There have been many versions of the Chevy Blazer over the years. So if you’re looking to buy a used Blazer, you need to be more specific or you’ll get a wide range of vehicles. First of all, there’s the full-size Chevy Blazer (also known as the K5 Blazer) that debuted in 1969 and ran until 1991. Then there was the compact SUV S-10 Blazer that hit dealerships in 1982, became a midsize SUV in 1995, and then was discontinued in 2005. Finally, there’s the all-new midsize crossover Chevy Blazer that was just introduced in the 2019 model year.
Chevy K5 Blazer (1969-1991)
Arguably the most successful Blazer was around for more than 20 years. General Motors made a very similar model called the GMC Jimmy. Buying a K5 Blazer means inheriting some maintenance woes, since the model is thirty years old or more. Still, we’ve seen more than a few K5 Blazers rumbling down the road to this day. We’re probably talking about the second generation, though that doesn’t narrow it much since it started in 1973. Prior to 1976, the Blazer had a removable convertible-like top. If your Blazer is a 1976 model or more recent, you’re probably looking at a half-cab top that made the Blazer look more like a truck. Since 1987, the standard engine has been a 5.7-liter V8.
Arguably, the most advanced K5 Blazers came at the very end. In 1990, a standard rear wheel anti-lock braking system came on board, along with a new electronic speedometer system, optional power mirrors, and double-sided, galvanized exterior sheet metal. Engine improvements to the 5.7-liter V8 were introduced in both 1990 and 1991, meaning the very tail end of the K5 Blazer’s run was the best one.
Chevy S-10 Blazer (1982-2005)
The compact S-10 Blazer at first ran at the same time as the K5 Blazer. When the K5 Blazer went away, the S-10 was renamed simply the Blazer and then became a midsize in 1995. Since you’re more likely to find a midsize S-10 Blazer than a compact one, we’ll focus on the second generation here, which started in 1995. That was a banner year for the Blazer, netting accolades like “Best Truck of the Year” from a few big magazines. For its time, the Blazer was aerodynamic and handy with plenty of in-cabin storage. Under the hood, there was a 4.3-liter V6 engine. Improvements kept rolling out over the years: a cabin makeover and new grille in 1998, new bumpers and trim in 2000, a new center console in 2001. We recommend avoiding the 2000 model year because of its faulty fuel gauge, though most other years seem fine.
All-New Chevy Blazer (2019)
For now, the final chapter in this storied history is the revival of the Blazer moniker in an all-new midsize crossover SUV. This version has all the latest bells and whistles, like an 8-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with a 360-degree camera system. But with an available 308 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque and 4,500-pound towing capacity, this SUV still knows how to work. We won’t dwell on this one too much, simply because the 2019 Blazer is so new that finding a used one would be difficult. But that will become an easier matter in the months and years ahead--if you’re willing to wait that long for to snag a bargain.