|L||3.6-liter V6 Gas||9-Speed Automatic||Front Wheel Drive||$29,780||$29,930|
|LS||3.6-liter V6 Gas||9-Speed Automatic||Front Wheel Drive, All Wheel Drive||$30,970||$32,600|
|LT Cloth (1LT)||3.6-liter V6 Gas||9-Speed Automatic||Front Wheel Drive, All Wheel Drive||$33,345||$35,100|
|LT Leather (3LT)||3.6-liter V6 Gas||9-Speed Automatic||Front Wheel Drive, All Wheel Drive||$39,615||$41,700|
|RS||Turbo Inline-4 Gas||9-Speed Automatic||Front Wheel Drive||$40,470||$42,600|
by John Tallodi
Slotting in just below the gargantuan full-sized SUVs, the Traverse is a substantial vehicle in its own right, with seating for 8 and enough cargo space for all their luggage too. For the 2018 model year it arrives with a full redesign and a range of drivetrain and trim improvements that should see it offer even more value.
The newly designed interior looks modern with well laid out controls and buttons. Shoppers can choose from varying trim levels that offer up a range of upholstery and fabric options from entry level to very luxurious. The Traverse has gained a few inches in length over last year’s model and now all three rows offer comfortable seating although the rearmost row is at best suited for shorter adults or teenagers.
Large C-pillars also obscure the view for those third row passengers. Still, with seating for up to 8 (unless you opt for leather seats which mean bucket seats and a maximum of 7 occupants) it is spacious and feels much like a more compact Suburban than an enlarged crossover. Cargo space is now class-leading and with the rear seats folded down there is not much that the Traverse won’t swallow up.
Straddling the line between the more compact crossover and a full-sized SUV, the Traverse manages to provide a more car-like driving experience than you might expect. This could be due to the near 400-pound weight loss over the 2017 model and the new refined suspension settings which offer excellent bump absorption. In most situations the ride is compliant and the handling is confidence inspiring.
The Traverse is still a big lump of metal though so while it feels solid and planted, attempting sudden maneuvers does unsettle the ride which is quite normal in something of this size.
The Traverse is available with a 3.6-liter 310 horsepower V6, torque is rated at 266 lb-ft of torque which, combined with the new 9-speed automatic transmission gives the big SUV a decent turn of speed in most driving conditions. Front-wheel drive is standard with all-wheel drive optional on all but the base trim level.
The new transmission endeavors to keep the engine in an ideal operating range at all times which is a good thing as fully loaded the Traverse will need all of the available power.
A 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-4 is mooted for introduction later in the year however at the time of writing it was not an available option.
The Traverse has a broad range of trims to choose from. The base L trim is offered with 18-inch wheels, teen driver system, 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, onboard Wi-Fi, cloth upholstery and LED running lights. This trim is available only with front-wheel drive and many optional extras are unavailable too.
LT adds the option of all-wheel drive and a cargo management package while LT Cloth trim adds a power drive seat and upgrades the second row seats to captain’s chairs but reduces seating capacity to 7.
Convenience and Drive Confidence packages are worthwhile options with some notable features being an 8-inch infotainment screen, blind-spot monitoring, power liftgate and heated front seats. When optioning the LT with all-wheel drive these packages are included as standard.
LT leather trim includes these packages too in both front and all-wheel drive formats and adds a number of features such as an upgraded audio system and top-down camera system along with the leather upholstery.
The top two trims, namely Premier and High Country add further luxury extras such as ventilated front seats and adaptive cruise control and are the only ones to offer the Driver Confidence II package which includes pedestrian detection, lane departure warning and forward collision warning.
A Trailering package is also available as well as stand-alone options that differ depending on the trim level.
The 2018 Traverse is a step in the right direction for this big Chevy SUV, it offers a range of interior trim levels and plenty of room for up to 8 occupants. A comprehensive options list and the class-leading cargo area mark it out as a top competitor in its class.