As Tesla continues to produce models that have received only minor tweaks and improvements (and few styling changes inside or out), viable and tempting competitors have emerged, including the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Volkswagen ID.4, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia. EV6 — and more are on the way. The new 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV is part of that “more on the go” field, with GM announcing a positive massive product shift to electric vehicles over the course of this decade, all built on the new, scalable Ultium platform that can form the foundation of everything from a huge five-ton pickup to a small SUV.
But the Blazer’s target doesn’t seem to be the Tesla Model Y. Instead, look across Detroit to the Ford headquarters and you’ll see what the Blazer is looking for. It arrives in a year with the Mustang Mach-E firmly in its sights – and the point is, if it drives as good as it looks, Ford better have something in store to keep the Mach-E ahead.
Related: 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV: Chevy Delivers a Mustang Mach-E Killer
Match, crop before crop
The formula Ford used to create the Mustang Mach-E was controversial: make an electric SUV, but give it Mustang-inspired styling, legitimate performance references, and the name of the pony car itself. But the results were sensational – baminstant conversation generator, giving the Mach-E a place on the cover of every magazine and landing page of every website.
Chevy seems to want to take its own shot at this space, and the Blazer EV just nails it. Sporty without succumbing to any of Chevy’s sporty nameplates, it successfully combines the styling of the brand’s enthusiast offerings, such as the Camaro and Corvette, with the ease of use, space and high-level driving style consumers demand.
It looks fantastic in each of its trim levels, which seem to be made to help it match that of the Mustang Mach-E smash-by-blow, from the less sporty but longer lower-range models (1LT, 2LT) to the truly performance-oriented upper finish (RS, SS). There’s a wide variety of looks for the Blazer EV achieved through different grilles and styling add-ons, two-tone paint on the SS, GM’s signature dancing light bar animations, and some really sexy wheel designs – all done in distinctive sheet metal that won’t be confused with that of another brand. The only strange thing about the styling is the rear windows and how they don’t quite follow the roofline, leading to some unusual cut lines. But it’s a more SUV-like look with the Blazer than you get with the Mach-E, the Model Y or the Ioniq 5, and that’s likely to appeal to the modern buyer who prefers SUVs over all other classes.
The True “Power of Choice”
Ford may have appropriated this slogan a while ago, but it applies more to the Blazer EV than the Mustang Mach-E, given what Chevy plans to offer for the SUV. This is the first passenger car in history to use front, rear and or four-wheel drive, depending on the taste of Blazer EV you want to go for.
But it will be a bit of a crazy matrix to figure out which one is right for you. The 1LT is FWD only, able to do 247 miles of range on its stock battery. Upgrade to the 2LT and thanks to the bigger battery (Chevy hasn’t disclosed capacities yet) you can drive up to 493 miles with the FWD variant, or slightly less with the optional AWD variant. Maximum range is apparently achieved with the largest battery in the RS, which has up to 320 miles of range, but can be used with front, rear or all-wheel drive. The RWD version comes with a special performance package, Chevy tells us. There will be two possible drive motors in the Blazer EV, one on the front axle and a larger one on the rear axle. That’s why the AWD SS and RWD RS will be the must-have performance models.
This level of mix and match is something only really achievable with an EV, which isn’t required to traditional powertrain configurations. There is no driveshaft, no transfer case for AWD models, no transmissions or gearboxes – just controllers, motors and axles – giving a company time to make a vehicle like the Blazer EV and its multiple configurations. And with the SS models pumping out massive horsepower and torque (Chevy says the 0-60mph sprint happens in under four seconds), a Brembo brake package, sport-tuned suspension, and tacky tires, the Blazer SS EV looks like a excellent match for the Mustang Mach-E GT.
The knockout punch is in it
So Chevrolet nailed the performance figures, did a blast by making the styling interesting, and even did a good job keeping the price competitive. But the area I think will deliver a decisive blow in favor of the Blazer EV – provided it drives as good as it looks, and given our experience with other GM Ultium vehicles, we think it likely is – is the cabin of the SUV.
Chevrolet’s ethos regarding controls, styling and layout for its EVs differ dramatically from some of its competitors. In contrast to the absolutely spartan-to-the-point-of-empty look of the Model Y and the slightly more stylish but still largely empty cabin of the Mustang Mach-E, the Blazer’s interior looks incredibly good. Chevy didn’t credit the idea of ”less is more,” but put the designers to work creating a cockpit that doesn’t rely solely on a large, dramatic screen to convey excitement or technological prowess. They understand that the interior should be exciting, even when the screens are on fromwhat can’t be said about… well, each of the electric SUVs in this segment, except perhaps the EV6.
On or off, the Blazer’s interior hits the mark. The fascia shapes, the quality of the material, the vibrant, free-spirited 17.7-inch multimedia screen, the standard heads-up display on all trim – it all looks and feels much better than any Tesla has ever built. , and it makes the interior of the Mach-E look dull. There’s a solid mix of real buttons, which most people generally prefer, combined with just enough touchscreen control to make things feel familiar. It’s also much more comfortable than a Mach-E, especially in the back seat, which has more room than you get in the standard gas-powered Blazer currently on sale. The Mach-E is cramped in the rear, especially legroom, but there isn’t that problem in the Blazer – plus the flat floor (thanks to the lack of a hump on the driveshaft) makes real three-seater benches a breeze.
There is no learning curve to using a Blazer SS – it will work inside like a traditional vehicle. Granted, the SS I was in was a hand-built prototype, and we’ll have to see what the production version brings in a year’s time – but if they can make it look half as good as the prototype, the Blazer will put the standard for interiors.
If only Chevrolet and every other automaker in the world could deploy charging infrastructure like Tesla has done, we would have a number of Real competition for buyers. But from a product standpoint, this might be the best argument yet against a Model Y — or a Mustang Mach-E.
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