Sometimes it doesn`t pay to economize.

The 1992 Chevy Blazer S10 utility vehicle is one such example. It isoffered in two- and four-wheel-drive versions.

We drove the four-door Blazer with two-wheel drive. If you live in theSun Belt, you`ve got a great machine. If you live in the Snow Belt, you`ve gota great machine that ends up being a few bricks shy of a load without four-wheel drive.

The difference comes down to a base price of $15,783 for the two-wheeldrive, versus $17,953 for the four-wheel drive, or about $2,200. That`s a lot of money. But if you live in the Snow Belt, there are days when $2,200 doesn`tseem to be all that much, such as when you wake up and the road is filled with6 inches of snow and you can`t miss work, or when Mom takes the kids to visit the grandparents and halfway there runs into a blizzard.

If you`re going to look at a Blazer, go the full 9 yards and consider the four-wheel-drive version.

Another difference between two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive is fueleconomy. When all four wheels are working, you have to expect to sacrificesome mileage. The rating on the four-door Blazer S10 with two-wheel drive and five-speed manual transmission is 17 m.p.g. city/22 highway. With automaticit`s the same, 17/22, which should force the question, ``Why buy a manual?``The rating on the four-door Blazer S10 with four-wheel drive and manual is 16/20, with automatic 16/21, and that really forces the question. You lose 1m.p.g. city and 1 to 2 m.p.g. highway by going four-wheel drive rather thantwo-wheel drive.

In July you might ask yourself why you`re giving up 1 to 2 m.p.g. at thepump. If you wait until December, the question will be answered.

As added security, the four-door Blazer S10 comes with four-wheel anti-lock brakes standard. (1992 two-door Blazers now offer four-wheel anti-lockbrakes as well, rather than just rear-wheel anti-lock brakes as in 1991.)

For added performance, the Blazer S10 offers an optional ``enhanced``version of the 4.3-liter, 160-horsepower V-6 that`s standard under the hood.The V-6 was enhanced by 40 horsepower, to 200. If you`ve driven a Blazer with the 160 horsepower V-6 and said to yourself, ``Nice engine, but if only it hada bit more oomph to tow or climb hills,`` you`ll find Chevy was eavesdropping on you.

The enhanced 4.3 delivers a kick while sounding and acting a bit smoother and quieter than the lower-horsepower version. You may suspect a V-8 wasplanted under the hood until you lift it and take a look.

As a comparison, the Blazer offers the base 160-horsepower and theenhanced 200-horsepower versions; the Ford Explorer offers a 155-horsepower V-6 only; and the Jeep Cherokee offers a 2.5-liter, 130-horsepower fourcylinder and a 190-horsepower six cylinder. Also of note, the four-door Blazerhas four-wheel anti-lock brakes standard; the four-door Explorer rear-wheelanti-lock brakes standard; and the fo ur-door Cherokee four-wheel anti-lockbrakes as roughly a $500 option.

Chevy boasts its enhanced V-6 will start more quickly in cold weather, as well. The vehicle arrived a bit late to substantiate the claim on a nice,crisp January morning, but it started rather quickly during Chicago`s spring, which is perhaps only a few degrees warmer than winter.

To the base price of the two-wheel-drive Blazer S10, our test vehicleadded the enhanced V-6 at $1,390, which includes the four-speed automatic and a heavy-duty cooling system; a preferred-equipment package, normally priced at$4,901 but discounted by $1,300, which includes air conditioning, upgradedradio, cruise control, tilt steering, intermittent windshield wipers, insidetailgate release, rear-window defogger, luggage carrier, deep-tinted glass on the sides and light-tinted glass in the rear, rear-window washer/wiper, power mirrors and visor vanity mirrors; tinted front glass at $81; air dam with fog lamps at $115 ; and heavy-duty towing package at $211.

The sticker came in at just less than $22,000.