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STYLING | 7 out of 10
picks up styling cues from the Malibu sedan
strangely shaped, undersized rear window
Stylish interior design presents well at a distance.
Although it might build on some of the styling cues of GM SUVs, the 2014 Chevrolet Traverse is essentially a tall station wagon. For today's biggest families, who are concerned about image and features, yet also space, comfort, and safety, the Traverse adds up to a very smart pick.
The design of the Traverse has seen very little change since its original introduction in 2009; last year it was given a minor touch-up in the front and rear, although it's far from what GM termed "an athletic new exterior design." Compared to its cousins, the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, the Traverse has neither the edgier design flair of the GMC nor the retro-curvy hints of the Buick Enclave.
Last year, the Traverse got a new face for Chevy crossovers (we expect this look to spread to the Equinox soon, too), with a three-bar upper grille and two-bar lower design. Darkened headlights and a more sculpted hood round out the updated front end. While that front-end look is, in our opinion, a bit blander than the previous look, in back it's a big improvement—mainly with the substitution of taillamps that look a bit like those on the Camaro muscle car. It also got a different hatch design, and the license plate was been moved up from the bumper and integrated into the tailgate. Some additional chrome and brightwork give it a little more punch from some angles.
Inside, the Traverse is nothing exciting--maybe even a bit drab--but it's very functional, and last year's refresh brought a little more interest with a few new wood and silver accents, some contrast stitching, and ambient lighting. The cockpit design is still very simple, with a layout that's pretty much a halfway point between what Chevy uses in its full-size SUVs like the Tahoe and what's in its mainstream sedans like the Malibu. And last year Chevy also reconfigured the climate controls for 2013 and brought in more soft-touch materials.
The 2014 Chevrolet Traverse is conservative on the outside, but the softer interior look it received last year makes it more in pace with Chevy's car cabins.