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Why The New Chevrolet Blazer Is Not A Real SUV

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The upcoming new Ford Bronco will be, so why not the Blazer?

We were a bit surprised when Chevrolet announced it was bringing back the Blazer nameplate after a 14-year absence. However, given the growing demand for SUVs and crossovers, the production move makes sense. But there’s a major difference between the new 2019 Blazer and its predecessors: the lack of body-on-frame construction. The new mid-size Blazer is a crossover built on the same platform that underpins the GMC Acadia. Given that Ford will soon launch a reborn Bronco that’ll share the new Ranger’s truck platform, why didn’t Chevy opt to do the same, only with its Colorado?

The Drive asked Chevrolet about this and the decision for a Blazer crossover and not a true SUV came down to what buyers want.

"For this vehicle, with the midsize, two-row customer really being design forward, we looked at the business case, and those customers aren’t necessarily looking for the body-on-frame,” said a Chevy spokeswoman. "So we kind of have a modern interpretation of a Blazer with this being a crossover. It was never intended to be anything else.” And so it goes.

Chevy determined early on that more people would buy the Blazer as a crossover as opposed to an SUV. Business is business, after all. But then again, if Chevy wanted a new crossover to fill the slot between the Equinox and Traverse, why use the Blazer nameplate? Couldn’t it have been saved for a potential future Bronco fighter, thus reigniting a historic rivalry? "It was never on the radar,” the spokeswoman added. "We thought there was opportunity here with the two-row segment. This area of the business is growing, so that’s why Blazer is what it is.”

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Chevy figured a modern-day Blazer would also benefit from a sportier exterior design, which was influenced by the Camaro. "Our intent all along was to be about dry-road handling. Kind of like a sports sedan, you know, drawing on that performance DNA,” Blazer lead engineer Larry Mihalko said. "As people are converting from sedans into crossovers, this provides something a little more sporty in this segment, versus something you'd just use in a utility way.”

If the naming decision had been given to us (and we don’t think we’re alone on this), we’d pick another name for this new crossover and save Blazer for a potential future SUV. After all, gas is cheap again and real off-road capable SUVs are also selling in big numbers.

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