What's New for 2001
The aging Blazer platform is due for a comprehensive redesign for 2002. As such, Blazer buyers this year will have to make do with slap-dash add-ons such as standard OnStar on the LT and TrailBlazer models. Xtreme, a new trim level on the two-door, two-wheel-drive model which includes a low-riding sport suspension lowered by 2.5 inches, body cladding and special wheels, is now available.
Back in 1982, Chevrolet rolled out the S-10 Blazer, the first modern compact sport-utility vehicle. Nineteen years later, the Blazer remains a strong seller in one of the hottest automotive markets. Take only one good look and it's easy to see why the attractive Blazer has such lasting appeal. Powered by a stout 4.3-liter, 190-horsepower V6 and available with several suspension choices, the Blazer can be tailored to specific needs, with either two-wheel or four-wheel drive, with two doors or four.
There are accommodations for as many as six passengers in the bigger Blazer, if they don't mind squeezing. 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. Sadly, the Blazer's interior is marred by acres of chintzy plastic and precious little rear foot room in front of a rather low and mushy seat. Adult rear-seat riders are likely to complain loudly.
Off road is not where the Blazer shines brightest, despite the availability of a ZR2 super-duty suspension package. Offered only on two-door 4WD models, the ZR2 Blazer has a special chassis with a wider track, huge 31-inch tires, specially tuned Bilstein 46mm shocks, and an underbody shield package. Regular Blazers are capable enough for two-track dirt, but serious off-road adventures would be better handled by something with a little more wheel travel.
On the other hand, as a road-going hauler the Blazer is quite capable. All 4x4 models can be equipped with the available AutoTrac push-button electronic transfer case. AutoTrac automatically senses wheel slippage and sends power to the axle with the most traction, which makes those old full-time all-wheel-drive systems obsolete. This setup takes the guesswork out of sure-footed travel over wet or snowy pavement.
GM's PassLock anti-theft 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. TrailBlazers come fully stocked with a long list of standard equipment.
For 2001, Chevrolet has added a new trim level to the roster, for a total of four: LS, LT, Xtreme and TrailBlazer. The automaker also has enhanced the durability of several key components ranging from the engine and airbag system to the brakes and exhaust. As the 2002 model year will see substantial changes to the Blazer, the current version merely sees cosmetic changes, such as a lowered suspension and body-cladding on the Xtreme.
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 an instant hit. Lately, however, the bar has been raised over the Blazer, as most competitors have been completely redesigned or substantially improved since its debut. Simply put, with new contenders bracketing Blazer in both the midsize and small SUV arena, this Chevy isn't the value it used to be.