• 2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS AWD

Road Test: 2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS AWD

A New Sport Crossover SUV Charges In

If you want to be a head-turner driving down the street, go get an all-new 2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS AWD painted in Red Hot. That is what Smarticd did for a week in Southern California—and it never got old. The aggressive and sporty design of the Blazer RS seems to have accomplished what Chevrolet had in mind when they resurrected the Blazer name. Gone since 2005, the 2019 Blazer offers a new look and attitude compared to its long-forgotten namesake.

2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS AWD
Borrowing some sportiness from the Camaro

Engine and Drive Choices

The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer has the option of two engines, two transmissions, and front or all-wheel drive (AWD). The base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, with the 3.6-liter V6 optional. Smarticd drove the latter, which is the only engine choice if you want AWD. The non-turbocharged 3.6-liter puts out 308 horsepower and 270 pounds-feet of torque, all through a nine-speed automatic transmission. The 2.5-liter is also mated to a nine-speed automatic.

2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS AWD
The 3.6-liter V6 is a little thirsty, but has the power

The EPA has rated the 3.6-liter’s fuel economy at 18 mpg city/25 highway/21 combined. Over 374 miles of mostly freeway driving, we averaged 22.2 mpg. However, on a 175-mile fuel mileage run on flat, smooth roadways with the cruise control set at 65 mph we averaged 29.1 mpg. The key to nudging close to that magic 30 mpg number is setting the advanced adaptive cruise control and letting it be. Real world conditions do not lend themselves to this type of driving very often, so plan on your numbers being closer to those on the window sticker. The smaller base engine is rated at 22 mpg city/27 hwy/24 combined.

It is important to note that fuel economy reported by Smarticd is non-scientific and represents the reviewer’s driving experience in our reviewer’s city. Depending on where you live and how you drive, your numbers may differ.

Driving Experience: On the Road

Smarticd’s Blazer AWD had quick, strong linear acceleration, partly due to the nine-speed automatic transmission. The transmission has been calibrated to match the engine so the Blazer was engaging to drive, which came in handy when getting on-and-off the accelerator in stop-and-go traffic. There was plenty of power and torque coming from the 3.5-liter V6, with zero–to-60 times right around six seconds—an impressive time to move a 4,246-pound crossover.

2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS AWD
The Blazer goes like it looks

The Blazer AWD was confident with its accurate steering, which was appreciated when we hunted down some mountain twisties. The RS model comes with 265/45 Continental CrossLX Sport tires mounted on 21-inch gloss black aluminum wheels. The electric power steering was precise with good feedback, especially when tackling mountain sweepers. In town, the Blazer RS was easy to maneuver and park. The RS badge brings more than just trim enhancements as the front struts and rear shocks have been sport-tuned, and the steering ratio is a bit quicker.

The four-wheel disc, anti-lock brakes produced stopping that was constant and predictable.

Exterior: Designed To Impress

The all-new 2019 Blazer came out of the box strong and is available in four trim levels: L, Blazer, RS and Premium. As noted earlier, not only were people doing double-takes when we drove by in our RS, but when parked we got a few walk-arounds. Those who remember the last generation Blazer knew it as a rugged, large truck-based off-roader. The 2019 Blazer is a stylish, five-passenger two-row crossover SUV. Some of the market competitors to the Blazer are the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Edge, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Buick Envision, Subaru Ascent and the Honda Passport. And those aren’t all of them, as it is a very crowded and competitive midsize crossover SUV category. If you are looking to buy in this segment, don’t ever utter the words “there wasn’t anything to choose from.”

2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS AWD
A dramatic, but functional interior

Chevrolet leaned heavily on the Camaro when designing the 2019 Blazer, which is a good thing. The brash and aggressive look, especially in the RS trim, gives it a sporty, almost muscle-car look. Chevrolet made a conscious decision to not go after the rugged off-road look, but to have the Blazer appeal to a broader segment of the crossover market.

The front-end styling includes a dominant grille, narrow high-intensity headlights and a blacked-out “Bow Tie” emblem. The wide stance and high belt line (the line that runs horizontally below the windows, front to rear) give the Blazer a sculpted look.

2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS AWD
Aggressive looks will draw attention

The roof racks on the RS are black against the striking red paint, with the rear power lift gate having a small spoiler over the rear glass. The rear is finished off with LED taillights and dual chrome exhaust tips.

The Blazer is the sportiest looking crossover in the midsize segment, setting it apart from its competitors. Chevrolet says the design is the “boldest, most progressive expression of Chevrolet crossover design.” With Camaro design cues, there is no disputing this claim.

Interior: Camaro Sports Coupe Influenced

Leaning on the Camaro for design inspiration continued into the interior. The Blazer in the RS trim is sporty. The dash is well laid-out with sensible button placements, and even the large vent rings are uniquely appealing.

Front occupant convenience and comfort was obviously a key goal. The ventilated leather-trimmed seats are heated and cooled, with the driver getting eight-way power adjustments (with memory) and the passenger six-way. The leather rear seat splits 60/40 and includes a folding armrest with cup holders. The outbound rear seats are heated and the seat back reclines. Access to the rear seat is very good, leading to a spacious seating area that can accommodate three adults.

2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS AWD
The back seat is no penalty box

The Chevrolet 3 Plus infotainment sound system has eight speakers, and an 8.0-inch high-definition color touch screen that houses the navigation, and the AM/FM/CD/MP3/AUX radio with SiriusXM (three-month trial), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Controls for Bluetooth and the hands-free telephone are found on the heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Activating the very handy and helpful OnStar system is as simple as pushing a button. This connects you with a friendly General Motors representative to make your driving experience safer and more enjoyable. For faster Internet speeds there was a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, which came with a limited period subscription. Depending on how much you travel and your data use, the 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot option should be seriously considered. Our experience is it was fast and provided uninterrupted service, even for streaming movies and games.

The Blazer RS is well-equipped with convenience features, including a rear camera mirror, remote keyless entry with remote start, power door locks, power ports, power tilt and telescoping steering column, heated exterior mirrors, dual zone automatic climate control, a tire pressure monitor, keyless push button on and off, and a panoramic tilt and slide moonroof.

Safety, Pricing and Warranties

The Blazer comes with standard and optional safety features, with some of them only available on higher trim levels and through packages. We advise getting your car with as many advanced driver technology and safety features as possible.

2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS AWD
The reason crossovers exist–that space out back

Features available on the Blazer include front and side airbags, a theft deterrent system, forward emergency braking and collision warning, stability control, rear cross-traffic alert, rear park assist, vehicle stability management, traction control, lane change and side blind zone alert. A nice safety feature is the high-definition surround vision, where the complete exterior of the Blazer can be viewed on the 8.0-inch color monitor.

Smarticd’s 2019 Blazer RS AWD, had a base MSRP of $43,500. The options at $6,070 bought the total price to $49,570. Prices do not include the $1,195 destination charge.

The 2019 Blazer comes with these warranties:

  • Bumper-to-Bumper – Three years/36,000 miles
  • Powertrain – Five years/60,000 miles
  • Roadside Assistance – Five years/60,000 miles 
  • Rust Through – Six years/100,000 miles  
  • Scheduled Maintenance – One Free Visit in the First Year  

Observations: 2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS AWD

The all-new 2019 Chevrolet Blazer is an impressive entry in the midsize crossover segment. The design, especially in the RS trim, makes the Blazer a sports crossover in looks and pretty darn close in performance. The Blazer will have appeal to a broad group of buyers, whether it’s families, empty nesters or singles who are looking to be among the trendiest crossover owners.

2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS AWD
John enjoying his week after a hill climb in the Blazer

Since the Blazer is so new, only time will tell how it will do in this segment. Take the time to visit your Chevrolet dealer, look at the four trim levels, and you could be the trend setter in your neighborhood.

Whatever you buy, Happy Driving!

Photos: Lex Adams

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Smarticd is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at [email protected].

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About Author:

John Faulkner is an automotive marketing professional with more than 30 years experience branding, launching and marketing automobiles. He has worked with General Motors (all Divisions), Chrysler (Dodge, Jeep, Eagle), Ford and Lincoln-Mercury, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota on consumer events and sales training programs. His interest in automobiles is broad and deep, beginning as a child riding in the back seat of his parent's 1950 Studebaker. He has a keen appreciation of Art Deco design, no bias for domestic versus foreign makes and loves competition - whether that be F1, IndyCar, Sports Cars, NASCAR or participating in Track Days at places such as Laguna Seca, Thunderhill or Willow Springs. John lives in Dana Point, CA, and enjoys a top-down drive on PCH on an early Sunday morning.

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