This midsized SUV is set to impress buyers with a 557-hp SS version
2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV
By Jeff S. Bartlett
The Blazer EV is based on the Ultium platform that’s destined to underpin many of the GM’s upcoming electric models.
Set to launch in summer 2023, this midsized SUV will be offered in several trims the first year, starting with the 2LT for $47,595 with a GM-estimated 293-mile range. The initial version will be joined by the sporty RS with an estimated 320-mile range. The lineup gains excitement when the SS is added later in the year, touting 557 horsepower and an estimated 290-mile range.
In winter 2024, a less-expensive 1LT trim will be added, starting around $44,995, which GM says will have a 247-mile range. And there will be a police pursuit version introduced based on the SS. All Blazer EVs will come with a DC fast-charging capability in public places with up to 190 kW of acceptance rate, promising the ability to add 78 miles of range in 10 minutes. GM hasn’t shared battery capacity specs in terms of kWh.
The Blazer EV will be assembled at GM’s Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, production facility that builds the current gasoline-fueled Blazer.
What it competes with: Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Subaru Solterra, Tesla Model Y, Toyota bZ4X, Volkswagen ID.4
What it looks like: The future. The shape feels familiar, but the complex surfaces are unique.
Powertrains: Single- and dual-motor; front-, rear-, or all-wheel drive.
Price: $47,595 to $65,995
On sale: Summer 2023
General Motors has long tested the electric vehicle waters, with its pioneering EV-1 and the Chevrolet Volt, Bolt, and recently, the Bolt EUV. Now it’s diving in with a new dedicated platform and proprietary battery technology, and numerous partnerships (including with Honda), all leading to this new wave of products.
The Blazer EV stands out for being among the very first midsized SUVs to reach the market. Until now, most electric vehicles were either quite high-end, like the company’s own GMC Hummer EV, and small in size (Bolt, Bolt EUV). Recent models, like the Toyota bZ4X, see the size creeping up in scale. It’s among the signals that EVs are truly going mainstream in 2023, fueled by elevated gas prices and aggressive goals throughout the auto industry to move away from petroleum.
The Blazer comes in several configurations, addressing different range and purchase price requirements, with the SS serving as the sizzling flagship.
The freshened for 2023 gasoline-fueled Blazer is comfortable, quiet, and roomy. A key weakness is the visibility, compromised by short side glass and wide rear pillars. While this Blazer EV is an all-new model, we hope this particular shortcoming is addressed. It’s clear that the thirsty fuel economy will soon be a thing of the past.
The silhouette casts a familiar, even evolutionary shadow for the low, wide SUV. But in the light, the Blazer EV has a striking, complex body. The fenders have sculpted lines, mirrored by bulging wheel arches. The front is defined by a geometric puzzle of pieces that make it look like a conventional gas-powered vehicle rather than the smooth face worn by many EVs. The monochrome LT trims wear 19-inch wheels, and the RS is dressed with a black grille and accents, and is fitted with 21-inch wheels.
The SS is distinguished with a unique front grille, black roof, front and rear skid plates, obligatory badging, and large 22-inch wheels.
The combined effect is a vehicle that both fits in with the current fleet, with a trendy black roof and decidedly Blazer-like shape to the front hood edge, yet will stand out from the crowd. (It looks like an extroverted party animal compared to the slab-sided Hyundai Ioniq 5, for instance.) The LED lights that flank the Chevrolet “bowtie” logo flash sequentially to signal the energy level as the Blazer charges.
A hands-free liftgate can open the back when the key fob is sensed.
The cockpit is fitted with two large screens: an 11-inch instrument panel display and a 17.7-inch infotainment screen, which is canted toward the driver. At the bottom of this screen is a row of touch controls for the climate system, with dials for temperature and buttons for other common functions below.
Where other cars are shifting toward hidden vents, like on Teslas and some Hondas, Chevrolet has gone the Mercedes-Benz route by using bold, circular outlets as design features. It’s too bad that the low center dash vents carried over from the regular Blazer. We found that they cool the driver’s knee rather than freshen the upper body.
Other items that stand out include the touch-screen-based exterior lighting, driver assist controls to the right of the steering wheel, and the column-mounted gear selector.
The RS and SS feature ambient lighting, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, accent stitching, and heated/cooled front seats. The SS cabin is further enhanced with unique trim bits and color, with suede upholstery and available orange accents.
All versions have hands-free start, meaning there’s no start/stop button. Instead, the SUV recognizes when the key fob is onboard. All the driver needs to do is push the brake pedal and move the gear selector to Drive, as with Tesla models.
The Blazer uses Ultifi, GM’s software platform that enables over-the-air updates and upgrades. This will allow owners to add features and services, as well as personalize operations, over time.
The SS cabin adds flash with bold colors and sporty trim accents.
What Drives It
The Blazer EV will be offered in single- and dual-motor configurations. The Ultimium platform is seemingly very flexible, enabling the choice of front-, rear, and all-wheel drive—a truly unique offering. All three configurations will have independent suspension at both ends, but it’s unclear if the choices will have implications for other attributes, such as storage or range.
Stepping through the trim levels, the 1LT will be strictly front-drive with an estimated 247-mile range. The 2LT will be front- or all-wheel drive with an estimated 293-mile range. The sporty RS is where buyers can choose FWD, RWD, and AWD, with an estimated 320-mile range.
The flagship is the SS, a moniker known for decades to represent performance versions in the Chevrolet lineup. Here, SS means an AWD SUV with up to 557 horsepower and up to 648 lb.-ft. of torque. GM says it will have a Wide Open Watts (aka WOW) mode that enables 0 to 60 mph times under 4 seconds, making it quicker than a conventional muscle car.
Power levels for other trims have not been released.
All versions have onboard 11.5-kW charging ability, meaning owners will benefit from home charging on a 48-ampere circuit. For long trips, the EV is compatible with public DC fast-charging with an acceptance rate of up to 190 kW.
The large door for the charge port is motorized.
Safety and Driver Assistance Systems
The Blazer EV comes with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assistance, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.
It will be available with rear automatic braking, parking obstruction warning, and Super Cruise, an active driver assistance system that can automate certain driving tasks, such as steering, braking, and acceleration.
The 2LT trim may be the most popular. GM estimates that it has 293 miles of range.
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