2024 Chevy Blazer EV First Drive Review: Room to Improve

The Blazer EV hits a few high notes but misses some gimmes as GM trots out its latest Ultium electric crossover.

byJames Gilboy|
2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV
James Gilboy
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The 2024 Chevy Blazer EV is a crucial cog in the machine that is General Motors’ grand EV ambitions. It’s a two-row midsize SUV aimed at the heart of the electric car market under the everyman Chevy brand. In short, it’s the EV that GM thinks is the perfect fit for the average American, and one it expects to sell in spades.

But like the company's electrification strategy at large, the Blazer EV hasn’t gone off without a hitch. As GM’s large-scale EV production gets pushed back, raising the importance of early entrants like this, the Chevy enters what is a red hot space with undeniable strengths like strong range and stellar Super Cruise driving assist tech. But it also comes onto the scene with a surprising lack of grace: a ride that's too stiff for a family vehicle, a Apple CarPlay-free infotainment that needs further development, an unfocused design, and a pricing structure that makes it less competitive than it could be.

You'd think a natural rival would be the Ford Mustang Mach-E, or the Tesla Model Y. But those are compact SUVs—as a midsize, the Blazer EV is seven inches longer and four inches wider than the Ford. It's priced accordingly too. The 2LT trim starts at $56,715, while the RWD RS version is almost $62,000. That's three-row Kia EV9 territory, let alone the number of great gas or hybrid options, and the Blazer EV feels like it's stuck in between, not offering the most of anything for that money. Being a decent electric crossover isn't enough to move the needle anymore.

2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV rear three-quarter. James Gilboy
2024 Chevy Blazer EV SpecsAWDRWD
Base Price (as tested)$53,195 ($60,215)$56,715 ($61,790)
Powertraindual-motor all-wheel drive | 85-kWh batterysingle-motor rear-wheel drive | 102-kWh battery
Horsepower288340
Torque333 lb-ft325 lb-ft
Curb WeightTBATBA
Seating Capacity55
Cargo Capacity25.6 cubic feet behind second row | 59.8 cubic feet behind first row<<
Towing Capacity1,500 pounds3,500 pounds
Estimated EPA Range279 miles324 miles
Maximum DC Charge Speed150 kW190 kW
Quick TakeChevy's biggest electric SUV yet has its strong points, but also misses the mark where it really shouldn't.
Score6.5/10

To clear up some confusion, the Blazer EV isn’t related to the Blazer SUV as you know it—only 7.5% of parts are shared between them. They’re different down to the bones, with the EV being based on the one-size-fits-all Ultium architecture used in everything from the next-generation Bolt subcompact to the hulking GMC Hummer EV.

A five-seat midsize crossover that takes up about the same amount of real estate as the gas Blazer, it gets two battery choices of 85 and 102 kWh, powering the drive wheels of your choice. Any choice: there’ll be front-, rear-, and all-wheel-drive models eventually, and even a high-performance SS model too. Charging is done through a CCS port, though it’ll switch to Tesla's NACS standard in a couple of years—GM will also provide adapters, so don’t fret. It gets bidirectional charging that can power your house in a blackout, and serious Google integration whose benefits I’ll explain later.

The Blazer EV is distinguished from the fossil-fueled model by a significantly different design, with more stylized headlights, a longer wheelbase that gives it more RWD proportions, and fin-like elements cupping the front fenders. There’s a subtle feather pattern on the wheels and a perk to the edges of the rear spoiler that evokes those common on the Dodge Charger. It’s not that attention-grabbing on the whole though, for better or worse depending on whether you want people to know you drive an EV.

The interior meanwhile is more polarizing, with its spaceship thruster-like vents, 11-inch digital instrument cluster, and a gigantic 17.7-inch touchscreen canted toward the driver. It’s tremendously spacious, with significant legroom and multiple fingers of headroom above my 5-foot-11 crown. The dual center console bins are more useful than some alternatives’ floating center consoles, and physical controls have been retained for the most important technical functions.

Stylistically, it’s an explosion of faux leather in the style of a gaming chair; the red and black colorway looks like it should come with a coupon for a 12-pack of Mountain Dew Code Red. The materials and build quality are unremarkable for the price point, but the seats offer solid back support and not a whole lot of bolstering.

One of the Blazer EV’s headline features is its Google Android Automotive infotainment. It’s integrated with the charging system to plan navigation routes based on charger locations and estimated range, with programming to pre-condition the battery as you near planned stops.

More car companies like Polestar and Volvo have been pairing up with Google to run their infotainment OS, though in the Blazer EV they come with the drawback of no support for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone connectivity, which GM has infamously dropped for reasons that surely have nothing to do with data collection. Of course, you can still easily pair your phone and run apps like Google Maps directly through the system, but feature organization and menu nesting aren’t the software’s strong suit. Some core functions (like the pause button when you're listening to music) aren’t where you expect them to be. It is fast and smooth, however. I experienced no stability issues, but others at the event spoke of system crashes, and Polestar's initial launch was of its own Google OS was beset by bugs. Don't expect software perfection out of the gate.

Speaking of, crashy would be too harsh a term for the ride quality once I got going, but it sure was stiff, too much for a car of the Blazer EV’s weight and intended purpose as a family runabout. (To be fair, an absurdly hard ride hasn't stopped the Tesla Model Y from cornering the market.) It's a shame because the SUV corners rapidly and grips hard, although totally numb steering and a lack of proper seat bolstering don't inspire confidence in aggressive driving situations. For that matter, neither does the way the computer heavily dampens throttle input with any significant steering angle in both the RWD and AWD models. Oversteer? Never heard of her. Heavy braking also triggered ABS on the front brakes more easily than expected. Visibility is a final weakness though, with small side mirrors, and a tiny rear window that makes you prefer the camera mirror. It’s not a problem you want in a car that feels as bulky as the Blazer EV.

There are positives to discuss. Except when it won't let you hang the rear out—which, why are you doing that anyway in this thing—the Blazer EV has excellent pedal calibration, with intuitive throttle response, a reassuringly firm brake, and a one-pedal mode that can bring the car to a complete stop using the regen brakes. It even works when the battery is full, which isn't the case with every EV. The driving position was otherwise comfortable. Road and wind noise are whisper-quiet as you’d expect in an EV, allowing the strong audio system to strut its stuff.

Both the rear- and all-wheel-drive powertrains tested accelerated handily, if not with much flair. Neither felt significantly quicker than the other, though you can bet both will outperform the coming front-drive model. Chevy estimates the RS will clip 60 mph in six seconds, so while it's not painfully quick by any means, the instant torque is still a kick. For reference, that figure is right around the Ford Mustang Mach-E's time.

It felt a bit like Chevy designed and engineered the car around the forthcoming 557-hp SS performance model, then had to work backwards to figure out the lesser trims. That's not the sense I got in driving the Kia EV6 and EV6 GT; if anything that car has the opposite problem, where the go-fast version feels like a stretch. But as I said at the outset, the bigger issue is that Chevy points to cars like the EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Mustang Mach-E, and Model Y as competitors. The Blazer EV is more expensive than all of those by a significant margin despite filling the same role in your life as a slightly bigger two-row crossover. To continue the Kia analogy, it's priced like an EV9 while presenting as an EV6.

On that front, the EV9 offers a third row, more cargo space (including a frunk, which the Chevy lacks), faster charging, and Apple CarPlay. But it has less range, a higher base price, and no hands-free driving assist. The EV6 misses out on the tax credit and does have less cargo space and range than the Blazer EV, but it looks and drives better. Both require dealing with Kia dealers, unfortunately. (Also worth noting the Hyundai Ioniq 5 matches the Blazer's cargo space with a smaller footprint.)

The Tesla Model Y meanwhile also has a (tiny) third row, more cargo space, faster charging, and immediate access to the biggest fast-charging network in the country for $15,000 less than the Blazer. But it lacks bidirectional charging, Apple CarPlay or Google integration, or any semblance of good customer support. It's also known for poor quality control, under-developed driving assists, exaggerated range claims, and a CEO who won't shut up. But, no dealer markups.

Then there’ll soon be the Honda Prologue too; an SUV that shares most of its mechanicals with the Blazer EV. It’ll likely have its own software and suspension tuning, addressing some of my bigger complaints about the Chevy. It's supposed to start around $48,000, and it'll be very interesting to see how Honda positions the trim structure against this.

The Chevy Blazer EV gets 279 miles of estimated range with its smaller-battery AWD configuration, and a strong 324 with the big-battery RWD model. They’re capable of up to 150-kW and 190-kW DC fast-charging respectively, adding up to 69 miles of range in 10 minutes on AWD, or 78 miles on RWD models. They display their charge status with headlight animations, and there’s also the bidirectional charging feature.

Its Google Maps-based navigation plans around range limitations and pre-conditions the battery before charging stops. Because of its CCS charge port, it can access the largest charge networks in the country aside from the Tesla Supercharger network—and eventually that too. At Level 2 charging stations, they can take up to 11.5 kW of current; a hair more than some competitors.

2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV by lifeguard stations. James Gilboy

Like other GM EVs I’ve driven, the Blazer EV seems to court EV-hesitant buyers while neglecting the core experience (and the core EV customer base) to some degree. There’s something to be said for the peace of mind that comes with buying from a century-old automaker that’ll spend big to satisfy its EV customers, but it’s not the only piece of the equation.

It’s not a bad car by any measure, but the Blazer EV falls short in enough places that it’s hard to get excited about it even in a vacuum. And it doesn’t exist in one, so in spite of its strengths it’s hard to see the Blazer EV making much of a splash in its current state. We'll see about those OTA updates—and of course, whatever chassis tweaks the 2025 model brings.

2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV in front of a Christmas tree by the coast. James Gilboy

Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: james@thedrive.com

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