By looks alone, the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse doesn’t strike you as a vehicle with much agility or one with a competent towing ability, but road tests show that the big crossover is, in fact, a competent performer in most situations.
Power comes from a direct-injection 3.6-liter V-6 engine, the same unit found in the Cadillac CTS and STS. Peak output is rated at 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque for models equipped with a dual exhaust, or 281 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque for models with a single exhaust. Edmunds says that the engine "gets direct injection just like pricey Cadillac CTS motors." ConsumerGuide rates the Chevrolet Traverse around the class average for acceleration and finds that it offers "ample power with usefully prompt throttle response." Edmunds asserts that the Traverse feels "plenty peppy" and "should make it to 60 mph in a little bit more than eight seconds." While acceleration may just be just average on the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse, the towing capacity is above the class norm. Motor Trend reports that "Traverses with the optional towing package can pull 5,200 pounds, versus 4,500 pounds for the '08 Outlook/Acadia/Enclave" and an even 5,000 pounds for the competing Toyota Highlander.
Pairing up with the Chevrolet Traverse's V-6 engine is a "six-speed automatic transmission" that ConsumerGuide says will route the power through either a "front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive" system. Reviews are subdued for the automatic transmission, but ConsumerGuide notes that "shifts are smooth and generally immediate, though the transmission can be tardy with downshifts at highway speed." Cars.com also refers to the transmission as "smooth-shifting," a term commonly used to describe the Chevrolet Traverse in reviews read by TheCarConnection.com.
Where the six-speed transmission really shines is fuel economy, which is far superior to that of four- and five-speed units still common on many vehicles today. Edmunds says that "the direct-injection V-6 brings with it slightly better fuel economy than the V-6 it replaces in all the Lambda crossovers," though the all-wheel-drive version suffers a slight mileage penalty. The official EPA estimates for the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse are 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway for the all-wheel drive and 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway for the front-wheel-drive version.
While the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse offers SUV-like cargo room and practicality, its handling and ride characteristics are much more driver-friendly than those of truck-based vehicles. Edmunds reports that the Traverse "delivers an enviable compromise between a comfortable ride and agile handling even with its optional 20-inch wheels." Autoblog reviewers agree, finding that the Chevrolet Traverse turns "with minimal body roll and drama," and, "for a 5,000-lb wagon, the Traverse proved quite capable of changing direction quickly." Other reviewers praise the "quicker and more direct" steering on the Traverse compared to its competitors, and Motor Trend claims that the Traverse is "tuned like a car." And in the always-important braking category, ConsumerGuide chimes in with more praise, saying that "responsive brakes contribute to making Traverse feel sporty despite its size."