We're not sure that the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse RS knows what it wants to be.
At $42,995 including a mandatory $945 destination charge, according to our friends at Cars Direct, the Traverse RS is an odd duck in the automaker's three-row crossover lineup. It's priced toward the upper end of the Traverse range, between the LT Leather and Premier trim levels.
However, the 2018 Traverse RS forces some odd compromises.
The Traverse RS is the only variant of this lineup with a turbocharged inline-4 engine, which sounds intriguing until you dig into the details.
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Here's a look at why we're scratching our heads:
- The Traverse RS isn't offered with all-wheel drive; it's front-wheel drive-only.
- On paper there aren't many advantages to turbo-4 compared to the otherwise standard V-6. At 257 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, turbo-4 is less powerful but a little torquier than the 310 hp, 266 lb-ft of torque V-6.
- Perhaps most nonsensical is that the turbo-4 is thirstier than the V-6 when it comes to fuel economy: 20 mpg city, 26 highway, 22 combined for the turbo-4 and 18/27/21 mpg for the front-wheel drive V-6.
Chevy positions the Traverse RS as a sportier three-row crossover, but it comes up about 100 hp short of its most logical competitor, the 2018 Ford Explorer Sport. Additionally, the Explorer comes standard with all-wheel drive.