Test Drive: Chevrolet Traverse draws crowds with its appeal
Our introduction to the fully redesigned 2018 Chevrolet Traverse came during the Connecticut International Auto Show in Hartford last month. With crisp, straightforward lines and slightly larger dimensions than its predecessor, the white Traverse had loads of appeal and drew crowds under its black, white and gold bow-tie banner.
Looking deeper, we learned the redesigned Traverse weighs about 400 pounds less than the 2017 model yet provides more passenger room and better fuel economy. Although its 310-horsepower engine has more muscle than the 2017 Traverse, the new version sports better fuel economy — 17 mpg city, 25 highway, compared with 15/22.
The Traverse continues to compete with 5- and 7-passenger stalwarts in the midsize crossover segment, including the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Santa Fe, and Dodge Durango. In AWD High Country trim, its sticker price can surpass $50,000, placing it among the premium Japanese and even European CUVs. And it’s easy to imagine shoppers entering the Chevy dealership to buy a full-sized Tahoe and choosing a new Traverse instead.
Indeed, the Traverse edges toward the Tahoe in terms of size and capability, and away from the compact Equinox, our favorite among the Chevrolet CUVs and SUVs we’ve driven.
The new Traverse rides comfortably and handles competently, though we sensed a hint of top-heaviness during moderately sharp cornering. The engine makes itself heard on hard acceleration. Otherwise, the cabin is quiet.
In top-of-the-line High Country trim, the Traverse vaults from near-luxury to full-luxury. Its standard features include 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, power liftgate with hands-free system, trailering equipment, remote start, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, heated outboard second-row seats, power tilt and telescopic steering column, wireless device charging, tri-zone automatic climate control, dual Skyscape sunroof, Chevrolet MyLink audio system with navigation, 8-inch color touchscreen, Apple Carplay and Android Auto capability, WiFi hotspot and satellite radio.
A dial between the front seats enables the driver to switch from front-wheel to all-wheel drive, 4x4, snow mode and off-road mode. The snow-mode setting helped us climb a steep, snow-covered driveway from a dead stop after the car failed to move in front-wheel drive.
Numerous safety features come with the High Country option: rear-camera mirror, rear parking assist, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-change alert with side blind-zone alert, adaptive cruise control and more. Crash-test data are not yet available.
While our loaded test car carried a sticker price of $54,030, there are plenty of less expensive models to choose from — starting with the front-wheel-drive Traverse L, which lists for $30,925. It comes with many of the same telematic features, including Chevy’s MyLink system, that were standard on our test vehicle. With front-wheel drive, the Traverse is rated at 21 mpg city, 27 highway. Also available is the sporty RS, equipped with a 4-cylinder, turbocharged 255-horsepower engine and front-wheel drive.
October 2018 Traverse sales totaled 11,098, breaking the record for the month and beating October 2017 sales by about 1%.
Chevrolet Traverse AWD High Country
Engine: 3.6-liter V-6, 305 horsepower, 260 lb.-ft. torque
Transmission: 9-speed shiftable automatic
Suspension: MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear
Curb weight: 4,362 lb.
Wheels: 20-in. alloy
Tires: P255/55R20 all-season
Seating capacity: 7
Luggage capacity: 23 cu. ft.
Maximum cargo capacity: 98.5 cu. ft.
Towing capacity: 5,000 lb.
Fuel capacity: 21.7 gal.
Fuel economy: 17 mpg city, 25 highway
Fuel type: regular unleaded gasoline
Steven Macoy (email@example.com) is a longtime car enthusiast and full-time editor who lives in Bethel, Conn.