Base Camp: 2021 Chevrolet Blazer LT FWD
Every week, wheels.ca selects a new vehicle on sale in Canada and takes a good look at its entry-level trim. If we find it worthy of your consideration, we'll let you know. If not, we'll recommend one that earns a passing grade.
Chevrolet quietly dropped the entry-level LS trim from its Blazer lineup for 2021, leaving a well-equipped front-wheel drive LT as the Base Camp vanguard. That model’s price has also crept upward, making Blazer a $40,000 proposition in nearly any configuration – except for one.
That front-drive LT stickers at $37,198 and is powered by a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine making 227 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. This is funnelled to the front wheels by a sweet-shifting nine-speed automatic transmission, one that does a better job than any sad-sack CVT in existence. This is the only front-wheel drive Blazer in this year’s lineup.
Blazer looks good, too. We’ll leave the wisdom of applying this storied name to a car-based crossover for another time but suffice it to say this thing stands out in a sea of me-too milquetoast machines in the school pick-up line. A quartet of colours, including this tasty Red Hot, is offered at no charge. Side mirrors and door handles are colour-keyed, and 18-inch wheels look identical to the more expensive True North model.
Inside you’ll find cloth seats with heaters for front occupants; drivers will enjoy 8-way power adjustments by passengers will have to suffer the indignity of a manually-operated seat. A standard remote starter keeps things cozy when thermometers plunge to the nether regions. Infotainment is handled by the brand’s 8-inch touchscreen, one that’s equipped with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and satellite radio capability for hauling in entertaining stations.
Like other GM models, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot is available but does require paying a separate monthly bill for data services. No fewer than four USB ports – just one shy of Blazer’s total passenger capacity – dot the interior. Dual-zone climate control appears as do an array of driver safety aids like automatic emergency braking and lane keep assist.
What We’d Choose
Here’s the problem with Blazer – its entire 2021 model lineup is priced to the point of astonishment. Entry level models of some contemporary rivals, such as the Jeep Cherokee and Toyota RAV4, begin their price ladder well south of the Chevy. Even when stretched to equal financial footing, it isn’t difficult to find competitive offerings with greater off-road or towing chops, for example.
So where’s the bright spot? Blazer is tremendously well-equipped, even its cheapest model, negating some of the savings offered at other brands hawking competitors without standard features like dual-zone climate control. The included safety features are also attractive. It’s a $2,400 walk to add all-wheel drive and, by that point, one is better off spending the extra $1,195 to get the 308 horsepower V6 engine. It’d seem that looking past the original price point is a wise idea when shopping this segment.