The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer midsize SUV offers a roomy five-passenger interior and...

The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer midsize SUV offers a roomy five-passenger interior and improved performance. Credit: Chevrolet

The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer midsize SUV is poised to jump to the head of its class, thanks to great looks, a roomy and comfortable five-passenger interior and good performance.

If you remember the boring old Blazer and TrailBlazer midsize SUVs, forget them now. The 2019 Blazer doesn’t share a nut or bolt with them. It’s long, elegant and surprisingly luxurious — Chevrolet’s answer to people who fear booming SUV sales will mean highways full of bland look-alikes.

The new Blazer just started showing up in dealerships, but I recently spent a couple of days driving Blazers in and around San Diego, on routes that included twisty mountain roads, steep hills, flat highway runs and rush-hour traffic.

The Blazer’s handling and steering were responsive, making it feel like a smaller vehicle in heavy traffic. The ride is comfortable, and the cabin is quiet at highway speeds and over rough pavement.

The styling is unique, with narrow LED running lights, a sharp nose, fast windshield and roof and sculpted sides. It’s one of the few SUVs you’re likely to recognize 100 yards down the road.

Blazer prices start at $29,995 for a front-wheel drive model with a 193-horsepower 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. I tested a well-equipped Blazer RS, the sporty model with all-wheel drive and the optional 308-hp 3.6L V6. A smooth nine-speed automatic transmission is standard equipment.

Chevy expects the Blazer to compete in a growing new segment of high-styled five-passenger midsize SUVs. It fits in the lineup between the compact Equinox and three-row Traverse.

Blazer prices can approach those of the family-oriented Traverse, but Chevrolet doesn’t expect the two to compete based on the idea that buyers of five-seat SUVs are more interested in style than practicality.

The Blazer RS’ sporty and responsive handling should win over buyers who have been skeptical about switching to an SUV. It’s at least as much fun to drive as the front-wheel-drive midsize and large sedans automakers are abandoning in favor of SUVs.

The Blazer’s main competitors are likely to be the Ford Edge, Nissan Murano and Honda Passport, another old name that’s coming back attached to a new model this year.

The Blazer’s interior has the head and shoulder room of a large luxury sedan, and plenty of cargo space. The doors, dash — just about everywhere you touch — is wrapped in soft materials. Infotainment included a Wi-Fi hot spot, wireless charging and an 8-inch touch screen.

Other features include:

  • 4,500-pound towing capacity
  • Sport-tuned all-wheel drive for the RS for improved handling and response
  • Faster steering on the RS than less sporty models
  • Surround view video
  • High-definition video rearview mirror
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Forward collision alert
  • Autonomous front emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Lane-keeping alert and assist
  • 18-, 20- or 21-inch wheels
  • Sliding and reclining rear seat
  • Dual-pane panoramic power sunroof
  • Standard HID headlights and LED daytime running lights

2019 Chevrolet Blazer

Price range: $29,995-$45,600

Price as tested $48,270

Engine: 3.6-liter V6 engine

Transmission: 9-speed automatic

Power: 308 hp @ 6,700 rpm; 270 pound-feet of torque @5,000 rpm,

Towing capacity: 4,500 pounds

EPA fuel economy rating: 20 mpg city, 24 highway

Assembly location: Ramos Arizpe, Mexico

Bottom line: Stylish and fun

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