Nothing breeds success like success, and the Chevrolet Motor Division’s Blazer sport-utility vehicles have been one of the division’s long-running success stories.
Building on that premise, Chevy launched its all-new 1995 Blazer at last month’s Chicago Auto Show. Expected in Indianapolis Chevrolet dealerships in late June or early July, the vehicle is projected to carry Chevrolet’s compact sport-utility flag beyond its predecessor.
The division says it virtually invented the compact sport-utility vehicle when the S-10 Blazer first came out in 1982. For the 1995 model, Chevy is dropping the “S” designation and simply calling the compact a Chevrolet Blazer.
The popularity of the Blazer stems from the increasing acceptability of trucks in general and the crossover from passenger cars. In servicing this burgeoning market, the new vehicle combines the quietness and roominess of some luxury passenger cars, the toughness expected of a truck and features that appeal to the widest possible audience.
The new Blazer covers this area by being available in a variety of models and trim levels. To a degree, you can build your own sport-utility vehicle, providing you stay within the realm of availability.
Like its predecessor, the Blazer will be offered in both a two-door and a four-door model, and will be available in either two- wheel or four-wheel drive. An optional full-time all-wheel drive will be available later in the 1995 model year.
There is, of course, an entry- level two-door or four-door being offered for the economy-minded. Then there is a mid-level LS version in two or four doors.
And for those with a taste for upscale luxury, there will be an LT version that will be available with leather seating. However, you have to take this one in four-door form only.
Chevy is building the new Blazer based on tried-and-proven engineering criteria. A separate frame is a welded ladder type. The body material is steel. The front suspension is independent, while the rear is based on two-stage multileaf springs bolted to a semi-floating live axle.
The specifications are the same for two-wheel and four-wheel drive in their specific model categories. Or more succinctly, the Blazer comes in two sizes, with the four-door bigger than the two-door.
In accommodating two more doors, Chevy went the whole route and added 6.5 inches to both the wheelbase and overall length of the four-door.
Variety may be the spice of life, but not in the Blazer’s engine compartment. There’s only one engine available, but it’s a good one.
Power is via a substantially sized 4.3- liter (262 cubic inch) V-6 that produces a robust 200 horsepower and 260 foot- pounds of torque. This standard engine in the 1995 vehicle was the optional V- 6 in the predecessor Blazer, and represents a pretty muscular set of numbers for a compact.
The torque puts the towing capacity at 5,500 pounds for two-wheel drive. Towing for four-wheel drive is 5,000 pounds.
Like the engine, the trans mission comes in only one flavor, General Motors’ highly touted 4L60-E electronically controlled four-speed automatic. A five-speed manual will be along later, but it will be offered only for the Blazer’s two- door, two-wheel-drive model.
There’s nothing like making a sport-utility user friendly with all the comforts of home. And in this respect, the Blazer should earn some pretty good marks.
Both two-door and four-door models are about four inches longer and two inches wider than the 1994 versions. This gives driver and passengers added room and comfort.
There are numerous other interior touches like Scotchgard fabric protection, a horn that can be activated anywhere on the face of the airbag (no hard-to-find buttons), cup holders and dual 12-volt power ports on the LS and LT models that accommodate cellular phones and other electronic equipment.
The new Blazer should be an easyvehicle to drive, what with the automatic transmission and upgraded variable-ratio power s teering. And five suspension packages are specifically engineered for everything from everyday commuting to serious off-road use.
Civility has come to the sports-utility field. And it’s present in a 1995 Blazer that offers a viable option to those needing the combined features of an automobile and a truck.
1995 Chevrolet Blazer Base price: Not available.Type: Front engine, two-wheel or four-wheel drive, two- door or four-door, compact sport-utility vehicle.Engine: 4.3 liters, OHV V-6, 12 valves, fuel-injected, 200 horsepower, 260 foot-pounds of torque.Transmission: Four-speed automatic.Wheelbase: 100.5 inches (two-door); 107 inches (four-door).Length: 174.7 inches (two-door); 181.2 inches (four-door).Width: 67.8 inches.Height: 62.7 inches (two-door 2WD), 63.3 inches (two-door 4WD); 62.5 inches (four-door 2WD); 63.5 inches (four-door 4WD)Towing capacity: 5,500 pounds (2WD); 5,000 pounds (4WD).Curb weight: 3,588 pounds (two-door 2WD), 3,843 pounds (two-door 4WD); 3,666 pounds (four-door 2WD); 4,052 pounds (four-door 4WD).Options: Premium sound system, leather seating (four-door), Goodyear or Michelin SBR/P235/75R tires.