When Chevy announced their intention to reuse the Blazer name for a two-row, mid-size crossover, the internet went ballistic. “How could they defile such a sacred name?” That was the general consensus among automotive armchair quarterbacks. Apparently, the Blazer had always been this amazing, dynamic, and vital body-on-frame SUV.
The problem with that line of thinking is that it’s flat out wrong. Case in point? Our featured 2004 Blazer.
As Paul mentioned in his 1987 Ford Escort retrospective, American automakers tended to launch poorly engineered vehicles that were generally in need of considerable upgrades even before they left the factory. The corollary to that trend is the car that lives well beyond its expiration date. The Big Three were notorious for that, and to a certain extent, still are. Although the older models on sale today (Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Durango, etc.) have actually been kept fresh and are still in demand. This S-10 Blazer pretty much perfectly represents the fundamentally flawed thinking in Detroit at the time. After finally nailing down the correct powertrain, GM basically just kept the same product for about ten years.
American automakers had to rely on pizazz and salesmanship instead of substance to sell their cars. Maybe that’s not entirely fair. GM deserves credit for the S-10’s exterior design. The tapered yet clean body has aged extremely well and there’s no doubt in my mind that many people purchased these based on looks alone. Plus, the 4.3 liter V6 could cash the checks written by the body. At 190 horsepower and 250 Ib-ft of torque, it was a quintessential American engine: considerable torque at the low end for that satisfying, initial burst of acceleration.
The trade off was a relatively bland interior with brittle plastics. Although from the looks of it, this one seems to have held up pretty well. There’s another reason the Blazer wasn’t the greatest vehicle on earth. It quickly earned the title of least safe vehicle in America and held that distinction for several years after. And it was the two-door models that were most prone to killing their drivers.
By 2004, GM was selling just about 32,000 of these Blazers per year. That was a far cry from the roughly 250,000 the company moved when the 1995 model hit the market. But by the early 2000s a number of compact and mid-size crossovers had arrived that offered a far more refined driving experience.
From the seller:
Great running 4×4 Suv. Rare 2 door model with NO rust – Getting hard to find them so clean -automatic, moon roof , all power, 148k miles
With an asking price of $2895, the seller is being a bit optimistic. But 16 years after this already outdated SUV was sold new, it still does have some value. This could be a very decent short distance work truck. And it could theoretically perform pretty well in the snow if needed. In any event, the Blazer name was not sullied when Chevy slapped it on their modern two-row crossover. The S-10 dragged the Blazer down to hell long before that happened.