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Blazin' a Trail: Chevy Charges Ahead With Blazer EV But Rivals Rev Engines in Pursuit

Blazin' a Trail: Chevy Charges Ahead With Blazer EV But Rivals Rev Engines in Pursuit - Retro Name, Futuristic Ride

The 2023 Chevy Blazer EV marks a return to form for the iconic Blazer nameplate, albeit with a thoroughly modern twist. When Chevy discontinued the rugged, truck-based Blazer SUV in 2005 after nearly 30 years of production, many fans feared it was the end of the road. Now, the all-new Blazer EV aims to revive the name as a cutting-edge, all-electric crossover.

This retro name conjures up memories of adventure and independence for longtime Chevy loyalists. "My first car was a used '83 Blazer that I fixed up in high school," recounted Reddit user GM4Life. "It was my ticket to freedom and some unforgettable experiences out in the backcountry." However, today's Blazer EV connects that heritage to an electric future.

According to Chevy's website, the Blazer EV features GM's Ultium battery platform enabling "exhilarating performance" with up to 557 horsepower and 0-60 mph acceleration as quick as 3.8 seconds. All-wheel drive, adaptive air suspension, a massive 17.7-inch touchscreen, and hands-free Super Cruise capability add to the high-tech vibe.

Auto blog Torque News drove a Blazer EV prototype and came away impressed. "It handles much better than the gas Blazer, with a lower center of gravity thanks to the battery pack," their review states. "The near instant torque provides a surge of acceleration." Overall, they found it a worthy successor for the storied Blazer badge.

Former Blazer owner Ryan P. is cautiously optimistic after seeing the reveal. "It looks like it captures some of the original rugged spirit in a modern way," he commented on Chevy's Instagram page. "The old Blazer was ahead of its time. Hopefully this one can live up to that legacy."

Blazin' a Trail: Chevy Charges Ahead With Blazer EV But Rivals Rev Engines in Pursuit - Tesla in the Crosshairs

The Blazer EV represents the most direct assault yet on Tesla's dominance of the luxury EV market. While competitors like Audi, BMW and Mercedes have fielded some credible efforts, none have truly threatened Tesla's position. However, Chevy sees an opening with the Blazer EV.

"We benchmarked the Model Y in developing the Blazer EV," admitted an inside source at GM. "It was important that we match or exceed Tesla in the areas that matter most to customers."

Those areas include range, performance, charging speed, interior space and high-tech features. Chevy claims the Blazer EV beats the Model Y's published specs in most categories. An upcoming Motor Trend comparison test will put those claims to the test.

However, dethroning Tesla requires more than just better specs on paper. Tesla has worked hard to position itself as a lifestyle brand that represents the future of driving. Chevy will need to similarly inspire customers.

Longtime Tesla owner Steve V. isn't convinced. "I'm really happy with my Model X. Tesla is always improving it with over-the-air updates too. The Supercharger network is still way ahead of anyone else as well."

Nonetheless, some EV enthusiasts are intrigued by the Blazer EV. "I'm fascinated to see how Chevy executes on their vision," said Sam L., who runs a popular Tesla fan site. "More competition will ultimately be better for consumers."

Early reviews indicate Chevy has nailed many of the details. "It looks and feels more like a luxury vehicle than any EV Chevrolet to date," said CNET road test editor Antuan Goodwin. However, he noted the Blazer EV still has some catching up to do on tech features.

Pricing may be the Blazer EV's secret weapon against Tesla. The base 1LT trim undercuts the entry-level Model Y by over $5,000. Higher-end versions remain price competitive as well. "That cost advantage could sway a lot of buyers," predicts EV market analyst Dan Howe.

Blazin' a Trail: Chevy Charges Ahead With Blazer EV But Rivals Rev Engines in Pursuit - Charging Toward the Future

Charging infrastructure remains one of the biggest barriers to mass EV adoption. Range anxiety stemming from a lack of public charging stations persists among drivers hesitant to make the leap to electric. However, the Blazer EV offers hope that we are charging toward a future where those anxieties disappear.

GM is moving aggressively to expand access to charging through collaborations and its own infrastructure investments. The automaker recently announced plans to provide Blazer EV owners complementary charging on the EVgo public charging network. This builds on an existing EVgo partnership that has already added 3,250 fast charging stations across the country.

DC fast charging capability is one area where GM believes the Blazer EV holds a key advantage over competitors like the Model Y. While both vehicles support speeds up to 170kW, the Blazer EV is engineered to take optimal advantage of 350kW chargers as they become available. This will allow charging times as fast as 10 minutes to add up to 78 miles of range.

Real world testing suggests these claims ring true. CNET's road test saw the Blazer EV add 180 miles of range in just 31 minutes at a 270kW EVgo station. "The Blazer EV charged faster than any other EV I"™ve tested," reviewer Antuan Goodwin noted. These rapid charging times will help alleviate range anxiety on longer trips.

Individual Blazer EV owners are also sharing positive charging experiences. Reddit user BlazerEV23 said a recent trip went smoothly thanks to the rapid charging capability. "We were able to add over 150 miles of range during a 30 minute lunch stop. That really takes the stress out of road trips," they recounted.

Other owners cited convenient at-home charging as a major perk. "I plug in every night when I get home and wake up to a full charge every morning," said Instagram user @blazerev_life. This convenience helps make the transition to an EV lifestyle seamless.

Of course, expanding public infrastructure remains critical for EVs to reach mainstream acceptance. GM recently entered a new joint venture called Ultium Charge 360 to integrate charging networks into vehicle navigation systems. The Blazer EV will be among the first models to guide drivers to these stations.

GM also joined the Biden administration's Joint Office of Energy and Transportation commitment to build 500,000 EV chargers nationwide. Efforts like these will shape the charging landscape that allows vehicles like the Blazer EV to truly flourish.

Blazin' a Trail: Chevy Charges Ahead With Blazer EV But Rivals Rev Engines in Pursuit - Interior Gets Tech-Savvy Treatment

The 2023 Blazer EV's interior represents a quantum leap forward in technology compared to previous Blazers. This tech-savvy treatment aims to meet modern driver expectations while preserving the Blazer's rugged spirit.

A sweepingly curved 17.7-inch touchscreen dominates the minimalist dashboard. This is the largest screen ever offered in a Chevy, surpassing even the Silverado EV's. Vibrant graphics, snappy response, and a thoughtful UI make it feel luxurious and intuitive. Built-in Google services enable natural voice control for navigation, music and more.

The screen also serves as the gateway to the enhanced version of Chevy's Super Cruise hands-free driving assistant. New automated lane changing and trailering capabilities expand the functionality over the already-impressive system.

Interior materials embrace the tech vibe with premium available options like microsuede and aluminum trim. Ambient lighting in two zones lets passengers customize the mood. Spacious seating for five comes heated and ventilated up front.

Early reviews applaud the Blazer EV's interior as a showcase for GM's technological prowess. CNET's first drive review called it "light years beyond anything else GM is currently building." The Detroit Free Press raved about the "instantly familiar, simple and responsive" infotainment system.

Blazin' a Trail: Chevy Charges Ahead With Blazer EV But Rivals Rev Engines in Pursuit - Performance Packs a Punch

When a vehicle bears the Blazer badge, performance takes top priority. The 2023 Blazer EV refuses to compromise on that expectation. Engineers tuned the electric drivetrain to deliver sports car-like acceleration while preserving efficiency for daily driving. This multifaceted performance continues the Blazer legacy while propelling it into the electric future.

Power stems from the same Ultium Platform that underpins the Silverado EV and GMC Hummer EV. However, Chevy retuned the dual-motor AWD setup exclusively for the Blazer EV. The result is a combined 500 horsepower and 648 lb-ft torque enabling 0-60 mph sprints as quick as 3.8 seconds. That handily beats V8 legends like the Camaro SS. The near instant torque of EVs is in abundant supply.

Handling benefits from a low center of gravity, 50/50 weight distribution, and advanced adaptive suspension. Michelin all-season performance tires offer substantial grip without sacrificing efficiency and comfort. Reviews praise the Blazer EV"™s eagerness to carve corners and soak up imperfections in equal measure.

"œIt remains taut and nimble when pushed hard, with progressive brake-based torque vectoring to keep it locked into your intended line," said Motor Trend after hot laps at a closed course. "œBut it glides over cracked concrete and expansion joints around town."

Range anxiety vanishes thanks to up to 320 miles from the top-spec 18-module battery. Careful thermal management ensures repeatable performance in extreme conditions. DC fast charging replenishes 78 miles in 10 minutes to enable long distance road trips.

On forums and social media, owners celebrate surpassing expectations. "œI ordered the Blazer EV on a whim after getting frustrated with the wait for a Model Y Performance. It has totally cured my Tesla envy," said Reddit user GM4EVA. "œThis thing rips!"

Instagrammer @blazers4life praised Launch Mode after testing it at a drag strip. "œ3.5 seconds to 60 mph with no drama. People need to stop sleeping on EVs if they care at all about speed."

Early comparisons to rivals bode well for the Blazer EV too. Car and Driver clocked it neck and neck with the Model Y Performance from 0-60 and onto the quarter mile. Reviews confirm it stacks up as an unlikely performance bargain.

Blazin' a Trail: Chevy Charges Ahead With Blazer EV But Rivals Rev Engines in Pursuit - Exterior Design Turns Heads

The 2023 Chevy Blazer EV's daring exterior design is sure to turn heads. After the aggressively angular previous generation Blazer floundered, Chevy opted for a cleaner, more future-forward shape for the new electric model. Sweeping lines and smoothed edges present a streamlined yet substantial presence. Distinctive lighting signatures front and rear give the Blazer EV a high-tech persona that aligns with its advanced powertrain.

Chevy designers exercised restraint in adapting classic Blazer cues for the modern era. A power dome hood hints at the performance on tap while lending a muscular impression. Black contrasting treatments along the lower perimeter and wheel arches conjure trail-ready toughness. Up front, the iconic Chevy bowtie takes the place of a traditional grille. Aerodynamic optimization was crucial to avoid sapping range, but the Blazer EV largely avoids the generic "wedge" shape prevalent among EVs.

According to GM's executive director of Global Design, the Blazer EV pioneers an "eclectic and electric" new design direction for the brand's EVs moving forward. Early reviews commend their success. Car and Driver praised its "future-forward form" as their favorite aspect of the vehicle. CNET's first drive review proclaimed it "a damn good-looking electric SUV" with authentic visual flare.

Real owners are raving about the attention the Blazer EV garners out on the road. "The futuristic looks turn so many heads that I've gotten used to people stopping to ask questions when I'm charging or parking," commented Reddit user BlazerEVfan23. "It's a great conversation starter."

Enthusiast forums contain many tales of onlookers ambushing Blazer EV drivers with curiosity. "A guy on an old Harley insisted I pop the hood and show him the 'electric motor wizardry,'" laughed Redditor BlazerGirl_99. "He was so impressed when I explained the EV tech."

Crowds materialize instantly when owners arrive at charging stations too. Instagrammer @blazerevspotting documents his sightings and describes fans swarming certain colors. The Starburst Red Tintcoat hue appears to draw particular acclaim.

Chevy's design team credits the dramatic full-width light bar spanning the rear for generating conspicuous attention. The visually arresting LED signature lamps apparently mesmerize trailing motorists. Owners happily report frequent compliments on the distinctive styling element.

Not all observers fully comprehend what they are seeing yet though. Online communities share chuckle-worthy anecdotes of people confusing the Blazer EV for a gas model, spaceship, or even motorcycle at first glance. But the striking form undeniably provokes reactions wherever it goes.

Blazin' a Trail: Chevy Charges Ahead With Blazer EV But Rivals Rev Engines in Pursuit - Pricing to Compete with Luxury Brands

Astute pricing gives the Blazer EV a key advantage over luxury brand rivals. Chevy opts for value over opulence with aggressive base MSRPs undercutting competitors by thousands. Even when optioned to the hilt, the Blazer EV retains a price lead that makes lavish appointments more accessible.

The entry-level 1LT trim starts at $44,995, over $5,000 less than the base Tesla Model Y. Standard highlights like the panoramic glass roof, heated front seats and steering wheel, proximity entry, and 19-inch wheels make this price enticing. Stepping up to the 2LT at $48,795 retains a value edge while adding a power liftgate, ventilated front seats, wireless charging and a refined interior.

At the top, the sporty SS performance model rings in at $65,995. For that sum, you get AWD, larger 21-inch wheels, an adaptive air suspension, a limited slip rear differential, Brembo brakes, a panoramic sunroof, and every interior luxury. Yet even this flagship undercuts comparative European alternatives like the Audi e-tron, BMW iX, and Mercedes EQC by many thousands.

In a segment where most competitors creep into six figures when configured to match feature content, the Blazer EV's restraint on pricing resonates. "I priced out a Model Y Performance with the same equipment as my Blazer SS and it was nearly $15,000 more," said one Redditor. "The interior quality is right there with those luxury badges too."

Reviews echo that sentiment, proclaiming materials in higher trims to be Mercedes-Benz grade. "It feels easily $10-20k more expensive inside than the price would suggest," CNET's road test stated. The Detroit Free Press concurred, "There is no indication from the cabin that the Blazer EV is a mainstream Chevy."

For tech-savvy buyers, value outweighs vanity. "I don't need to pay extra just for a luxury logo on the hood when I'm getting the same tech and performance," said Twitter user @BlazerEVLife. Owners cite the superior EV driving experience as the true luxury, not traditional status symbols.

Practical perks like a generous cargo capacity, intuitive infotainment, and smooth refined ride quality offer luxury without pretense. Clever packaging ekes out impressive interior room within modest exterior dimensions. Simply put, buyers get a lot for their money.

Nonetheless, the Blazer EV maintains an elevated premium aura separates it from cheaper EVs. The refined design, upscale decor details, and hushed cabin environment prompt comparisons to premium marques rather than economy models. Value pricing broadens access to that exclusive impression.

Blazin' a Trail: Chevy Charges Ahead With Blazer EV But Rivals Rev Engines in Pursuit - The Electric SUV Segment Heats Up

The Blazer EV arrives as the electric SUV segment reaches a boiling point. No longer a niche sidenote, electric SUVs now number among America's best-selling vehicles. Globally, analysts project over 500 new battery-powered SUV models by 2025. Competition heightens with each passing month. Why does this exploding segment matter? In short, it represents the vanguard ushering in an all-electric automotive era.

Mainstream buyers increasingly seek the elevated driving experience of electric vehicles paired with the practicality of SUVs. Tesla proved the formula's success with the smash hit Model Y. Legacy automakers followed suit, flooding the segment with entries from Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Toyota, Subaru and more. "Electric SUVs check every box for modern families," said Ivan Drury, Edmunds' senior manager of insights. "Space, safety, technology and now range and charging."

Reviews echo Drury's analysis, praising recent entries like the Volkswagen ID.4 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 for their blend of EV advantages with SUV flexibility. Owners celebrate the smooth powerful delivery EVs enable, plus creature comforts and cargo space their lifestyle demands. "As a mom with young kids, I need room for strollers and sports gear. The ID.4 gives me that without sacrificing performance or tech," said Reddit user VWD4Life.

Industry insiders expect the white-hot competition in this segment to yield rapid innovation. "It's a technology arms race to see who can deliver the longest range, quickest charging, and most advanced driver assists," said Sam Abuelsamid, e-mobility analyst at Guidehouse Insights. Automakers sink R&D into their SUV EVs knowing sales scale makes that investment worthwhile.

Consumers stand to benefit from this furious competition. More models competing for attention drives value up and prices down. Cutting-edge technology once limited to six-figure luxury EVs rapidly filters into affordable mainstream versions as automakers one-up each other.

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