SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - July 2019

SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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Page 84 of 91

Chevrolet’s 2019 Blazer A sleek crossover SUV that has off-road fans hoping for some Baja DNA in its future By Dan Sanchez Photos courtesy Chevrolet Driven by racers such as Parnelli Jones and Frank Vessels, Chevrolet’s Blazer earned its way into the hearts of SCORE fans and off-road adventurers when it challenged Baja when it first appeared in 1969. The love affair with the big square-shaped vehicle continued until it was changed to the Tahoe in 1999. While the Blazer had made its way back into production in 1983 under the mid-size category as the S-10 Blazer, the love for the original full-size model had never faltered. Even two-time SCORE Baja 1000 winner BJ Baldwin built a Trophy Truck style K5 Blazer in 2017 that reignited people’s passion for the vehicle. With the introduction of the 2019 Blazer, off-road fans were hoping to see some DNA from its early off-road ancestry. At first glance, the 2019 Blazer is still considered a mid-sized SUV, but it’s definitely not like its earlier S-10 predecessors. The SUV has a sleek and sporty design that undoubtedly is as expected from a modern SUV, and will compete against vehicles like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota 4Runner and others. One does not picture the 2019 Blazer four-wheeling in the Baja desert, but perhaps that can be upgraded over time. The RS model is one that most off-road enthusiasts might gravitate towards, as the Premiere edition has upgraded trim, and standard models only come with a 193 horsepower 2.5l four-cylinder. The RS model’s V6 pumps out a respectable 308 horsepower and 270 lbs.-ft. of torque at 5,000 rpms. Obviously it’s not a four-wheeling torque monster, but it does feature a nine-speed Hydra-Matic 9T50 automatic transmission and All-Wheel Drive that makes it turn a 0-60 mph time of mid-six seconds in recent testing. The 2.5-liter equipped models are all front-wheel drive only and the Blazer uses start-stop technology to help give it improved fuel economy, 21 MPG combined highway and city. The 2019 Blazer features several driving modes, including sport and off-road, which can provide some increased traction and agility. The RS AWD features a twin-clutch all-wheel drive that sends torque to the rear wheel that needs the most traction, giving the new Blazer some off-road prowess. Standard models come with 18-inch wheel while the RS comes with 20 and 21-inch options. With the V6, the Blazer RS has a towing capacity of 4,500 lbs. The interior is roomy and the flat floor that was always well-liked in the Blazers of the past, is evident in the new 2019 model. This gives more foot and leg room, especially for rear passengers. The Blazer’s cargo space are average with its competitors, providing 30.3 cubic feet with the rear seats in the raised position, and 64.2 cubic feet of space when the rear seats are lowered. Large round gauges are a nice touch in the RS model with many reviewers indicating it reminds them of sitting in a Camaro. Standard features on all models is an eight-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. While the 2019 Blazer is not what off-road enthusiast expected, it comes at an affordable price starting with an MSRP of $29,995, with RT and Premiere models ranging around $40K. One would hope that an Z71 or other off-road package could make the 2019 Blazer one that would rekindle its former glory, and compete more with vehicles like the Toyota 4Runner. SJ

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