When Chevy debuted the 2019 Blazer in Atlanta back in June, we thought that the bow tie brand shared all of secrets behind its new midsize crossover. From the looks of it, it didn’t – resulting in GM Authority coming to discover that the new Blazer’s hot new grille not only catches the eye, but also contains a rather cool and useful active aerodynamics feature – active air shutters (otherwise known as active aero shutters).
How They Work
Though you probably will never see or hear them working, active aero shutters improve a vehicle’s aerodynamics on the highway to deliver gains in fuel economy. Here’s how it all works.
As the Blazer reaches highway cruising speeds and the engine doesn’t require any extra cooling via air flow, the active air shutters close, thereby diverting air around the vehicle’s front end and reducing drag. This reduction in wind resistance as a result of changing frontal air flow in turn reduces the workload on the engine, allowing it to operate more efficiently and provide better fuel economy.
When the Blazer’s onboard computers sense the transmission and engine temperature rise above a certain threshold, such as when the engine is under high load during towing or climbing steep grades, the shutters automatically open, providing additional air flow to the powertrain in order to cool it down.
Moreover, the shutters typically remain open at city speeds in order to maximize air flow to the engine. They also have a built-in “cool mode” that keeps them closed in cold ambient temperatures, when it’s best to contain heat within the powertrain.
The General first introduced active aero shutters on the 2011 Chevy Cruze Eco. Since then, the feature has made its way to various GM vehicles, including the 2013 Chevy Malibu, 2013 Cadillac ATS, and 2017 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. Roughly half of the vehicles in GM’s current product portfolio in North America are equipped with the feature.
Availability On The Blazer
On the 2019 Blazer, the active air shutter system is standard on all models and trim levels. As we had just discovered, the new midsize CUV is available in four trim levels: the base L, Blazer LT (1LT, 2LT, 3LT), the sporty-looking RS and the luxurious Premier.
Notably, the active air shutter system on the Blazer is comprised only of shutters for the upper grille. GM’s implementation of active air shutters on other vehicles includes shutters for only the lower grille (such as on the aforementioned Cruze Eco and last-gen Malibu) or for both the upper and lower grilles (such as on the second-gen Acadia).
The GM Authority Take
Adaptive aerodynamics such as these active aero shutters are becoming ever more popular, not only for high-performing sports cars, but for very mainstream, consumer-grade vehicles such as this new 2019 Blazer. Implementing active aero shutters represents a step forward, as the technology helps provide the best possible fuel economy, especially given government-mandated fleet averages… but they’re not without their downsides.
First, active shutters mean there is another component that can potentially break. In this case, the system is crucial to the proper function and cooling of the vehicle’s two key components – the engine and transmission. Also, some Chevy truck owners have complained that they can no longer install light bars behind the grilles of their trucks due to the bars interfering with the operation of the shutters. In some cases, owners have gone so far so as to disable the system altogether. Be that as it may, this will likely be a very rare scenario for owners of the 2019 Blazer.
In our book, the benefits of active aero shutters definitely outweigh the downsides, especially when it comes time to fill up at the pump. Plus, there’s something cool and (dare we say) comforting about having a car that’s capable of changing its aerodynamic properties all by itself and on the fly.
About 2019 Blazer
Chevrolet re-introduced the Blazer name for the 2019 model year as an all-new crossover utility vehicle (CUV). Based on the regular wheelbase version of the GM C1 platform shared with the GMC Acadia and Cadillac XT5, the 2019 Blazer is a midsize crossover that slots between the compact Chevy Equinox and full-size Chevy Traverse.
The 2019 Blazer flaunts attention-grabbing design, seamlessly integrated customer-focused technologies and superb functionality, with the model range including the sporty Blazer RS and Blazer Premier trims. The new technology offered on the 2019 Blazer includes capless fuel fill, HID headlights, LED daytime running lights, a Chevy-first Cargo Management System, and much more.
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