The Chevrolet Blazer that shares the Oldsmobile Bravada platform is one of those Sport Utilities that have substance. They’re every bit as impressive as the more expensive Infiniti QX4, Mercedes Benz ML 320 and the Lexus RX 300 for much more money.
Perhaps that explains why they’re so popular with the consumer. Those more expensive competitors have been touted as the best of the best by many magazines but don’t let the name badges fool you. I have driven them all, and totally enjoy the Blazer experience equally as much. It’s not hard to see why people flock to them in huge numbers. Surely the SUV has to be the hottest category of car on the market today as it has been for the entire decade of the 1990’s. I don’t see that changing unless gas prices go much higher. Not until you drive in other countries of the world, especially Europe, the idea of $4.00 per gallon is only an imaginary absurdity.
I did manage to talk my daughter out of buying an SUV. She wisely listened to dad and bought a Toyota Avalon. I was shocked that she listened to my advice. I was concerned that as a young family they needed to consider cost of operation equally as much as the cost to buy. Plus, I think most of us consider the image of ownership rather than the practicality. I’m writing from the docile environment of Southern California where the weather conditions are not a factor. And as mentioned before you don’t really need a 4 by 4 to get over speed bumps. The fact remains that not more than 10-15% will ever go off-roading, so why spend the dough for a capability if you’re never likely to use it.
Handling & Performance:
Delightful. Really great to drive. For a tall vehicle the stiff suspension allows it to corner very well. Also they are small enough to get around town easily. Turning radius isn’t the best but all SUV’s are about the same.
Obviously people have given their stamp of approval by buying the SUV look in large numbers. I’ve always liked the design and convenience overall. I do, however, enjoy off road courses and like to simply take back roads in the sticks just to see where they go. If you too like to do that, you probably do some camping and will get a lot of use from this very versatile car.
Fit and Finish:
The best it’s ever been. I can’t bitch about the workmanship. It’s not a Stradivarius but relative to prior years they’ve come a long way, baby.
Everything you need and more. I know some people like the Jeep Wrangler because it’s a “real man’s” jeep. But I just can’t warm up to revisiting WWII. I prefer to have bun warmers for those cold mornings, power seats and a great sound system. Quite frankly they are even good off road where you can leave your “kidney belt” at home.
Original purchase price is OK – not great, but OK, however you’re going to pucker up if gas prices go to $2.00 or more as predicted. SUV’s will take a big hit if that happens because this category of car just can’t do any better with improving mileage. They simply require big engines to haul the weight and gear.
If money for operation is not significant and you are active outdoors people go for it.
Dodge Durango $26,170 – $28,170, Ford Explorer $19,970 – $34,470, Honda Passport $22,800 – $30,150, Jeep Grand Cherokee $26,765 – $34,540, Land Rover Discovery $34,150, Mitsubishi Montero Sport $22,527 – $31,357, Nissan Pathfinder $26,399 – $31,299, Olds Bravada $31,498, Toyota 4Runner $22,288 – $36,818.
Nice solid ride, powerful V6, handles well, improved quality from prior models.
Terrible gas mileage, poor visibility.
4.3 liter V6 190 HP engine, 4-speed automatic trans, air conditioning, power steering, daytime running lights, dual air bags, 4-wheel anti lock disc brakes, stereo w/ CD player & theftlock, split fold rear seat, 8-way power driver seat, keyless remote entry.
16 City and 20 Highway MPG.
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