions, drivers can disconnect the rear axle to drive the front wheels only as a fuel-saving measure.
- A crossover, not truck-based: As the AWD hinted, the Blazer has car-based crossover construction. That’s a crucial difference from the original truck-based Blazer, and it means this version will likely prioritize carlike ride and handling over hardcore off-road or towing chops. That’s an important difference from the forthcoming Bronco, reportedly planned as a truck-based SUV.
- No relationship to TrailBlazer: Don’t confuse the Blazer with the TrailBlazer, an SUV sold outside the country. Katie Amann, a spokeswoman for GM, told us the two models have no relationship, and the Blazer is “an all-new vehicle.”