Chevy moves Traverse into second generation with redesign for 2018

By Paul Borden

(September 24, 2018) Chevrolet apparently has been busy lately in updating its fleet of crossovers and SUVs. The 2018 Traverse is the fourth SUV/crossover that the manufacturer has updated within a year, joining the Equinox, Trax, and Bolt EV in that category.

Introduced as a 2009 model to replace the truck-based Trailblazer, the Traverse moved into its second generation as a 2018 model with new, bolder styling, more safety features, two new trim levels, and other updates that make it a very viable option in its class, especially for growing families who need lots of room for both passengers and their stuff.

Modifications to second-row seating accommodations (either a folding bench seat or captain's chairs, depending on the trim level) provide easy access to what is a roomy third row (33.5 inches of legroom, 38.2 for headroom) that still leaves a nice cargo space (23 cubic feet and over 98 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded).

The Traverse is offered in several trim levels that start at $30,875 for the base L trim (including $945 destination and delivery) running to over $54,000 for the new High Country edition.

The all-wheel-drive Premier model that served as my test vehicle for a recent week started with a base MSRP of $47,350 and finished at $50,140 with Redline Edition features and the destination charge added on.

Other trim models are LS, LT, and RS with the LT ($37,040 with cloth seating, $43,640 with leather) expected to be the best seller.

Leather is standard on the Premier along with such features as keyless entry and push-button start, remote start, LED headlamps and taillights, fog lights, power hands-free lift gate, roof rails, trailering equipment, heated second-row seats, 8-way power driver's seat, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, tri-zone climate control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Safety equipment includes rear park assist, teen driver technology, rear cross traffic alert, lane change and blind spot alert, lane-keeping assist and departure warning, forward collision alert, low-speed forward auto braking, and surround vision camera, the latter an especially nice feature for vehicles of this size.

Finally, techno features include Chevrolet MyLink system with navigation, Bluetooth streaming, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto access, OnStar capability, and satellite radio (3-month trial).

Chevy has been very aggressive in the tech area so naturally the Traverse gets a 4G LTE wi-fi hotspot to keep you in touch with the world outside.

A 3.6-liter, V6 engine that produces 310 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque is standard across the line. It is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission, and that combination produces ratings of 18 miles-per-gallon city, 27 highway with front-wheel drive and 17/26 with available all-wheel drive. A 2.0-liter turbo available on RS models is earns numbers of 20/26.

That's a bit more horsepower and slightly better fuel mileage than what was offered by its predecessor and results in a performance that should satisfy all but the most power-hungry drivers. I never felt that I needed more in the situations I encountered.

What I liked about the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Premier: Technological features are plentiful and operate off a user-friendly, 8-inch touchscreen. That touchscreen can be raised with the push of a button, giving access to a small storage space. Its spacious cabin gives the feel of a full-size SUV with lots of room for passengers and cargo. Captain's chairs provide easy to the third row.

What I didn't like about the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Premier: You can't turn off the stop-start system, though you can override it by gently -- and slightly -- releasing brake pressure once you come to a complete stop. Some of the more exotic options, like adaptive cruise control, are not available on lower trim levels.

Would I buy the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Premier? Though classed as a midsize, the Traverse is a bit too big for my needs and tastes, but it could be just right for a couple with a growing family. It is functional in an attractive package.