Is the Chevy Blazer RS Really the Camaro of Crossovers?
While the newest Blazer isn’t quite like its predecessors, Chevrolet has given the crossover some desirable features. It hasn’t gone quite as far as Ford, in terms of branding it with a historic name. But the Chevy Blazer RS is an attempt to make a fun-to-drive crossover. However, is it really on the level of the Camaro? YouTube team The Straight Pipes wanted to find out.
2020 Chevy Blazer RS specs and features
The base 2020 Blazer starts at $28,800. The Chevy Blazer RS, though, is one level below the range-topping Premier. It starts at $40,600.
For that, the Chevy Blazer RS gets a 3.6-liter V6, rated at 308 hp and 270 lb-ft. It links to a 9-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. 0-60, Car and Driver reports, comes in 6.3 seconds. Impressively, though, 5-60 takes only 0.1 seconds. This crossover might not be fast, but you don’t need to use launch control to access it. But, if you want more power, Lingenfelter’s working on a supercharger kit that could potentially boost output to 450 hp.
Most of the Chevy Blazer RS’ Camaro connections, Automobile reports, are down to interior and exterior trim. The crossover’s 8” touchscreen is shared with the Camaro, Motor Trend reports, as are the A/C vents and controls. Outside, the Blazer RS has some blacked-out trim pieces, Motor1 reports, as well as optional 21” black wheels. And of course, there’s the large mesh grille and red-accented black leather interior.
But Chevy didn’t make the Blazer RS solely an appearance package. Besides the V6 and AWD—optional on lower trims—the crossover has sharper steering and stiffer dampers. The AWD system itself is upgraded compared to lower trims; it features a torque-vectoring rear differential.
The upcharge over the base Chevy Blazer also includes more standard features. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all Blazers. However, the RS adds blind-spot monitoring, navigation, heated front seats, and steering wheel, and a power liftgate, Autoblog reports. Additional driver-assistance features, like adaptive cruise control and emergency braking, though, are optional extras.
Does the Chevy Blazer RS drive like a Camaro?
Even if you don’t buy the range-topping ZL1 1LE, the Camaro offers a fun driving experience. Unfortunately, although the Chevy Blazer RS offers some moderate fun, The Straight Pipes and other reviewers found the crossover disappointing overall.
The steering does load up as you turn, but in normal conditions, it’s fairly light and lacks feeling. The V6 is OK, but the transmission is slow to downshift, even when it’s put into Sport Mode. Speaking of, the AWD system is also adjustable, but the knob to adjust it is inconsistently responsive. And though the suspension makes the Chevy Blazer RS’ handling sharper than something like the Hyundai Santa Fe, there’s still a fair amount of body roll.
Speaking of rolling, the seats lack sufficient bolstering to really hold passengers in place during spirited driving. And although the interior is spacious and attractive, the materials feel rather cheap, Motor1 reports. Especially in a crossover that can be optioned to $50,000.
So, although the Chevy Blazer RS apes the Camaro’s looks, it doesn’t quite mimic the muscle car’s moves.
How its rivals compare
For about $3000 more than the Chevy Blazer RS, there’s the Ford Edge ST. Its 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6 makes 335 hp and 380 lb-ft, and like the RS, has standard AWD. It’s not quite as lively as the Fiesta ST, MT reports. However, Car and Driver reports it offers genuine steering feel and accelerates faster than the Blazer RS. Ford also gave the Edge ST more upgrades than Chevy gave the Blazer RS.
If you want something less aggressive-looking, there’s the Mazda CX-5. It’s a Car and Driver 10Best and Editor’s Choice winner due to both its design and handling prowess. It doesn’t make as much power as the RS, true. But even the top-of-the-line Signature is about $3000 cheaper than the RS. Yet it has a better interior and more standard ADAS features—enough to be an IIHS Top Safety Pick+.
Finally, the Chrysler Pacifica minivan is also worth a look. It actually beat out the Chevy Blazer in MT’s segment-crossing family car comparison. To quote, “the Pacifica rides as well as the Blazer, handles nearly as well, charges onto the freeway as well, carries equivalent driver assistance and safety systems, is just as quiet inside, and is easier to see out of.” Plus, for 2021, the redesigned Pacifica offers AWD as an option.
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