The 2019 Chevy Blazer RS Is an SUV for People Who Hate SUVs
As the owner of a not at all practical two-door, two-seat convertible, I’ve been steadily preparing to trade in my Matchbox car (OK, Mercedes SLK 250) for a bigger model. The cusp of my 30s seems the appropriate time to own a vehicle that fits more than myself and one other person. And while Sascha, as I call her, has been good to me, there’s no way in hell I’ll ever be able to put a car seat in her.
So when Chevy reached out with an offer to test-drive its new Blazer (I drove the RS package, which starts at $41,795), I was intrigued. Would I even be able to drive a midsize SUV? Would I like it? Here’s how it all shook out.
The Details: What’s a Blazer, And Why Does It Sound Familiar?
Once upon a time, the Blazer was Chevy’s most popular model. The brand reintroduced it this year, with more than a few new bells and whistles. It’s a crossover SUV with dramatic sculpting that makes it look more like a Jaguar than a Chevy. It includes five-passenger seating with second-row seats that fold flat and slide, as well as plenty (64.2 cubic feet, to be exact) of cargo space.
The car comes in the standard Blazer version or upgraded RS or Premiere models. All models include a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob that make the sleek interior look just that much fancier. The dual-zone automatic climate control is a nice plus, as I’m always colder than anybody else, and the sunroof is (I’m exaggerating only a smidge here) almost the full length of the car.
Now let’s talk performance: The Blazer RS touts a 3.6L V-6 intelligent stop/start engine with a nine-speed automatic transmission. TLDR: It’s a lot faster than you’d expect an SUV to be.
So What’s It Like to Drive?
I drove a pretty little cherry-red RS upgraded version, which included blacked-out exterior features, a hexagon black mesh grille, RS badging, 20-inch wheels, matte black rims and dual exhaust outlets. It looked sharp, much sharper than (no shade) I’d expect from an American car, save maybe a Tesla. Aside from that, its features made my four-and-a-half drive, which should have been three hours, exceptionally more pleasant.
Moreover, I imagined that an SUV would feel somehow clunky, but the Blazer was smooth and sporty. The gas pedal was light to the touch, and the car accelerated quickly—sometimes, too quickly…but no speeding tickets were received in the making of this article, thank goodness.
Since the size of the car was new to me, the safety features were key and made me feel much less stressed about driving something unfamiliar. The lane change and blind-zone alert (a little yellow icon that pops up on the outside mirror if there’s something in your blind spot) and auto-dimming mirror allowed me to stay calm while weaving (safely) through traffic. And the adaptive cruise control (it corrects your speed when you get too close to another car), following-distance indicator and lane-keep assist gently reminded me to pay attention.
In addition to the lane change and blind-zone alerts, the car has an HD rear-vision camera that made backing up even easier than it is in my day-to-day car. There’s also something called a rear cross-traffic alert, which vibrates in your seat, to let you know when something or someone is in a blind spot or behind you. And as a person who has ruined all of the rims I’ve ever had by parking way too close to curbs, the parking assist was very much appreciated.
Are There Other Cool Features?
The technology and entertainment features made me start thinking I might be an SUV person after all. First of all, there’s an eight-inch color touchscreen with a Waze-level accuracy navigation system. There’s even built-in Wi-Fi, so I was able to do a touch of work before departing.
It also has Apple CarPlay, wireless phone charging, six USB ports and keyless entry/ignition, making it easy for even a technophobe to use. I personally liked the keyless entry because I’m perpetually losing my keys in my purse. Speaking of which, there’s a clever rear-seat reminder that informed me when I left my purse back there. On top of that, the trunk space was ample enough that a consummate over-packer like myself still had lots of room, and the heated steering wheel and heating and cooling seats didn’t hurt either.
How’s the Gas Mileage?
The Blazer gets 22 m.p.g. in the city and 27 m.p.g. on the highway. (For reference, Kelley Blue Book says the most fuel-efficient nonhybrid SUV, the 2019 Nissan Rogue, gets 33 m.p.g. city and 35 m.p.g. highway.) I didn’t need to refuel after the 266-mile road trip or for several days afterward. And, since the trip out there was full of traffic, I probably would have gotten even better gas mileage had I not been creeping my way through a sea of cars.
Did I Feel Like a Soccer Mom?
Glad you asked. Honestly, no, it was too stylish and had too much horsepower for that (193 to 305 h.p. if you want specifics). Still, it felt safe enough that I would consider it once the time (and soccer-mom title) comes.
So Who Is This Car For?
I’d say this car is a great fit for young families who value a good-looking car with lots of technology built in. It’d also be a good option for active people who need space for sporting equipment or take a lot of road trips. If you need an SUV but want something that’s easy to drive and gives you some bang for your buck, the Blazer RS is a good choice.
The car was a much cushier drive than I initially expected. And with the technology, safety features, price and stylish body, I would consider buying one if I were in a different place in life. For now, I’ll just be over here relishing my remaining time with Sascha until the next chapter of adulthood.