The Blazer’s return to market in 2019 was a surprise to some and an instant hit with others. A few bemoaned the change from the truck-based off-road SUV they remembered from the 1990s to the car-based crossover design it is now. But Chevrolet knew what the market wanted and the new Blazer has done well for itself as a result.
The 2021 Blazer gets a few more safety features added on, but otherwise doesn’t change from its 2019 debut model. It handles well, gets good fuel economy, and has a lot of standard features. It’s also cramped in the back seat, short on cargo space, and a little stiffer in ride quality than some of the competition. There are tradeoffs for all that sporty styling, after all.
Swerve Autos Score: 75/100
The 2021 Blazer has a great look. Its curved hood, up-swooshed body lines, and “helmet” roof and greenhouse are beautiful. Chevrolet designers put a lot of thought into creating a somewhat contemporary, but still edgy look for the Blazer.
The hood curves forward deeply at about the halfway point, sharpening the nose of the Blazer and giving the headlamps a peering quality. The large intake grille uses simple lines to downplay its dominance over the front fascia allowing the large fog lamp bezels and lower faux skid plate to take emphasis. The hood cuts sharply to the fenders on either side, giving a muscular look. The line across the top of the fenders ends just past the side mirror where a parallel line below takes over to run through the front door handle and then turn quickly upwards over the rear quarter, cutting the rear pillar.
Body lines are sharp and well-defined, creating a running board and faux rocker between the wheels. The wheels themselves are made large thanks to the wide wells they fit inside. Many of the Chevy Blazer’s design cues are thanks to the Camaro.
The stylish design of the 2021 Chevrolet Blazer’s interior is interrupted by some cheap plastics and cramped rear headroom and cargo space. The sloping roofline of the SUV makes for limited space at the rear.
The Blazer’s cargo space measures 30.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats and opens to 64.2 cubic feet with those rear seats folded. It’s notable that they do not fold flat and that nearly all other competing crossovers have larger cargo areas in both measurements. The Blazer does have an available cargo management system with a sliding fence on a floor-mounted rail that is pretty brilliant, though.
The 2021 Chevrolet Blazer has three engine options, depending on the packaging chosen. All of them are augmented by the Blazer’s unusually spry handling and intuitive drive qualities. All of the engine options are mated to a Sade-smooth nine-speed automatic transmission that adds a lot to the drive metrics for this crossover.
The base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that outputs 193 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque. For around town driving and everyday “getting there,” this powerplant is just about enough and adds efficiency in the front-wheel drive it comes with as standard.
A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder option is probably our favorite engine option for the 2021 Chevy Blazer. It outputs 230 horses and 258 lb-ft at pretty low RPM ranges. This one feels sporty and gives a lot of pep without losing much in terms of fuel economy when compared to the base engine. All-wheel drive is available with this engine.
The final engine is a 3.6-liter V6 that outputs 308 HP and 270 lb-ft. Like all good sixes, this 3.6 offers a smooth power curve that runs almost in parallel as RPM builds. It gives the Blazer a roughly six second 0-60 mph sprint. It eats fuel in the city, though, dropping the 21/22 mpg ratings of the four-cylinder’s to 19. On the highway, however, all Blazer models get at least 27 mpg with the 2.5L finding 29 a possibility.
For most people shopping in the midsize crossover-SUV segment, the 2021 Blazer will likely fit the bill on most metrics. The smaller cargo space and somewhat cramped back seating may knock it down a peg or two for some buyers, however, and the lack of safety equipment from the get-go may be a deal breaker for others.
Seating in the 2021 Chevrolet Blazer is comfortable up front. Cloth upholstery is standard, but leather and leatherette are available in various packages for the Blazer. The rear seats have limited headroom, so anyone at or near the six foot mark will find them cramped. This gets worse with the available sunroof and panoramic glass. For parents, the LATCH connectors are well-placed on the outboard positions, but will require a little pushing to get the safety seat to snap into place. The middle seating position has only an overhead tether, so parents looking to place their little one in the middle spot for better visibility will be limited to just that option.
On the road, the Blazer has acceptable noise levels, but is a little stiff in its ride.
Technology is generally a high point in General Motors vehicles. The Blazer is no exception to this, having an excellent infotainment system via the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 System. An 8-inch touchscreen is standard and comes with a WiFi hot spot, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, four USB ports, and a six-speaker stereo system. The clear graphics on the screen make it feel like much more than a base system and its quick responses are next-generation good.
Several upgrades are available for the base infotainment, including navigation, audio upgrades, wireless device charging, and so forth. Driver aids like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, and surround-view cameras are also available.
Connected Services 9/10
The standard features of the 2021 Blazer’s connectivity are amazingly good. Compared to others in the segment, the Blazer carries more by default than almost everyone else. A standard WiFi hotspot is very unusual and the capability to easily upgrade to added services like Chevrolet’s Marketplace for on-the-spot purchase and reservations is a boon.
Active Safety 5/10
Oddly, the 2021 Chevrolet Blazer does not come standard with most of the active safety equipment that’s become expected in today’s market. The base model Blazer does not have forward collision warning or automatic emergency braking, for example. These don’t come until the 2LT package is added. From there, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts aren’t available until after that package is augmented with the 3LT upgrade. This makes most active safety systems a relatively expensive add-on for the Blazer.
The base model Blazer is much cheaper than most of the competitors’ base models, but it should be noted that it comes with far less equipment by comparison and is largely aimed towards fleets and rental companies. On the other hand, the top-most trim level of the Blazer is still cheaper than the average fully-loaded crossover in its class, so on the face of it, the Blazer is cheaper than most of the competition.
Digging deeper, however, finds that comparable models are often at or below the Blazer’s price point when popular packages are considered. This makes the value proposition a little more ambiguous.
The Blazer does have steady sales, but is not a best-seller when compared to popular choices in the segment like the Toyota Highlander or even its sibling the Chevrolet Traverse.
Editors Influence 7/10
The 2021 Chevrolet Blazer is a solid SUV on the small side of the midsize market. It’s fun to drive and engaging to the eye, but lacks a lot of the expected equipment and capability buyers will likely consider important. If a Blazer is in your future, though, we’d recommend the turbo-four option and the 2LT trim it comes with at the very least.