With the new and improved 2020 Chevy Blazer hitting the streets, it’s about time we look back through the years of what it was to see just how good it is today.
The Chevrolet Blazer hit the market in 1969 as the K5 Blazer or GMC Jimmy. Built on a traditional Chevy C/K pickup chassis, GMC and Chevy shared this design where it became their smallest full-size SUV. The Blazer was originally designed to compete directly with the popular International Harvester Scout and Ford Bronco.
But its design instantly put it another category altogether. The Blazer was basically a shortened version of the classic truck everyone knew and loved, but even better for those who wanted more interior space. Chevrolet didn’t complain either as the Blazer shared the C/K platform, lowering overall production costs.
The Blazer became the “luxury” version of the Scout, by pairing the off-road capabilities many wanted with the little luxuries of air conditioning and an automatic transmission. This mashup of truck and SUV would soon outsell its rivals in 1970, leading to innovations from Dodge and Jeep that brought the Ramcharger and Cherokee to life.
The Blazer sported a convertible top until 1975 when the designers manufactured an all-in-one rear hatch glass tailgate. Because of its hardiness, the Blazer was used as a military test vehicle in 1976, later named M1009s, that would become civilian vehicles for local government and police stations. Hence why Stranger Things’ Chief Hopper drives a Chevy Blazer throughout the 1980s style series!
In 1992, the SUV would be redesigned at both GMC and Chevrolet. GMC would rename the Jimmy as the Yukon. By 1995, Chevy stopped production of the K-5 Blazer in lieu of their newly manufactured Tahoe and instead produced a smaller version of the Blazer.
In 1982, Chevrolet built a compact and medium-sized version of the Blazer, the S-10. In the beginning, this design only featured two-doors and a 2.0 L four-cylinder engine, but as emissions standards went up, the S-10 Blazer saw several engine upgrades that landed on the 4.3L V6 engine, as well as four-door designs.
Four-door Blazers and Jimmys were released in 1990, just months before Ford released their Expedition to replace the Bronco. By 1991, Blazers offered Tahoe and Sports packages. These packages came with unique exterior décor, trim badges, bigger sway bars, and modified suspensions for drivers who wanted a little more luxury and customization.
Sadly, the K-5 Blazer was discontinued in 1995, so the S-10 Blazer simply became the one and only Blazer. While dropping the pre-fix S-10, Chevy also redesigned the vehicle to have a more rounded exterior, a driver’s side airbag, and more storage areas, which were key factors for families at the time. The newly named Blazer won the Motor Trend Truck of the Year award as the exterior and interior size were increased, making it a top mid-size SUV in 1995.
As the Jimmy and Blazer neared the end of their journey, Chevrolet still pumped out more editions of the midsize SUVs that owners loved, but the public was phasing out of. The limited-edition TrailBlazer made its debut in 1999 with gold accented alloy rims and trim, while GMC’s Jimmy celebrated 30 years with a Jimmy Diamond Edition. The last, but not least Blazer Xtreme 2-door model would be produced until 2004. Even with these model releases, the mid-size Blazer would end production in 2005 as trends were shifting to larger SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe.Fun Fact: In Argentina, the U.S. Chevy Tahoe was sold under the name Blazer from 1990 to 2000. The tradition continues to name Tahoes Blazers in South America to this day. Click To Tweet
As of 2019, Chevrolet brought the Blazer back. Much like other mid-size crossovers on the market, the 2019 and newer Blazers are 5-seater vehicles with technology features like Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, OnStar, and a Bose audio system.
Though the Blazer is a great modern car, the historical notoriety of the K-5 and S-10 Blazers have left a hole in true Blazer fans’ hearts. For starters, the new Blazer is a crossover, not a true SUV. Many believe what made the vehicle so popular was its ability to handle almost any challenge, while also having some luxury, but not all of it. Despite upsetting some true Blazer fans, auto blog after auto blog gave the new model raving reviews for its handling and driving style. There is one complaint that most auto blogs and drivers agree on, the price is a little high and oversells the “luxurious” interior features. Overall, the jury’s still out on whether the new Chevy Blazer is a blaze or a bust.
Which Blazer was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!