In its last year, the Chevrolet Blazer is being retired in favour of the new Chevrolet Equinox. That’s a stretch, considering that the newcomer is a front-wheel-drive while the tough little Blazer sits on a frame and sends its power primarily to the rear wheels, as the sport-utility gods intended. But even that wasn’t enough to keep the rough and unrefined Blazer alive. Over at GMC, it’s also happening to the Jimmy, which is the same vehicle in different trim.

For 2005, only two-door models are available to the public; four-door versions are strictly for fleet sales. Power comes from a 4.3-litre V6 that’s also used in the Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari. A five-speed manual transmission can be optioned to a four-speed. All models are four-wheel-drive; the rear-wheel-only Xtreme is not available for 2005. A part-time two-speed transfer case can be optioned up to Autotrac automatic four-wheel-drive.

The LS Base Blazer features air conditioning, roof rack, 15-inch aluminum wheels, variable intermittent wipers, rear washer/wiper, trailer wiring harness, floor mats, 50/50 folding rear seat, CD player with six speakers, and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS.

The LS adds power heated mirrors with driver’s side auto-dimming, cruise control, power locks with keyless entry, and leather-wrapped tilt wheel.

Part of the Blazer’s lackluster sales had to be ascribed to the competition: the Jeep TJ and Liberty, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape all offer a level of finesse that the Blazer doesn’t. But dealers eager to move the final year’s inventory off the lot will probably offer cut-rate deals that the competition can’t hope to match.

The Blazer is built in Linden, New Jersey.

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