The Blazer sold 70,325 units, while the Ford Bronco managed to find a mere 35,023 buyers. A fair comparison? Not really. The Bronco has only been in production since June. Add another five months’ worth of production to the Ford, and it will easily match Chevrolet’s figure.
Still, the Blazer, a storied nameplate in the Chevy arsenal, has been around in its current form since 2019, and its sales are matching those of another revived nameplate — one equally loved and very hot. That’s impressive given that the new Blazer is a crossover, and not the body-on-frame SUV it always was and the Bronco still is. But the full-size SUV slot at Chevy is now held by the Tahoe.
So what do you do to keep the Blazer’s sales, um, blazing? You freshen it up for 2023.
An updated look for the new model year
Appearing at the Chicago Auto Show in McCormick Place is the 2023 Blazer you’ll be able to buy this summer.
As you might expect of a freshening, Chevrolet gussied up the usual bits by bestowing the Blazer with a new front fascia, revised grille design, updated LED headlamps and LED daytime running lamps, and new taillamps. The new look isn’t radically different, but feels a bit sportier. Designers have also updated the selection of 18-, 20- and 21-inch wheels.
The new model brings with it other updates as well. All models now come with a larger 10-inch-diagonal infotainment touchscreen, and wireless charging is standard on RS and Premier models, while optional on 2LT and 3LT trims. And uniquely, a Nightshift Blue interior available on the RS. Another hot option? A 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot. On the performance side of the ledger, Adaptive Cruise Control is now availability on the Blazer 2LT and 3LT.
But space remains intact, with a 30.5-cubic-foot cargo hold that expands to 64.2 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.
The Blazer’s goodness remains intact
But other aspects of the Blazer remain unchanged. As before, it’s offered in ascending LT (including 2LT and 3LT trims), RS and Premier models with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
Power comes from a turbocharged DOHC 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. It’s standard on 2LT, 3LT and Premier models, and produces a respectable 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The EPA rates this powertrain at 24 mpg in combined city/highway driving with front-wheel drive, and 25 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.
There’s also a more powerful engine, a DOHC 3.6-liter V-6 with 308 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque that’s optional on 3LT and Premier trims and standard on the RS. It returns 22 mpg in combined city/highway driving with front-wheel drive and 21 mpg with all-wheel drive.
A 9-speed automatic is standard on all Blazers. Tire sizes range from 18 to 21 inches depending on model.
The Chevy Safety Assist package is standard and includes automatic emergency braking, following distance indicator, forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, lane-keep assist with lane-departure warning and automatic high beams.
An SUV born to fight the Ford Bronco
The Blazer nameplate debuted in 1969, created to take on the Ford Bronco, International Harvester Scout and Jeep Cherokee. It was built on Chevrolet’s full-size pickup frame, and was powered by a 155-hp inline 6, 200-hp 5.0-liter V-8, or a 255-horsepower 5.7-liter V-8. A 3-or 4-speed manual transmission was offered, along with a 3-speed automatic transmission. But the Blazer stood apart from its fellow off-road warriors in not only being larger, but boasting a cabin that could be built to hold one, two or five passengers.
A second generation debuted for 1973, and would soldier on through 1991. Engines carried over, and styling was revised. During its 19-year run, the Blazer underwent a number of styling updates, as well as changes to its drivetrain line-up. But at its heart, there were few radical changes, until 1992 that is.
That’s when the Blazer would undergo its final generational update, and lost its removable roof — the model’s signature feature. A 210-hp 5.7-liter V-8 was the sole engine offered, mated to a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission with two- and four-wheel drive.
But Chevrolet no longer believed in the Blazer’s marketing magic, changing its name to the Chevrolet Tahoe for 1995.
The Blazer name returned for 2019 on a sporty midsize crossover that shared absolutely nothing with its forbearer aside from its moniker. And even though it no longer competes with the Bronco, which returned last year as a true SUV, the Blazer crossover comparison is a natural given their long rivalry and their very different approaches to the same type of vehicle.