How the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer Compares to Recent Revivals by Ford and GM

1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer | Chevrolet

When the all-new Chevrolet Blazer makes its return to the U.S. market in 2019, it won’t be the only classic vehicle revival on people’s minds. After all, GM’s Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon both made comebacks for 2015.

Meanwhile, GM’s biggest competitor has been busy revamping classic nameplates of its own. First, we’ll see the Ford Ranger midsize pickup hit the road in 2019. The following year, we’ll see the return of the Bronco SUV.

However, all these revivals have one thing in common: Most people consider them worthy of their predecessors. That’s not necessarily the case with the 2019 Blazer, which started taking heat from critics immediately after its June 21, 2018 reveal.

Put another way, Blazer pales in comparison with other major revivals — especially the Bronco it once competed directly with.

Chevy’s new Blazer is a far cry from the original.

Chevrolet Blazer Exterior Design Director Mike Pevovar introduces the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer Thursday, June 21, 2018 during a special event in Atlanta, Georgia. Slotting between the Equinox and Traverse, the 2019 Blazer features five-passenger seating and model ranges that include sporty RS (pictured here) and up-level Premier models. The Chevrolet Blazer will arrive at U.S. dealerships in early 2019.

This Blazer won’t battle the Bronco. | Steve Fecht/Chevrolet

While nothing drastic changed about midsize pickups in recent years, the same can’t be said for SUVs. These days, most utility vehicles (including Ford Explorer) no longer feature body-on-frame construction. Instead, they’re crossovers, just like Fiat and the other brands not known for brawn produce.

GM continued with that trend with the 2019 Blazer. You don’t have to pore through the Chevy press release to see how much it’s changed. It’s simple:

  • Blazer is now a crossover, with its truck roots left behind in 2005.
  • It features front-wheel drive with only a nine-speed automatic transmission available.
  • Its sleek styling doesn’t recall previous models in the slightest.

In Chevy’s estimation, the old Blazer clientele went out with the original model. This time around, GM is selling to a more affluent midsize SUV customer. Ford took a different approach with the Bronco.

The 2020 Ford Bronco will retain its rugged roots.

Image of 2020 Ford Bronco under wraps

At least we know the next Ford Bronco is boxy. | Ford

When Ford released preliminary details about the 2020 Ford Bronco, we learned enough to know it had kept its integrity during its long absence. (Bronco production in the U.S. ended in 1996.)

For starters, Ford announced it would keep its truck-based roots and use the new Ranger platform. Next, we got a teaser showing us the outline of the model headed back to America. It was refreshingly boxy and nothing like the crossovers most people can’t tell apart these days.

Even though we don’t have the exact specs, we know Bronco will run with power from the rear wheels and feature the solid rear axle that made SUVs ready for the trail.

Gone are the days when Bronco and Blazer did battle.

The bottom line is, Bronco and Blazer ceased being competitors decades ago, and there won’t be a comeback for that rivalry. GM took the more boring (but likely as profitable) route with its Blazer.

Bronco, on the other hand, looks be the rugged model enthusiasts (and anyone who cherishes performance) will prefer. It will be strange to think people will buy one without four-wheel drive.

Maybe there’s nothing sad about this, unless you were hoping for more of a throwback from Chevy in 2019. You definitely won’t get that from the next Blazer.

GM and Ford hit most of the right notes with their pickup revivals, but took a very different route with their SUV comebacks.

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