- Clean break from Blazers past
- Towing capacity
- New turbo-4 engine
- Admirable handling
- Brand heritage cries foul
- Not substantially bigger than an Equinox
- Automatic emergency braking costs extra
- Front seat comfort sags
features & specs
The 2020 Chevrolet Blazer saddles up with crossover comfort, and leaves its truck roots behind.
Rebooted last year as a family crossover, the 2020 Chevy Blazer returns with a new turbo-4 engine in the middle of its lineup.
The 2020 Blazer still slots between the big Traverse and compact Equinox in Chevy’s crossover lineup. A front-drive mid-sizer with available all-wheel drive, the five-seater is sold in base L, LT, RS, and Premier versions.
We give the 2020 Chevrolet Blazer a 6.2 out of 10, with a blank left where incomplete safety scores will one day live. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Chevy split neatly from the Blazer’s past with this latest version. The boxy truck cues have been broomed in favor of contemporary crossover lines—a floating-look roof, a wedgy upkick at the rear end, LED lighting, and a tall and somewhat narrow body. The cabin takes on a winglike theme, with compromises in the placement of some controls.
Base Blazer SUVs come with a 193-horsepower inline-4 with decent power but poor noise control. The 230-hp turbo-4 that’s new for 2020 has better sounds, a quicker pace, and a softer base price than the top-line 308-hp V-6 that thrusts the Blazer around with authority. All engines pair with a generally well-programmed 9-speed automatic. Base models come only as front-drivers, while middle-priced Blazers have a basic all-wheel-drive system on the options list. The Blazer RS’ nifty AWD setup splits power across the rear wheels for better responsiveness, to go with the Blazer’s crisp steering, firm ride and fluid, connected feel. Towing tops out at 4,500 pounds on the V-6 editions.
Five adults fit well in the 2020 Blazer, and with a sliding second-row seat its cargo and passenger space can flex with the best mid-size crossovers. If it had better seats, the Blazer would earn more kudos: its front chairs have short, rounded bottom cushions that don’t support bigger drivers well. Cargo space swells with the fold-down, slide-forward rear seat—but it’s only a cube or two bigger than the smaller Equinox, at best.
Chevy walls off critical safety gear—automatic emergency braking—from all but the Blazer RS and Premier, and charges more for the feature even on those $40,000-plus models. All Blazers get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment. The priciest Premier adds on wireless smartphone charging, leather upholstery, a sunroof, cooled front seats, and a handsfree power tailgate.
2020 Chevrolet Blazer
The Blazer’s winglike dash and jaunty body are standouts.
The latest Chevy Blazer steers clear of the dowdy doldrums that afflict the smaller Equinox crossover. It’s sculpted, with a canopy-style roof and bulging fenders that earn a point to go with the extra point we give its well-composed cockpit. It’s a 7 for style.
This Blazer tosses out any truck references that it might have worn, given its hallowed name. It’s more like a Nissan Murano or Lexus RX, at least in profile, where its blacked-out rear pillars interrupt the regularly scheduled roofline with a visual wake-up call. The detail pairs well with the Blazer’s LED lighting, the high stance, the upkick at the rear end, and its big wheels and tires. The Camaro-like taillights are too small on the Blazer’s tail, but the look’s otherwise well-detailed.
A winglike shape spans the Blazer’s cabin, and it brings with it compromises. The interior strikes the right restrained note, with its symmetric banks of buttons and its 8.0-inch touchscreen, but some controls need a moment of study to understand.
The USB ports, for example, sit right above the smartphone bin where they should be, but the climate controls form a running stitch of slim buttons across the dash. The fan controls sit over the big round air vents, which change temperatures with a twist of their trim rings. The vent placement doesn’t work very well; air blows into hands and eyes, and though it looks great, it’s less than helpful.
2020 Chevrolet Blazer
The Blazer rides firmly, steers crisply—and adds a turbo-4 for 2020.
The latest Chevy Blazer sports an edge in ride and handling to go with the obvious ones on its skin. It’s no wallowy, pillowy crossover: with its raspy exhaust and firm ride, it reaches for an entertaining driving feel that’s been absent in Chevy crossovers.
We rate it a 7 for performance, with points for drivetrain and handling, but you’ll want to pay attention to the wheels, too.
Skip the base Blazer’s 2.5-liter inline-4. It churns out a miserly 193 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque, not quite enough to propel the Blazer’s heft—at least 4,007 pounds. It’s coupled to the front wheels through a well-programmed 9-speed automatic that holds in the lower gears for brisk launches, then picks from upper gears to cruise. The 4-cylinder moans at speed despite active noise cancellation, and isn’t particularly fuel-efficient.
In the middle this year, GM’s new turbo-4 gives the Blazer the powertrain it really needed at launch. The new engine spans the gulf between base and the big V-6 option with 230 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, available all-wheel drive, and considerably more off-the-line perk than the base inline-4. The 9-speed thinks more and occasionally skips too many steps at low speeds as it tries to harmonize gas mileage and shift quality, but in most other ways the turbo-4’s quiet pull puts the mid-range Blazer where it needs to be, in acceleration and in price and in the availability of all-wheel drive.
GM’s burbly 3.6-liter V-6 tops the Blazer off with 308 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. With a set of drive modes that range from all-wheel drive to sport mode, the V-6 and 9-speed combination has the brains and brawn to pull the Blazer with authority. It’s not quiet, but it’s on the right side of sporty and strong. Its all-wheel-drive system differs from the basic setup on 4-cylinder Blazers, which can disconnect the rear wheels and simply shift power front to back. The V-6’s twin-clutch rear differential can shift torque across the rear axle, for better traction and handling—and can tow up to 4,500 pounds.
The Blazer lineup has one thing in common across all its models: crisp handling and an assertive, firm ride. It begins with electric power steering and an independent suspension, and at a minimum, 18-inch 235/65 wheels and tires. Base versions handle mild road rash with firmness and a little fidgeting. The steering gains weight quickly from its light parking-lot feel, but the stiff tire sidewalls give the Blazer good highway tracking.
Blazer RS and Premier crossovers come with 20-inch wheels with an option for 21s. They’re actually blessed with a better ride with 265/45 tires, in spite of stiffer shocks and struts on the RS and quicker steering, too.
In sport drive mode, the Blazer RS’ sophisticated AWD system shifts power across its rear wheels for even better responsiveness. The RS has the road manners of a well-tuned sporty sedan: its transmission lingers in useful middle gears, the steering re-centers itself without much prodding. It’s stiff at low speeds, but the Blazer RS doesn’t need your advice to just chill.
2020 Chevrolet Blazer
Comfort & Quality
The Blazer’s space is fine—it’s the seats that need work.
With a sliding second-row seat and lots of cargo and passenger space, the latest Chevy Blazer has the right ingredients for a swell mid-size crossover. What it still needs are good front seats. We give it a 7, with an extra point for cargo space and its ability to carry five people.
The five-passenger Blazer gets six- and four-way manually adjusting seats in base versions, trimmed in cloth upholstery. Slide up to a Blazer LT with the new turbo-4, and leather wraps the upgraded eight-way power front seats and the sliding second-row bench. Heating and cooling in front, and heating for the second row, come with different trim levels.
What doesn’t come with them—or with the ritzy perforated-leather front seats on RS and Premier trims—are the kind of exceptionally comfortable seats found in a similarly priced Volvo crossover. The Blazer’s chairs have lots of back support, but they suffer from short bottom cushions and overly firm padding, whether they’re shod in leather or cloth.
No matter the seat position, though, the Blazer’s dimensions get maxed out for head and leg room—the back seat needs more support, too, but it shines in spread-out space when it’s moved to the rear of its track.
The Blazer has 30.5 cubic feet of cargo space, which expands to 64.2 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down. Chevy’s own Equinox isn’t much smaller, but the Blazer does better in fit and finish on the pricey editions, which get stitched and upholstered dash caps and active noise cancellation.
2020 Chevrolet Blazer
The 2020 Blazer has some crash-test data but lacks some advanced safety features.
Chevy has some promising proof of the Blazer’s safety, but still doesn’t give it standard automatic emergency braking; it even charges for the technology on the most expensive Blazers. We don’t rate it here yet since it’s missing data from the IIHS, but the lack of standard automatic emergency braking will bring its score down, regardless.
The NHTSA gives the Blazer five stars overall, despite a four-star rollover rating. The IIHS hasn’t scored it completely.
Blazer LT crossovers can be ordered with a rear camera mirror that displays an uninterrupted view from behind the car on the rearview mirror. Blind-spot monitors and rear parking sensors are options on this model.
At the RS and Premier level GM offers adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and automatic emergency braking—but only as options, in expensive packages. The Blazer’s thick roof pillars and short side glass don’t give it great outward vision, either.
2020 Chevrolet Blazer
Chevy fits the 2020 Blazer with strong infotainment, but charges for critical safety gear.
The latest Chevy Blazer sports a fine list of standard features—until safety equipment enters the discussion. We score the Blazer a 6 for features.
The base $29,995 Blazer L comes with power features; 4 USB ports; an 8.0-inch touchscreen with six-speaker audio, Bluetooth audio streaming, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility; dual-zone automatic climate control; cruise control; a six-way manual driver seat and a four-way passenger seat; keyless start; leather-wrapped steering wheel; and 18-inch wheels and all-season tires. The $33,495 LT gains a power driver seat and satellite radio hardware.
The $33,295 Blazer 2LT gains the new turbo-4 engine, while the $38,195 3LT gets the turbo-4 along with a power tailgate, blind-spot monitors, and a power front passenger seat, as well as heated front seats and leather upholstery. Ideally, we’d recommend those versions—but they’re not offered with automatic emergency braking. Either can be had with the V-6.
Instead you’ll pay more than $40,000 for either a Blazer RS or Premier. RS editions have navigation, blind-spot monitors, a heated steering wheel, a power tailgate, remote start, and 20-inch wheels. Options include cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a sunroof, a rear camera mirror, and 21-inch wheels. We like the RS’ handling, but most drivers are better served with the cushier Premier and its standard cooled front seats, heated rear seats, Bose audio, and power tilt/telescope steering.
Blazer options range from a surround-view camera system to wireless smartphone charging to automatic emergency braking, which still costs extra even on the more expensive models.
The Blazer’s 8.0-inch touchscreen displays its latest pretty, and pretty useful, infotainment system. Chevy charges $10 a month for cloud-connected navigation, and we say skip it. Your phone delivers better directions for no extra cost.
2020 Chevrolet Blazer
The mid-size 2020 Blazer earns mid-range gas mileage.
We give the 2020 Blazer a fuel economy score of 4 based on its new turbo-4 engine, likely to be the most common of its three powerplants.
Front-drive Blazers with the base inline-4 engine earn EPA ratings of 21 mpg city, 27 highway, 23 combined. With the new turbo-4, the Blazer gets 21/28/24 mpg with front-wheel drive, 21/27/23 mpg with all-wheel drive.
The EPA pegs the V-6 front-drive Blazer at 19/26/21 mpg, and at 18/25/21 mpg with all-wheel drive.