Chevy’s Traverse midsize crossover/SUV has been redesigned for 2018, sporting less weight, more power, more interior room, and more cargo space than many of its competitors. To get any more, you’d need a full-size SUV.
Traverse is offered in L, LS, LT Cloth, LT Leather (we tested), RS, Premium and new High Country trim level that gains an AWD system with auto locking rear differential, power folding third row seat and more.
We should point out that FWD is standard and AWD is optional on certain trim levels. The RS in particular because it comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder.
Our AWD LT Leather came with the 3.6-liter, 310-hp V6 that gained 29 more horsepower over the 2017 model. Along with 266 lb/ft of torque that pushes power to the wheels through a 9-speed automatic transmission, EPA rates it at 17 city, 25-highway mpg. This isn’t bad considering the V6 is moving a 4,362-pound vehicle that can tow up to 5,000 pounds. Of course these numbers are helped by the standard start-stop engine system that cannot, unfortunately, be shut-off.
Despite it’s weight, the V6 provided ample power with good acceleration from a standing stop and during highway passing maneuvers.
After a low 20-inch step-in, you’re treated to a classy interior replete with leather seating, the latest technology including 4GE LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability, voice texting, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and more. All displayed on an 8-inch touchscreen that also includes a handy weather app.
HVAC controls are easy to use and a separate dial for AWD requires a mere twist to engage. The owners’ manual says that if left engaged too long, AWD may overheat. Evidently AWD shouldn’t be used during high-speed highway or clear road driving conditions.
With an undercarriage clearance of 7.6 inches, Traverse can handle modest snow depths and mild off-roads but nothing too severe.
Comfy and supportive heated black leather front seats had tasteful contrasting orange stitching and their extended under thigh support was nice to have on long drives. Then there’s the driver’s information display nestled between the gauge set that gives out pertinent operating conditions.
Second row seats offer gobs of leg and headroom and step-in is a low 20 inches.
As for interior space, the second row seats gain three inches of legroom and they slide 7-inches fore/aft affording easy ingress/egress into the third row seat. The latter is mainly for three children or two short-statured adults as leg room isn’t bad for a three row vehicle.
Flip the third row forward by pulling two straps and the seats fold forward. Cargo space behind the third row is 23 cubic feet and equates to an area measuring 22 inches deep, 49 wide and 32 high. Flip them and space increases to 58.1, and folding the second row buckets increases space to 98.2 cubes. Traverse offers the most cargo space of most competitors, and is almost minivan-like, depth wise. There’s also a large bin (43.5x17x9 inches) beneath the cargo floor to stow an appreciable number of small items out of sight.
Handling wise, you’d think a large vehicle like this would be a roly-poly affair, but it’s not. Traverse handles sharp turns with ease and its suspension is stout enough to prevent it from severe body lean. And it nicely absorbs bumps and lumps. Electric power steering makes parking easy, providing a fair amount of road feel.
Price wise and in upscale form, Traverse does not come cheap. With a very long list of standard and safety features including rearview/surround view camera system, rear cross traffic alert, teen driver technology, lane change alert, remote start, Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system, Onstar and more, fetches a base price of $43,150. To that was added a dual skyscrape sunroof ($1,400), trailering equipment ($650), Black Currant Metallic paint ($395), front license plate mount ($40) and delivery ($945), put the Traverse’s bottom line at $48,580. Almost 50 big ones for this spacious midsize family hauler.
If you were to price out a comparable European SUV, or a full-size to attain this amount of interior space, the price would surely be over 50K. And fuel economy would probably not be comparable to Traverse.
The 2018 Traverse has become a mainstream competitor with its many favorable attributes. It definitely deserves a look.