What Is It?
Introduced in 1969 as a full-size 2-door utility vehicle, the original Chevrolet Blazer thrived for three generations as a large, off-road-capable, truck-based SUV before being renamed Tahoe in 1994 — a model still offered by Chevrolet today. After a 25-year hiatus, the Blazer name returned to the Chevrolet lineup for the 2019 model year as a sleek, midsize crossover with a thoroughly modern design, a comfortable ride and the latest high-tech features. Recently we drove a sporty variant: the 2021 Chevrolet Blazer RS.
For testing purposes, Chevrolet provided a 2021 Blazer RS finished in Silver Ice Metallic with a Jet Black interior. Starting MSRP for Blazer RS is $43,700, and our test vehicle came equipped with an Enhanced Convenience Package, Driver Confidence II Package and Storage Optimization Package for a total cost as tested of $48,380, including destination charge.
The 2021 Chevrolet Blazer RS is a sportier Blazer featuring a hexagon black mesh grille, black exterior trim, RS badging, dual exhaust with rectangular chrome tips and 20-inch Dark Android machined-face aluminum wheels. Inside, RS features heated front seats, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, a leather-wrapped shift knob, an 8.0-inch color touchscreen with navigation, red interior accents and red trim.
Blazer RS Options
The Enhanced Convenience Package includes heated rear outboard seats, a power tilt / telescoping steering column, a Bose Premium audio system and ventilated front seats. The Driver Convenience II Package adds a rear camera mirror, safety alert seat, wireless charging, adaptive cruise control, LED headlights and HD Surround Vision. The Storage Optimization Package adds a cargo area organizer and front console organizer.
Unlike the boxy design of the original Blazer, the all-new model possesses sleek, modern looks with a bold grille, sloping hood and flowing roofline. As the sportiest version of Blazer, the RS has a bold black grille, black accents and dark wheels to create a more menacing demeanor. The grille gets flanked by narrow HID headlights and LED running lights for a distinctive appearance. At the rear, a spoiler tops the rear glass, LED taillights have a unique pattern and an integrated dual exhaust rounds out the sporty design.
Inside the 2021 Chevrolet Blazer, a pleasingly integrated HD color touchscreen has simple, easy-to-use controls. The system offers a volume control knob but no tuning knob — changing the station can be accomplished via buttons on either side of the volume knob or through the touchscreen. The climate control system operates via separate buttons below the touchscreen and above the large center vents. The outer rings of the center vents also double as temperature adjustment controls for driver and passenger — a clever integration.
Spacious Rear Seat
The benefit of a two-row, five-seat configuration creates a comfortable and spacious rear seat in the 2021 Chevrolet Blazer. Without the need to make room for a third row, the Blazer provides rear-seat passengers with plenty of legroom, and seats can be reclined for additional comfort. The Blazer also has generous cargo space; the RS includes a cargo management system featuring a moveable cargo fence to prevent items from rolling around in back. The fence can be adjusted to different positions by sliding it along two tracks to the desired location and then locking it in place.
Under the Hood
The 2021 Chevrolet Blazer RS is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine producing 308 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, combined with a 9-speed transmission and advanced all-wheel drive. Unlike many crossovers, the all-wheel-drive system does not automatically shift between 2-wheel drive and AWD as needed — a rotary selector in the center console lets the driver choose between 2-wheel drive, 4-wheel drive, 4-wheel sport, Slippery and Tow.
Manual AWD Selector
Unlike some other crossovers, the 2021 Chevrolet Blazer does not automatically disconnect the rear axle when all-wheel drive is not needed — it needs to be performed manually. A centrally located dial allows easy selection of 2-or 4-wheel drive.
As expected, the 2021 Chevrolet Blazer offers the latest safety technology, and the RS we tested was equipped with available HD surround vision, a rear camera mirror, adaptive cruise control, a following distance indicator, forward automatic braking, forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, lane-keeping assist with lane departure warning, and safety alert seat. Lane change alert with side blind zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear park assist are standard on Blazer RS.
2021 Blazer RS
The 2021 Chevrolet Blazer RS possesses a sleek design with balanced proportions and an aggressive stance, accentuated by RS exterior upgrades to create a spirited midsize crossover package. The sporty vibe carries through to the interior with red accents for stitching, air vents and seat inserts. The Blazer RS interior feels spacious — up front or in back — and seats are comfortable and supportive. The layout and functionality of systems and controls make them intuitive and easy to use, so kudos to Chevy engineers and designers.
On the Road
The 2021 Chevrolet Blazer RS is smooth and comfortable on the highway. Power is available when needed without any need to shift manually, although a manual shift button is included on the driver’s side of the gear selector. The suspension and steering feel stable and responsive as expected from a crossover in this category. And although the RS offers a sporty look, there are no suspension or performance upgrades other than the 3.6-liter engine shared with the Blazer Premier.
Slippery When Wet
The 3.6-liter V6 engine of the 2021 Chevrolet Blazer RS offers plenty of power, and the 9-speed automatic shifts smoothly with quick downshifts when needed. In wet conditions, drivers will discover how easily Blazer induces front wheelspin from a standing start. Even with all-wheel-drive engaged, the front wheels still slip noticeably before more torque gets transferred to the rear wheels. Selecting 4-wheel Sport directs more torque to the rear wheels thus eliminating the front wheelspin when starting out under slippery conditions, although more progressive throttle application works as well.
With the new Blazer, Chevrolet has created an attractive midsize crossover with a more aggressive look in RS trim. Although there might be a disconnect for those who still associate the Blazer name with the original truck-based model, the new Blazer is a sleek, comfortably modern crossover with a spacious interior. For car shoppers seeking a 5-seat crossover, the 2021 Blazer should be on their lists.