After about a decade out on the road, Chevrolet has finally redesigned its large three row SUV the Traverse. That first generation model was well liked and CR recommended, but its age was showing. The new car boasts better refinement, fuel efficiency, packaging, and connectivity. So to find out just how much the new Traverse has improved, we bought one for ourselves. The 2018 Traverse is offered with two powertrains. A 310 horsepower V6 plus a 255 horsepower turbo four cylinder that will come later. With a hefty curb weight of around 4500 pounds, most are going to want that V6. Combined with a new nine speed automatic transmission, the EPA rates the V6 all wheel drive model at 20 miles per gallon combined.
A three MPG improvement over the outgoing vehicle. This is a big well equipped SUV, especially in the premier trim we purchased. Access to the airy cabin is easy with large doors and a reasonable step up height. The front seats are wide and accommodating, and there’s ample room for the driver to spread out. Wide well placed arm rests will help on those long days in the saddle too. But with an as tested price of nearly $50,000, just two way lumbar for the driver’s seat and a manual sunshade seem lacking. Hop into the second row and you’ll find enough space for adults to truly stretch out and get comfy. Rear heated seats, climate controls, and ceiling vents adds to the Traverse’s minivan like vibe. Headroom is only adequate though, as the sunroof compromises some space.
That second row seat can slide fore and aft making more room for the third row when needed. In seven seat configuration, the second row captain’s chairs make a handy path to the way back seats. There’s enough headroom for average sized adults, but the foot space is a bit tight. The Traverse has pretty good outward visibility thanks to its tall side windows. However, the over the shoulder view is limited by thick rear pillars. Backing up is aided by both rear view and optional surround view cameras. And if that’s not enough cameras for you, the optional rear camera mirror gives you a wide angle view to help with rear visibility instead of a traditional mirror view.
You can turn it off if it becomes distracting. The familiar MyLink Infotainment system takes center stage up front with its colorful intuitive 8 inch screen, which is retractable and reveals a handy hideaway bin behind it. The Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility are standard enabling seamless smartphone integration. Adding to the connectivity, there are USB ports in every row along with a 110 volt outlet and a built in Wi-Fi hotspot with a free trial period. Out on the road, the Traverse benefits from a quiet cabin and immediately feels well mannered and easy to drive in spite of its hulking size. The V6 is a smooth operator feeling unstressed around town, yet capable of making brisk passing maneuvers when needed.
The new nine speed automatic shifts smoothly, and thankfully uses a traditional gear selector layout. Even though steering is on the light side, the Traverse corners well for a vehicle of this size. The ride is compliant soaking up most impacts nicely while still feeling connected and controlled. Unfortunately forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking are only available on the top trims. The fact that these important safety features aren’t standard on all Traverse models is a notable omission in an all new family vehicle. Our premier test vehicle also has a blind spot warning, and rear cross-traffic warning, as well as the rear seat reminder. This feature gives a visual reminder and audible alert to check the rear seat to prevent a child or pet from being left behind. We’ll learn more about the new Traverse as we rack up our break in miles. Keep an eye out for full road test results to see how it measures up against other competitors. For more on large SUVs check out consumerreports.org.