2004 Chevrolet Blazer LS 4WD 4dr SUV (4.3L 6cyl 4A)
Chevrolet based this compact SUV on their S10 pickup. This means that it is a truck based SUV which is some what of a rarity in today's world. The down side is that this adds weight but to me, I plan to own this truck for a long time and the frame offers some great jacking points. The power trane is based on the Chevrolet 350 V8 minus 2 cylinders so the basic design has millions of development miles under its belt. From a service stand point, the push rod motor eliminates the need to replace a cam belt which is an expensive requirement on many of its competitors. The automatic transmission offers electronic control which helps with drivability. The truck is a proven design which I prefer.
In 2003 Chevrolet offered port fuel injection on the motor which improves cold weather starting and lowers exhaust emissions. They also added a balance shaft to the motor earlier in the production cycle to cancel vibration as the V6 - 4.3L design was affectionately known as the "Shaker".
They do not make this truck any longer in NA so making improvements is a moot point. They use Billstein shocks and a twin piston ABS caliper on the front discs which helps with braking. The bottom is covered in a series of plastic panels, which if made of steel would enhance off road performance.