New & Used Chevrolet Traverse: In Depth
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The Chevrolet Traverse is a large crossover utility vehicle that can accommodate as many as eight people and cargo. Essentially marketed as a minivan--but without the sliding side doors--the Traverse is in a segment with vehicles like the Ford Flex, Nissan Pathfinder, and Honda Pilot.
It's also a rival for the Buick Enclave and GMC Sierra, both of which share the Traverse's running gear.Production of the Chevrolet Traverse takes place at GM’s Delta Township plant in Lansing, Michigan.
MORE: Read our 2015 Chevrolet Traverse review
When it went on sale for the 2009 model year, the Traverse replaced two vehicles in the Chevy lineup, the Uplander minivan and the TrailBlazer SUV. It's now one of the mainstays of the lineup, along with the five-passenger Chevy Equinox.
Since launch, the Traverse has been powered by a competent 3.6-liter V-6 that features direct injection. Models equipped with a dual exhaust put out 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, while single-exhaust Traverses make do with 281 hp and 266 lb-ft. The engine offers good low-end torque, making 90 percent of the peak number available from 2,500 to 6,000 rpm. Acceleration is solid, and the Traverse is even a good option for occasional towing.
It also affords it good fuel economy and performance. Despite weighing some 4,925 pounds, the Chevrolet Traverse achieves a fuel economy of 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway in front-wheel-drive guise—much better than the more truck-like TrailBlazer it succeeded, for sure. All-wheel-drive versions fare slightly worse, achieving a fuel economy of 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. The impressive figures (for such a big vehicle) are helped by the vehicle’s six-speed automatic transmission, which shifts gears very smoothly but can hesitate when downshifts are called for.
There's seating for up to eight in the three-row Traverse; second-row captain’s chairs are also available but carrying capacity is then reduced to just seven. The Chevrolet Traverse is also one of the safest vehicles in its class, scoring well in independent crash testing and in NHTSA crash tests as well.
The latest Chevrolet Traverse is available in three levels of trim, LS, LT, and LTZ, as well as either front- or all-wheel-drive configurations. All models get four-wheel independent suspension and StabiliTrak stability control, as well as wheel sizes measuring 17, 18, and 20 inches. Some of the vehicle’s options include a rearview camera, power liftgate, a DVD player and XM Satellite Radio, plus heated and cooled front seats. Up-spec models can also be fitted with a rear spoiler, 20-inch aluminum wheels, a dual-exhaust system, perforated leather, and a panoramic sunroof.
The 2013 Chevrolet Traverse has a refreshed appearance, with a new front end more like the one on the latest Malibu sedan, as well as taillights that could be influenced by the Camaro. Also new to the Traverse lineup was the Chevrolet MyLink system, which includes a 6.5-inch color touch screen, enabling smartphone integration as well as easy streaming—with a smartphone and data plan—of Pandora and Stitcher smartphone-based entertainment.
Otherwise, the design remained essentially the same through 2015, although more brightwork was used on the outside and interior materials were significantly improved. The powertrain gets some new programming, though the V-6 and six-speed will remain mechanically the same. Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are included in the LTZ; and a new front center airbag is now included in all models.