We have to admit, that when we found out that the all-new 2019 Chevrolet Blazer was not a rugged, rear and all-wheel drive utility, based on the brand’s midsize Colorado truck, we were quite disappointed. After all, Ford was reverting to rear drive architecture for its new Explorer. But, then we decided to look closer at the upstart Blazer.

What we found was a Blazer for a totally modern time. It clearly is aimed at the recently updated Ford Edge, as well as the reborn Honda Passport, and a resurging 5-passenger midsize crossover market.  

Bigger than the Equinox, smaller than Traverse, the Blazer rides on a new version of GM’s front-wheel drive crossover chassis that debuted with the 2017 Cadillac XT5. Overall it is closest in size to GMC’s Acadia.  

Though, and here’s the fun part, its big and bold front end has it looking much more like the Camaro sport coupe than anything else in the bowtie’s crossover family. 

Blazer base engine is the Acadia’s 193–horsepower 2.5-liter I4. But, if you want to add all-wheel drive, or to tow more than 1,500-lbs., you’ll have to upgrade to GM’s 3.6-liter V6.  You’ll get 308-horsepower and be able to pull class competitive 4,500-lbs. Both engines get the same 9-speed automatic transmission. 

An optional twin-clutch all-wheel drive system is more street performance oriented than made for off-pavement exploring. Torque vectoring sends power to the outside rear wheel to help tighten up turns, aided by the 20-inch wheels on our Premier-trimmed test model.  

However, the inexpensive-feeling drive mode selector does include a sketch of a mountain trail for off-road mode. It also has the ability to lock it into two-wheel drive. 

We found seats to be firmer than we expected, as was the ride quality. Those looking for an even firmer experience can get a Blazer RS, which also gets quicker steering, to further enhance a Camaro-like feel. 

However, our Premier had more than enough interior features to please the typical buyer. Great flexibility as well, thanks to sliding rear seats, and seat bottoms that lower when folding the seatbacks, for an almost completely flat load floor.  

Gauges are quite comprehensive, highlighting what is quite a nice interior for the price point. Items like the power tilt/telescope steering wheel and high-quality leather, have it fitting in with the Nissan Murano’s near-luxury atmosphere. 

The dash continues the Camaro vibe with the same low, circular air vents. An 8-inch touchscreen is mounted high on the center stack, but still integrated and looking better than those that appear to be just plopped on top.  

For our complete road test of the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3832 that begins airing April 12, 2019. For a listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings and throughout the week on the MotorTrend cable network.

Bringing the vaulted Blazer name back as a crossover, does sting a little, but this is 2019. So this reborn Blazer is a sporty looking utility, stuffed with technology and family features, aimed squarely at today’s premium midsize SUV buyer. Plus, having more than a taste of Camaro along for the ride, it is bound to turn up the heat on the competition.