What's New for 1998
Blazer gets a front-end restyle and an interior redesign. New standard equipment includes a theft-deterrent system, automatic headlight control, four-wheel disc brakes and dual airbags incorporating second-generation technology to reduce the bags' inflation force. New radios, colors and a column-mounted automatic shift selector round out the major changes.
Back in 1982, Chevrolet rolled out the S-10 Blazer, the first modern compact sport-utility vehicle. Sixteen years later, the Blazer remains a bestseller in one of the hottest automotive markets. It's not hard to understand the Blazer's appeal.
Powered by a strong 4.3-liter, 190-horsepower, V6 engine and offering several suspension choices, the Blazer can be tailored to specific needs, with either two- or four-wheel drive, two doors or four. The four-door is the most popular by far: the model of choice with families on the go.
There are accommodations for as many as six passengers in the bigger Blazer, but four would most likely be more comfortable. There's lots of cargo space too, with the spare tire mounted underneath the cargo floor on four-door models. Chevy claims that, with the rear seat folded, a washing machine box will fit into the cargo bay. We tried it with a test vehicle, and they aren't fibbing. Sadly, the Blazer's interior is marred by acres of chintzy plastic and little rear foot room in front of a somewhat low and mushy seat. Adult rear seat riders will complain loudly.
Off-road is not where the Blazer shines, though a ZR2 super-duty suspension package is optional. Available only on two-door 4WD models, the ZR2 Blazer has a special chassis with four-inch wider track, huge 31-inch tires, specially-tuned Bilstein 46mm shocks, drivetrain refinements, an underbody shield package and LS trim. Regular Blazers are capable enough for two-track dirt, but serious off-road adventures would be better handled by something with more wheel travel. However, most families don't spend much, if any, time off-road in their sport-utes, so this is not a large shortcoming. As a road going hauler, the Blazer is quite capable.
For 1998, Chevrolet has updated the Blazer nicely. The exterior gets new front styling that provides a more familial look to help tie the Blazer to other truck models in the Chevrolet stable. The interior is new, featuring a redesigned dashboard and dual airbags. The automatic shifter is located on the steering column rather than the center console, lending the interior a more airy and open appearance. A theft-deterrent system, automatic headlight control, and four-wheel disc brakes are all standard. Heated exterior mirrors and an electrochromic rearview mirror are standard on LT models and optional on the LS. Two new colors debut: Light Pewter Metallic and Dark Copper Metallic.
When the current Blazer debuted for the 1995 model year, it won the North American Truck of the Year award. Smart styling, a powerful drivetrain and reasonable pricing made it a hit with the public. Lately, however, the competition has caught up with the Blazer. A new V6 engine went into the more refined Ford Explorer for 1997, and it is more powerful than the Blazer's motor. Jeep updated the Cherokee last year, offering nearly as much interior space as the Blazer and four-wheel drive for around $20,000. Simply put, this Chevy isn't the value it used to be.