Mexico Is Getting A Chevy Crossover That's So Much Better Than The Blazer

Chevrolet Captiva
Chevrolet Captiva
Photo: General Motors de México S. de R. L. de C.V.

General Motors Mexico announced an upcoming vehicle that may be irresistible if you’re among those who felt that the Trailblazer was too small and the Blazer too large — or if you plain just hated the Blazer for betraying the K5 badge. GMM wants to capitalize on the crossover craze with the 2022 Chevrolet Captiva, which it will release as early as the spring or summer of next year. And this Chevy is worth looking at because it seems like an overall better package than our current crossovers.

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But the Captiva is no freshly minted model; it’s actually a rebadged Baojun 530. SAIC-GM-Wuling first launched the Baojun 530 in early 2018, after an announcement in November of the previous year. It’s sold across several markets as the MG Hector, Wuling Almaz and Chevrolet Captiva.

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When SAIC-GM-Wuling (boy, that’s a mouthful) first unveiled it, the design was called “avant-garde.” This really makes 2017 feel helplessly far away, given that the styling of the Captiva/530 seems more conservative than that of the Blazer. That’s part of what endears me to the design; it doesn’t prioritize function over form.

2021 Baojun 530
2021 Baojun 530
Photo: SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co., Ltd.
2021 Baojun 530
2021 Baojun 530
Photo: SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co., Ltd.

Look at that greenhouse. Forward and rear visibility seems excellent in the Captiva. On the Blazer? Not so much. Look at that tailgate. It widens at its base, which is helpful for ingress and egress. Those of you experiencing grille fatigue will also be relieved to see a vehicle that doesn’t announce itself with a gaping maw. And it helps that the Captiva doesn’t owe its nameplate anything. Or, at most owes its nameplate very little, since the previous Chevrolet Captiva was sold exclusively to fleet customers, and that was back in 2013.

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The cargo volume of both the Trailblazer and Blazer is greater than that of the Captiva, but what it lacks in cargo space it makes up for in passenger capacity. The Captiva can be configured to carry five or seven passengers and despite being similar in size to the Trailblazer, it comes with a third row. Not even the bigger Blazer comes with a third row. Well, not in the States.

Of course, a third-row option is available for the Blazer in Chinese markets. The Captiva seems more people-mover than cargo-hauler and in its home market, as the Baojun 530, it can be configured with captain’s chairs.

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2020 Baojun 530
2020 Baojun 530
Photo: General Motors Corporate Newsroom

A reasonably-sized crossover that doesn’t go overboard in its design, with third-row seating and maybe even captain’s chairs, sounds like a home run. Hey, GM in the U.S., when you get tired of selling the Trailblazer, please stop teasing us with that third row and bring over the Captiva.

Staff Writer at Jalopnik. Periodista automotriz, Naturally Aspirated Stan.

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DISCUSSION

The Blazer actually seems like a perfectly serviceable crossover that is hindered around here by being called the “Blazer.”

It’s funny that no one cared when the Explorer went unibody but the Blazer disappears for a while and comes back unibody and everyone here loses it.

As for the Captiva, it’s closest US analogue seems to be the Equinox, even if the Equinox doesn’t have what appears to be an incredibly vestigial 3rd row. And GM sold 350k of those last year without issue.