The two-row midsize crossover segment has been neglected for a few years, but the crossover craze has started churning new entries out again.
The 2019 Chevy Blazer is GM’s take on the vehicle, and it’s already getting lots of attention thanks to its bold, angular design. And none are bolder or more angular than the sporty Blazer RS. We gave it a cool reception in our first drive, but we wanted another, longer test here at our Michigan headquarters to see if the new Blazer makes a better case for itself. Does it drive as good as it looks, and can it support its mega-sized price?
Our tester also came with the $3,575 Enhanced Convenience and Driver Confidence II Package that added adaptive cruise control, heated and cooled front seats, driver memory settings, rearview camera mirror display, heated rear seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel, lane-keeping assist, surround-view camera and a Bose sound system.
So is it all worth it? Well it certainly delivers on the styling front. Our test car’s bright gloss red pops against the RS trim’s black accents. The deeper front air dam and more sculpted side skirts amplify the creased and curved exterior even more than the regular model. It’s a ferocious beast of a crossover from the outside, and it gets attention.
Many of the dash and door surfaces are covered in a leatherette material. It’s a sporty effect, and the leather and leatherette surfaces do give it a more premium feel, but there are still large sections of cheap, hard plastic around the center vents and the glove box, and everything still has a monochrome, chunky feel that just doesn’t feel upscale.
The back seat has plenty of space for your 5-foot-10 author to sit behind himself. Backseat passengers will also be pleased by the sliding and reclining adjustments. While there’s plenty of room, there’s a lack of support.
Perhaps a turbocharged engine with more torque would be a better choice for the Blazer. Still, the engine it has is very smooth with a good tone, and the nine-speed transmission is silky and prompt in its shifting. The V6 is also an undoubtedly better choice than the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-four standard on the L and 1LT trim levels, even though that engine is not the doggedly slow lump we were expecting.
Honda or a Mazda — if even a bit worse. Perhaps a less expensive Blazer would make more sense than the sharp-looking RS, but considering that no trim offers compelling value, we suggest you cross-shop the segment before buying one of these pricey showboats.