Chevy Blazer Will Be Reborn as a Mid-Size Crossover, Report Claims

Say it ain't so, Joe.

Chevrolet

Not content to let Ford have all the nostalgic 4x4 fun with the reintroduction of the Ford Bronco in 2020, it seems that Chevrolet will be bringing back one of its own iconic off-road nameplates, according to a report in Automotive News: the Chevy Blazer.

Before you get too excited, however, there's a catch. Unlike the Ford Bronco, which will be built on the global Ford Ranger's body-on-frame platform and whose marketing materials emphasize capability, it seems the new Chevrolet Blazer will be what people these days just can't get enough of: a mid-size, three-row crossover, with no removable roof in sight. Sigh.

Automotive News points out that the company tweaked the sizes of its existing Equinox and Traverse crossovers in the latest generation to make room for a "right-size" entry, a trend that's all the rage these days. The publication's spy photographer caught the alleged Blazer prototype testing against a Nissan Murano, which is a sentence that physically hurts to type out. It will also compete against the Ford Edge when it debuts in 2019.

If you're looking for a better sneak preview, Automotive News also states that the new Chevy Blazer will share a platform and engine choices (though not styling) with the GMC Acadia, which happens to be the brand's best-selling model outside the Sierra. That means a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, or a 3.6-liter V-6 engine. It will likely offer a third row of seating as well.

Reintroducing the Blazer nameplate for a parking-lot-cruising crossover is a strange move for a number of reasons. Full disclosure: I should state up front that I own a 1988 K5 Blazer, so it pains me to see the name reborn as something so antithetical to what it previously stood for. Criticize the S-10 Blazer all you want (no really, go ahead), but at least it was still a body-on-frame SUV equipped with a four-wheel-drive transfer case.

And like Ford, Chevrolet also already sells a truck-based SUV internationally—the Chevy TrailBlazer, riding on the new Colorado frame. That could easily be adapted for the American market as a reborn Blazer and compete head on with the Ranger-based Ford Bronco. But by choosing the soft-roader path, Chevrolet is automatically alienating those who would be drawn in by the Blazer name, while doing nothing for people who would buy it anyway simply because it exists. 

Not that it will hurt them in the end, though. They will build it, and people will come.