There has been a lot of talk about the new Chevrolet Blazer, most of it concerning the notion that it should be built in the United States instead of Mexico.
Like it or not (President Trump definitely won’t), the midsize SUV is about to get even more international as GM plans to build a three-row version as well. According to GM Authority, which cites unnamed sources, the automaker is readying a three-row Blazer that will likely be called Blazer XL. The seven-seat SUV is expected to debut in China in early 2020 and should become available in other markets later.
Actually, Chevrolet’s intentions were pretty clear when they unveiled the FNR-CarryAll Concept (pictured) at last year’s Guangzhou Auto Show. The study featured a design that looked almost ready for production and was very similar to the standard Blazer.
However, there were some modifications that allowed it to accommodate a third row of seats and expand capacity to seven passengers. Unsurprisingly, the Blazer XL will feature similar dimensions to the FNR-CarryAll concept.
The Blazer XL might not arrive in North America to avoid clashing with the Traverse
As with the regular model, the Blazer XL will use the short version of the GM C1 platform. Expect the three-row Blazer to be around 5.5 in (140 mm) longer, with a 0.2 in (4 mm) longer wheelbase. Styling-wise, the Blazer XL will adopt a more traditional roofline to make room for the additional passengers, larger rear doors with a redesigned top end, a bigger third window, and a more upright tailgate.
The idea behind the XL is to offer it in markets where the Traverse is not available because it’s simply too large. China is one of those markets, but the three-row Blazer could also find its way into South America and South Korea. As for North America, it is not known whether GM plans to offer it, as it might clash with (and even steal sales from) the Traverse.
The Blazer XL is scheduled to enter production in February 2020 at SAIC-GM’s plant in Shanghai – and, possibly, other GM facilities for overseas markets. It will use a 305 hp 3.6-liter V6 and a China-exclusive 240 hp 2.0-liter turbo-four, both mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.