The Chevrolet Traverse is a full-size, eight-passenger crossover that lets buyers enjoy van-like interior space while avoiding the minivan stigma with SUV-themed styling. It stretches 203.7 inches long, 78.5 inches wide and 69.9 inches tall.
Angular headlights, a powerdome hood and a three-slat radiator grille give the Traverse's front end a fresh appearance that recalls Chevrolet's popular Malibu sedan, while sharp tail lamps add a finishing touch to the dynamic exterior appearance.
The Traverse rides on a car-like unibody platform that it shares with the GMC Acadia and the Buick Enclave. These underpinnings give the Traverse more nimble handling dynamics than the automaker's old-school Tahoe SUV, but they also limit its off-road potential to traversing gravel roads. The Traverse is capable of towing up to 5,200 pounds when properly equipped, however.
The cabin includes soft-touch materials on the dash and on the upper doors which create an upscale feel. The crossover offers three rows of seating, with captain's chairs or a bench seat available for the second row.
The Traverse boasts 24.4 cubic feet of cargo space with eight passengers aboard and 68.8 cubic feet with the third row of seats folded down. Clearly designed with the comfort of large families in mind, the interior can be ordered with up to 12 cupholders and a DVD entertainment system.
Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system is optional on LS, 1LT and 2LT trims and standard on LTZ. MyLink combines entertainment and Bluetooth-based connectivity into a 6.5-inch touch screen mounted on the dashboard. The setup enables hands-free phone calls, streaming audio via Pandora radio and a Stitcher SmartRadio and navigation.
The Traverse also offers Apple's Siri Eyes Free integration, which works through MyLink. The Eyes Free system uses the vehicle's steering wheel-mounted controls to access the Siri function of any iPhone equipped with iOS6. Once linked, the driver can use voice commands to make phone calls, play songs from iTunes, listen and compose text messages and add appointments to his or her calendar. The iPhone's screen remains blank while in Eyes Free mode in order to minimize distractions.
Under the hood
The Traverse comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 281 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, though an optional dual-exhaust setup raises those figures to 288 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission routes power to the front wheels and a traction-enhancing all-wheel-drive system is available as an option.
Fuel economy is rated at 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway for the front-wheel drive model and 16/23 for the all-wheel drive variant.
Trim level breakdown
The Traverse is offered in LS, 1LT, 2LT and LTZ trim levels.
The LS comes standard with expected features such as A/C, power windows, power locks and keyless entry in addition to a rearview camera, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM stereo system with an AUX input jack, cloth upholstery, manually-adjustable seats, cruise control and 17-inch steel wheels with hubcaps.
The 1LT brings a power-adjustable driver's seat, single-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth smartphone connectivity, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a forward collision alert, a lane departure warning system, imitation wood interior trim, body-colored side moldings and 18-inch machined-aluminum wheels.
The 2LT adds heated front seats, a 10-speaker Bose stereo system with a USB port, remote start, a power liftgate, tri-zone automatic climate control and a universal garage door opener.
The LTZ comes with leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, a power-adjustable passenger's seat, power-folding exterior mirrors, chrome exterior trim and 20-inch aluminum wheels.
All Traverse models come standard with dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to the industry's first front-center airbag. Traction and stability control systems are also included.
Available as options (standard on the LTZ) are side blind zone alert and rear cross traffic alert systems, which use radar to watch spots the driver may not see - and provide visible and audible warnings to help prevent collisions.
Thinking about pulling the trigger on a new Traverse? You should also research competitive models like the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Dodge Journey and Toyota Highlander.