Simply stated, the 2018 Chevy Traverse is a very good SUV.
Whether you buy it as a value-packed eight-seat SUV or roll with the versatile seven-seat version, you get lots of cargo space and good-natured driving dynamics.
This year’s fully redesigned model loses weight and gains power, passenger space and technology, along with a new luxury-level top trim.
In fact, you will be hard-pressed to find more passenger room without stepping up to a full-size SUV.
Along with the extra passenger space the Traverse offers is an increase in overall cargo capacity. With 98.5 cubic feet of available space, this SUV clearly is tops in the class when it comes to interior space. It has more room behind the third-row seat compared to other vehicles in its class, a ton of cargo space, and plenty of storage cubbies within reach.
This lighter Traverse carries over the same V6 from the last generation, but it gains 29 horsepower to make a total of 310 hp and is paired with a new nine-speed transmission. This pairing, along with some aerodynamic tweaks, helps improve fuel economy.
Darting around town as I do, I really enjoyed how well my Traverse performed, with the help of the suspension’s sharpened responsiveness. I also took immediate note of the new tilt-n-slide middle-row captain’s chair, the grand visibility out of its huge windows and dual sunroofs, and its 38.2-inch third-row headroom (up from 37.8).
Trust me, despite having grown in every exterior dimension — the largest being a 2.0-inch wheelbase stretch — the most noticeable dimension change from behind the wheel is curb weight. Depending on the model, this big boy has dropped about 350 pounds. In fact, every time a traffic light turned green and I floored it, this thing felt at least a size class smaller.
I also had the chance to hustle down a deserted twisty road and indeed, the Traverse seemed to change direction pretty smartly, with minimal roll.
Exploring the inside of the Traverse, it is clear to see Chevy also has made a lot of progress with its interiors. Its interior layout steals a few tricks from the minivan class. Family-friendly qualities include wide seats, air vents in the ceiling, and a pass-through between the second-row captain’s chairs to access the rearmost seats. The Traverse’s starting price may slot it in the middle of the class, but its interior is definitely not average. And many of the materials feel high-quality.
The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse boasts seven trim levels: L, LS, LT Cloth, LT Leather, RS, Premier and High Country.
Starting with the base model, the Traverse L comes respectably equipped with LED running lights, xenon headlights, heated mirrors, 18-inch wheels and engine stop-start. Inside you get a tilt-adjustable steering wheel, a rearview camera, OnStar (with a 4G LTE connection and onboard Wi-Fi hotspot), Chevy’s Teen Driver system, and a seven-inch MyLink touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
The LT Leather that I test drove had such luxury upgrades as — not surprisingly — leather upholstery and it builds from there. Offerings include a 10-speaker Bose sound system, a 120-volt power outlet, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a built-in rearview camera display, a top-down parking camera system, and a power-adjustable passenger seat. A panoramic sunroof is available as a stand-alone upgrade.
My LT Leather model also offered some active safety features: blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors, and added navigation functionality to the MyLink system.
The Traverse gets an EPA-estimated 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Price for the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse runs $30,875 to $52,995. My car, the LT Leather, came in at $42,490.
All told, the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse is an excellent vehicle that deserves a spot on every family car shopper’s list. The ride is comfortable and quiet, it looks good on the outside, and treats passengers to a nice array of standard tech features, along with a relaxing ride.
I genuinely believe Chevrolet has a hit on its hands.
Grant Miller is the publisher of Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or via email at Grant@CommunityNewspapers.com.