Description: The Blazer is Chevrolet’s midsize SUV, offered in 2-door and 4-door versions. The original Blazer in 1969 was a full-size SUV based on Chevrolet’s full-size pickup and evolved into the Tahoe. The midsize SUV debuted in 1983 as the S-10 Blazer.
Strengths: the blazer is certainly a go anywhere vehicle. our '96 has run flawlessly since we bought it new in '96. the truck is fantastic in snow! it's actually fun passing all the *one-wheel* drive cars stuck in the snow.
Weaknesses: we bought the full time four wheel drive which was a mistake. you loose fuel efficiency with this. full time 4wd is a waste of money. especially with 4wd on the fly available now. space - the blazer has plenty of room for 2 people to go camping or skiing, but 3 or more and your maxing the trucks space out. we added a thule box to the roof for some relief. it helped somewhat. but for a family of four to go skiing or camping, the blazer is just too small. think long and hard about how you're going to use this truck. if you have a family that you're traveling with in an active way, at some point you'll think about adding a cargo trailer to the mix (new $2K).
another thing, if your new to the sport utility scene, get used to driving a top heavy vehicle. the stance could stand to be a little wider on the blazer.
Summary: (pre 1997 Model) - overall, we love the way the blazer performs. however, our family has grown out of it though. packing it for weekend get aways has become too challenging and stressful.
Strengths: 1) Great mpg for an SUV.
2) Very good front and back leg room.
3) Decent lumbar support, and power seat for driver.
4) Room for bikes, as well as all that stuff I get at Home Depot.
5) Hybrid: low emissions, good mpg,and cutting edge. Everyone likes it. Very few people have it, so it's 'cool'.
6) Smooth acceleration. Even my wife commented on it.
7) The INFO center: Lots of good diagnostic information. The "remaining miles" to fillup is accurate too.
8) Six-CD/radio player.
Weaknesses: 1) AC only works when gas engine runs, not battery power. You must switch to Max AC if you want it on all the time.
2) Same goes for the two Defrost modes.
3) Speedometer design: The needle is almost as wide as the spacing between the five mile increments. I don't know if I'm doing 66 or 69mph!
4) No console thermometer--so I don't know the outside temperature. (My last two cars had one)
5) Placing of inside dome light is a bit too far back for front passengers to reach easily.
6) The radio speakers are decent, but not the best.
Summary: I recently wrote in a second review of my 2004 Blazer how my wife refused to drive it, and how rising gas prices made me not want to buy it.
AFter two months I can say: It looks good. It accelerates well, it handles well, it brakes well, and it's getting 30-31 mpg.
I can state emphatically, I like to drive my new Ford Escape.
Similar Products Used: SUV-wise: 1989 and 2004 Chevy Blazers.
Strengths: During the two years we owned the Blazer, here is what I liked:
Great for long distance driving: 20mpg, comfortable seats, excellent lumbar support.
Excellent, easy to engage 4WD.
Excellent weight/cargo capacity.
Great sound system.
Weaknesses: Here are the things my wife and I noted as weaknesses:
Very heavy; slow acceleration; even the doors were heavy.
Poor commuter mpg.
Poor tires: We had problems with valve stems and wheel rim leaks, in addition to the flat tires that were caused by "something?" that we ran over.
The battery ran down a numbe rof times. Once it was a bad alternator; other times we weren't sure what happened.
Finally, my wife did not like the long length or the weight. She refused to drive it during the entire two years. That's a weakness that is hard to overcome.
Summary: Problem: Gas prices rising; wife won't drive the SUV.
If you look back through these archives, you will see I wrote an inital review of the Blazer and gave it three stars.
I re-read that review this evening, and still agree with what I wrote back then.
Since that review I had driven the Blazer to Canada, NH, and VA. It was a great long-distance car. I especially loved the comfortable seats, and the security of 4WD during winter driving.
On the other hand, it got 12mpg in commuter driving, and my wife refused to drive it. She is the exception to the Marketing that says women love SUVs.
She also pointed out how we had a succession of tire problems: Two flats, a valve leak, and most recently a wheel rim leak.
Finally, the rising price of gas just made me want to drive her car more, and she rightfully resisted. Something needed to be done.
We still needed something to carry our skis, bikes, and "stuff", so we decided to look at a smaller SUV [one she would be willing to drive] and then to see if the Escape Hybrid might be worthwhile for us.
So, the Blazer is gone after just two years. I liked it, but just not enough, and she did not like it at all.
I will start a review of the Hybrid Escape in a few weeks.
Strengths: 4WD performance in snow.
Long distance seating comfort.
Console gauge arrangement.
Good visibility through front, side, and rear windows.
Ease of moving rear seat up/down for cargo space.
Rear split seat.
Excellent heater and A/C.
Weaknesses: Middling acceleration (not as good as expected).
Relatively loud environment at highway speeds.
No separate A/C switch --A/C turns on when fan output moved to two specific settings.
Poor city gas milage.
Summary: In September 2003, I traded in my '89 S10 Blazer for a 2004 Blazer (See September 2003 review of previous Blazer).
I use this new Blazer mostly for long distance [out of state] trips or for occasional trips to local Home Depot. It now has about 3,600 miles on it.
After eight months, and driving it in both hot and very cold weather, I have learned a bit about the car (see Strengths and Weaknesses below).
I have driven the car several times to other US states. After four or six hours, the driver's seat is still comfortable, and my wife reports she finds the passenger seat comfortable.
The car has consistantly averaged 20 mpg highway. We have been easily able to place two bicycles (or a dozen sets of skis) , cooler chests, and luggage in the back at the same time.
The vehicle is able to pass efficiently at highway speeds, but acceleration from a dead stop is not so good.
Thus far there have been no mechanical failures.
The major thing I have noted is that the vehicle is very heavy, perhaps too heavy for the engine. My wife has complained that the doors are too heavy.
So, while it is not perfect, it is about what I expected and I am pleased.
In January 2004 we bought the wife a 2004 Toyota Corolla (review to follow soon). We both would give it 5 stars. While I like my Blazer I can give it only 3 stars, because it is clear that GM still has some work to do to match the Japanese automakers.
Strengths: Engine power, ride, appearance, basically just about everything.
Weaknesses: If you need a clear view through the rear window, get the spare tire mounted under the body, not the swing-away rear tire carrier.
Summary: We bought this Blazer brand new in January 2003. I had wanted a Blazer for 15 years, from when the small ones were still S10 Blazers. To me, this vehicle was well worth the wait. I am completely pleased with this SUV. No,it doesn't get great gas mileage, but it is an SUV, so that is to be expected. A month after we bought this, we had a mini blizzard and got to use the 4WD for the first time. It worked exceptionally well. It won't go places where my husband's F150 will go because it doesn't have the clearance. But, it was bought for me, not him, and I don't plan on driving through the woods knocking down trees like he does. I absolutely love this vehicle. It is beautifully styled, has power, rides very well, and has cargo space sufficient for hauling our daughter's things back & forth from college. And the 4WD practically guarantees that I won't miss a day of work due to snow. The only drawback was the rear mounted spare tire carrier. It does block your vision to the rear, but I chose the rear carrier because it was easier access to the spare than underneath the body (I have a history of getting an extreme amount of flat tires). It just took some getting used to. I had to break myself of the habit of looking through the rear window when backing up. I just learned to rely more on the mirrors and I have no problems now. I also feel safer on the highway in this than I did in my small car I had previously, I guess it's the size that accounts for that. And the size is perfect for me. A full size (now called Tahoes) would have been a little too big. It also is a harder for some people to get into the back of my Blazer, since it is a 2 door, but I rarely have people in the back and if they don't like climbing in there, they can drive themselves where they want to go. I personally prefer the 2 door over the 4 door. All the controls are positioned well; very handy. The automatic tranmission is smooth. Whoever invented those heated mirrors should be rewarded sufficiently, they are the greatest things ever!
Similar Products Used: 1988 Ford F150 XLT Lariat
1990 Plymouth Sundance
1989 Ford Tempo