Twin Peaks, Roseanne, and Murphy Brown are coming back to television, Dolores O’Riordan’s untimely death has reminded everyone to dig out their Cranberries CDs, and a long streak of low gas prices has everyone climbing back into high-riding SUVs and crossovers. The ’90s are back, baby!
So back, in fact, that we’re seeing a spate of familiar SUV names returning after long absences. Land Rover has already returned the Discovery badge to U.S. shores after a 13-year hiatus, and Ford’s Ranger-based Bronco—a name last used in 1996—is one of the most hotly anticipated debuts expected in the next year or so. We learned this week that Honda is reviving the mostly-forgotten Passport nameplate, and buried in the report that first appeared in Automotive News was a passing reference to another returning friend: the Chevrolet Blazer. From AN‘s report:
The two-row [Passport] is expected to be about 6 inches shorter than the Pilot and compete with the Ford Edge, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and Nissan Murano in the U.S. midsize crossover segment. Chevrolet is also set to field a new similar-sized crossover under the revived Blazer name.
Now, the return of the Blazer isn’t exactly new news—we reported on the rumor last September—but new crossovers come so fast and furious these days that it can be easy to lose track, so this is a helpful and timely reminder, and likely just the first of a steadily increasing stream of reminders to come.
It’s also a reminder, of course, that the new Blazer won’t have much in common with its off-road-ready namesakes of the past. It’s expected to be a close relative of the FWD-based Cadillac XT5, which rides on a shorter version of the platform underpinning the three-row Chevy Traverse. This is very much in line with Honda’s plans for the new Passport, rather than following Ford’s plans for the Bronco—a body-on-frame truck more along the lines of a Jeep Wrangler or Toyota 4Runner—as we might have hoped.
Clearly, though, Chevy, Honda, and all of these others feel that there is brand equity built up in these old SUV names. It makes me wonder whether Mitsubishi could have spared itself a lot of grief if, instead of saddling its latest crossover with the inappropriate Eclipse badge, it had gone with something like…Montero?
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