The Chevrolet Traverse is a full-size, eight-passenger crossover that lets buyers enjoy minivan-like interior space while avoiding the minivan stigma with SUV-themed styling. It received a midcycle overhaul for the latest model year that includes an upgraded interior (addressing one of the primary complaints concerning the outgoing model) along with a revised exterior.
While the Traverse's traditional crossover shape carries over intact, Chevrolet changed numerous details to give the vehicle a crisper look. New headlights, a powerdome hood and revised grille give the front end a fresh appearance that recalls the automaker's popular Malibu sedan, while around back a new taillight design and a revamped license plate pocket complete the tweaks.
Inside, the Traverse benefits from an upgraded interior with a new center stack with an available 6.5-inch touch screen, available ambient lighting and updated front seats with articulating head restraints. The cabin now includes more soft-touch materials, most notably on the dash and upper doors, which help impart a more upscale feel compared to the old Traverse's somewhat plastic-filled inner sanctum.
The Traverse offers three rows of seating, with captain's chairs or a bench seat available for the second row. A roomy 24.4 cubic feet of cargo space is available behind the third row, while 68.8 cubic feet are available with the third row folded. The interior can spec'd with up to 12 cupholders and a DVD entertainment system.
The Traverse continues to ride on a car-like unibody platform that's shared with the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave. These underpinnings help to give the Traverse more nimble handling dynamics than the automaker's old-school Tahoe SUV, although 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.
For the latest model year, Chevrolet reworked the Traverse's suspension to provide a smoother ride at low speeds.
The Traverse comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 281 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. An optional dual-exhaust ups those figures to 288 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission routes power to the front wheels. 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 FWD model and 16/23 for the AWD variant.
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, imitation wood interior trim, body-color 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 LTS 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.
New for the lates model year is a MyLink infotainment system, which offers voice control of certain entertainment functions and includes Bluetooth smartphone connectivity and streaming audio via Pandora radio and Stitcher SmartRadio. MyLink is optional on LS, 1LT and 2LT trims and standard on the LTZ.
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.