April 7th, 2020 by

Newly launched in 2019, the Chevy Blazer is a brand new contender in the sizzling crossover SUV space. One of its top features is AWD availability with most trims. If your adrenaline is already pumping, you’ll probably want to know when and how to engage 4-wheel drive on the Chevy Blazer.

So, let’s jump into it, shall we?

When should you engage 4 wheel drive?

The main reason for using all-wheel drive with any type of vehicle is simple – to get more grip.

So, you’ll want to engage your AWD mode whenever you are facing low-traction conditions. For example, when driving on snow, ice, mud, gravel, or any other slippery or unstable surfaces. In these conditions, driving in AWD will be a much more comfortable (and safe) experience than using regular 2-wheel drive.

All-wheel drive is also the better option when towing heavy loads uphill or downhill as it increases your grip. You may also want to use it if you’re towing at near-maximum capacity yet not driving fast.

For the adventurous out there, yes, AWD should also be engaged when going off-road. For one thing, you’ll have more grip. Plus, with power directed to any wheels, it’s less likely for you to get stuck in a position where your wheels with power aren’t touching the ground.

In the Chevrolet Blazer specifically, there are four other driving modes in models with AWD capability:

  • Tour: FWD, recommended for driving on paved roads and the highway.
  • Sport: FWD mode with enhanced acceleration and handling on paved roads.
  • Off-road: Enhanced AWD for driving on unpaved roads.
  • Tow/haul: AWD mode with reduced shift cycling when towing heavy loads at lower speeds.

This makes the Chevy Blazer a highly versatile crossover SUV that can be comfortably driven under any circumstances.

When NOT to use AWD on a Chevy Blazer?

All of this we’ve just covered raises the question – Isn’t it better to keep your all-wheel drive on constantly, just in case?

First of all, one good reason to not use AWD when it’s not needed is that it’s less fuel-efficient. When using AWD, the car needs to send power to all four wheels, increasing its energy output and thus it’s fuel usage. For the Chevrolet blazer, however, the difference isn’t too big, as you can see in the comparison list below between two model types of driving:

Model 1: FWD, 3.6L V6
Model 2: AWD, 3.6L V6

City (MPG):
Model 1: 19
Model 2: 18

Highway (MPG):
Model 1: 26
Model 2: 25

Secondly, it’s potentially dangerous driving in AWD mode at high speeds. This is because all your wheels will be turning at the same speed. Not only does this feel unfamiliar to most drivers, but it can be unsafe at high speeds. For that reason, it’s not advised to drive in AWD mode on the highway.

Thirdly, under normal conditions, the extra grip and traction provided by AWD won’t tangibly improve your driving experience. In fact, as we mentioned, it might do the opposite.

Lastly, you will needlessly put extra strain on your AWD drivetrain. More wear and tear means more frequent repairs or services, which means extra money out of your pocket.

In the case of the Chevy Blazer, even the FWD option comes with built-in StabiliTrak, an electronic stability control system with traction control. This will already enable the Blazer to improve traction by automatically adapting to the driving conditions.

In fact, the FWD Chevrolet Blazer comes with a dedicated driving mode for snowy or icy conditions.

However, if you’re going to be driving on well-paved roads at slow speeds, you can safely engage AWD, although it won’t serve much of a purpose and you’ll burn through your fuel faster.

How to engage 4 wheel drive on the Chevy Blazer

First of all, you’ll need an all-wheel-drive enabled Chevrolet Blazer.

You can switch between the different driving modes available with the Chevy Blazer using the Drive Control Mode switch. It’s a circular, rotating fob located at the base of the shifting stick. See the various images of the Chevy user manual here.

It’s accompanied by the Lane Keep Assist and Rear Park Assist buttons on the driver’s side of the switch.

You’ll see that the icon will light up for whatever mode is currently engaged. For example, in these provided images from the manual, you’ll see the “Tour” mode engaged for both the FWD and AWD Blazer:

Note that the icon of the mode being engaged is the one closest to the driver, meaning the leftmost icon on the fob.

At most times, you’ll probably have the default “Tour” mode engaged. However, you can switch between any of the modes by simply turning the fob while the car is stationary or while driving.

And, that’s all you need to do to engage or disengage the AWD (or any other mode) on the Chevy Blazer. No other steps required. If you have any more questions about the Drive Mode Control or any other Chevy Blazer features, refer to the manual.

Ready to make the most of your Chevy Blazer?

AWD is a fantastic feature and a highly sought-after one in the crossover SUV market (rightly so). It can provide a lot of utility to your vehicle in terms of towing, off-roading, and keeping you and your passengers safe during bad weather.

However, AWD is a two-sided blade and it’s equally important to know when not to use it.

Other considerations with FWD vs AWD

As a final consideration, also keep in mind that the AWD versions are more expensive than their FWD counterparts. Depending on the configuration, the difference in price is anywhere between $2,000 and $3,000. Additionally, while Chevrolet rates the maximum trailering weight for both FWD and AWD models at 4,500 LBS, you can be assured that the AWD will be able to handle larger loads much better. So, there are many factors to take into consideration before putting down the extra cash. We hoped that you’re now equipped to know when and how to engage 4 wheel drive on the Chevy Blazer.

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