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2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV first drive review: Blazin’ an electric trail

The Chevrolet Blazer EV, built on GM’s Ultium platform, is the first real mass-market Ultium EV from the company. And just like the other Ultium products we’ve driven, it’s an excellent EV. Chevrolet just needs to be able to deliver them.

The Blazer EV comes in either front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, or rear-wheel drive depending on application. While this seems weird — and likely an automotive first — it makes sense when they explain it to you.

The front-drive Blazer shares components with the upcoming Equinox EV, which is front-drive and all-wheel drive. Because of that, there’s no need to re-invent the wheel regarding packaging. For the larger battery versions that require a different motor and packaging, then you go rear-wheel drive.

And that rear-wheel drive, large battery RS version is the one you want if you want to achieve the maximum range of 324 miles. We spent some time in that version, with 340 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, and unless we needed the all-wheel drive it’s the version to get. Hands down.

The all-wheel drive version of the RS has 288 hp and 333 lb-ft of torque on a smaller battery, and is perfectly fine for the day-to-day.

The steering on the all-wheel drive is impressive, as most all-wheel drive vehicles feel a little extra heavy up front and steering feel lacks. The engineers here managed to find a way to tune most of the badness out. The rear-wheel drive version’s steering is still more “pure,” but Chevy should still be commended here.

Ride and handling are pretty solid. It’s a bit more stiffly-sprung than the similar Cadillac Lyriq, but it is not jarring. If you are bombing down a back road you’ll likely be impressed with how well the RS version handles for a heavy SUV.

Highway trips are relaxing and relatively quiet. Wind noise is kept to a minimum, and tire noise is relatively low for a sporty vehicle. Future versions will have Super Cruise 2.0 available, which should make the journey even better.

When it comes time to recharge, the RS version of the Blazer EV has a peak recharge rate of 190 kW — which is the same as the Lyriq — and GM says that’s an additional 78 miles of range for 10 minutes of charging time on the rear-drive version.

The Blazer EV lacks a frunk, but the interior storage space and passenger volume exceeds the Tesla Model Y. There’s a ton of room in this car, and while we need more than a few hours with it to really see how useful and practical the space is, we’re impressed with our initial impressions.

The biggest talking point on the Blazer is going to be the new infotainment system. This Google-based system is new for GM and can be updated over-the-air. It’s going to appear in every GM EV.

There were a few bugs on our test unit, which we hope was a pre-production issue and not something regular customers will encounter. For example, we couldn’t use the touch screen to turn on our heated seats. We also couldn’t use the touch screen to adjust the headlights from auto to on because there’s no longer a manual headlight switch and the software glitches.

But the biggest thing is this is the first GM unit to not support Android Auto or Apple Car Play. GM provides many reasons for this, including a better EV experience because using the built-in system means you can get better route planning and battery preconditioning. They also claim it’s safer. But the truth of the matter is that no matter what, its taking away something customers are used to and expect on a new car.

Other automakers offer a choice. Yes, using the built in system might make your EV ownership experience better, but if you want to make the trade-off and use Car Play, you still can. We believe that that’s the play and that GM shouldn’t take away that choice — regardless of the reason.

We did enjoy using the built-in system’s navigation, which is Google Maps. It also was able to calculate a route across the country, including charging stops, as quick as Tesla’s infotainment does.

The screen is big, bright, and comes standard on RS trims. It’s stunning to look at, though don’t stare at it too long while you’re driving!

Overall this EV impresses just as much as the Lyriq did. We look forward to spending more time with it. GM has had some issues with Ultium rollout, and we know of people who have been waiting over a year to hear about their Lyriq order. Hopefully whatever issues that GM is having regarding production gets sorted because the Blazer is a compelling reason to go electric and being able to meet demand will be crucial to its success.

Watch our first drive review

Written by Chad Kirchner
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