The Chevy S-10 Blazer had earned its name as "Baby Blazer" from its more manageable size as compared to its predecessors, the Suburban and Blazer. It was introduced in the fall of 1982 to meet the market's demand for a truck that was sporty enough but didn’t have the bigger size. Although the Baby Blazer was relatively smaller than most pickup trucks, it opened up a new demand for sport utility vehicles that offered both the usefulness of a pickup truck and the comforts of a car.
1983: The new SUV
The Chevy S-10 Blazer was manufactured as an alternative to the bigger, more rugged vehicles such as the Jeep's Wagoneer and Ford's Bronco. But even with its compact form, the Blazer featured the same sheet metal and other important components of Chevy's full-sized pickup trucks. Not only was the S-10 Blazer made from a similar material, but it was also designed to look identical to the S-10 pickup truck It also featured the same wagon-style back, drop-down tailgate, and lift-up glass window. The only difference in the two models lies in the S-10 Blazer’s shorter wheelbase (100.5 inches) and two-door body style.
1984-1987: Off-road applications for an SUV
Although the S-10 Blazer was built to act as the middle ground between a utility truck and a family sedan, many still craved a more powerful Blazer that was powerful enough to be taken the off beaten in track. Therefore, in 1984, an off-road package was introduced for this particular SUV. Aside from including the off-road package of Bilstein shocks, skid plates, front tow hooks, and bigger tires, the new S-10 Blazer was also upgraded with a hydraulic clutch and optional cruise control to help adjust the set speed of the Blazer to 1-mph increments.
1985-1987: Comfort and style from the Chevrolet Blazer
The years 1985 to 1987 brought about a variety of changes to the Blazer both to its interior and engine compartment. One of the notable changes was the introduction of the new standard engine in 1985 and the single "serpentine" belt for the alternator, power steering, and optional A/C in 1987, which replaced the multiple belts in the SUV. Although both overhaul didn't boost much power, it reduced maintenance costs that eventually helped the S-10 Blazer's engine bay breathe morely easily than before. On the other hand, changes in its interior came in 1986 with the redesigning of a new dashboard, instrument cluster, seat trim (on Sport models), and door panels. Both upgrades changed the Blazer's functions and further established this SUV as the type of vehicle that merges the functionality with comfort.
1988-1994: Upgrading the Blazer to meet market demands
The last six years of the first-generation S-10 Chevy Blazer was all about improving overall power output. In 1988, the standard 2.8 fuel injection engine was replaced by a healthier and more powerful 3-liter V6 engine, which consequently produced 160 horsepower. By the start of 1989 all throughout 1990, the Blazer also received new fitments, such as an upgraded transfer case, redesigned instrument panel fitted with previously optional gauges, and halogen headlights that promised not just a smoother ride but a safer, off-road ready vehicle. Other engine upgrades were also added in the years 1992 to 1994, giving the SUV a new optional 200-horsepower, "enhanced" 4.3-liter V6 in 1992, and long-life spark plugs and composite rocker-arm covers in 1994. These upgrades were Chevy's effort to help make the Blazer more competitive against market leaders such as Jeep's Cherokee and Isuzu's Trooper.
1995-2001: Second-generation Chevy Blazer
The second generation of the Chevy Blazer was marked with an overhaul in its exterior. A smoother, more aerodynamic body with a sloping nose was introduced in 1995, marking the entry of the second gen Blazer into the market. Throughout the years leading to its demise, Chevy put emphasis on leg room and driver's comfort to keep up with America's partiality to creature of comforts. Some of the interior upgrades came in the form of daytime running lights, a stiffer engine block and redesigned A/C compressor, which decreased noise and vibrations, and roller rocker arms and a roller timing chain. All these upgrades were geared towards giving the Chevy Blazer a smoother ride that most Americans preferred.
Although there were efforts to revamp the Blazer, with the introduction of a "slammed" Blazer Xtreme model, the various name changes that happened through the decade in GMC nameplates confused most consumers. This eventually led to GM dropping the Chevy Blazer entirely and replacing it with the Trailblazer.