Reviews

2018 Chevrolet Traverse Walk Around


Chevy designers wanted the Traverse to look like an SUV, not a crossover, and it does. It will fool everyone. It has the lines and shape of a classic Chevy Tahoe, as intended.

But it’s not a truck, it’s a crossover, built on a chassis shared with the Malibu. The truck demeanor is just pretend, and retro to boot: ironically, the previous generation Traverse, unashamedly a big crossover, looked smoother and cleaner, on its rounded lines.

It stands upright, with tall sides. The front is smooth, having a big grille with a gentle shape (unobtrusive black plastic in lower trims, handsome and modest chrome rails in higher trims) and discreet sweeping headlamps, available in Chevy’s D-optic LED design. The nose rolls up to the hood, and down over a black horizontal air intake to the body-colored bumper.

The C-pillar is thick and angled aggressively forward, conveying forward motion. The rear window is pinched at the bottom to give the pillar room to stretch; the corner shape adds to the flow of the shoulder line and roofline.

The straight wraparound rear glass nicely complements the roofline. The slim wraparound red taillamps are high at the shoulder line, which gives the rear end an uplifted look, at the same time creating a blank face that needs to be filled on the tailgate with a ridge and some sharp concavery. If it weren’t for the Chevy bowtie badge on the rear liftgate, it could be almost anything.

Interior

The cabin is also truck-inspired, so much that it seems to be shouting that it wants to be a Tahoe. The centerstack is high and wide, and meets a big flat dash. The quality of materials is highly dependent on the trim level, but even the LS has attractive plastics with a solid, durable feel, and bits of leather trim on the doors. The range-topping High Country shares some of the same plastic, however it comes with its own rich reddish leather called Loft Brown, which contrasts nicely with the bits of black plastic throughout the cabin. With door panels and dash trimmed in synthetic suede and wood, it’s one of Chevrolet’s best cabins.

The front seats are wide and supportive, and even the LS seats are eight-way power adjustable. We did 250 nonstop miles in an LT Leather model in comfort.

The second row, whether a bench or captain’s chairs, feature GM’s SmartSlide feature, improved for 2018. The bench seat splits and folds, while the curbside captain’s chair flops for easy access to the third row.

In the third row, the legroom is best in class with 33.5 inches, a fraction more than the Ford Explorer with 33.3. The Honda Pilot drops to 31.9 inches and the Nissan Pathfinder to 30.7. We squeezed a large person into the third row, 6-foot-2 and 245 pounds, and he managed to climb back without struggle and found a comfortable position, or so he said. Then we put three smaller persons in the third row, and they complained about lack of legroom. They didn’t want to hear “best in class.”

That made a full eight passengers for a test run, with three more in the second row, complaining about lack of shoulder room. We were glad for the new 310-horsepower V6 engine.

Realistically, it’s a six-adult vehicle. The optional captain’s chairs are four-way adjustable, to make it with more space.

The Traverse offers a ton of cargo space. There’s a vast 23 cubic feet behind the third row, much more than any sedan. With the third row flat it swells to 58.1 cubic feet, as much as some smaller crossovers have with their second row dropped. With both rows flat, it’s a vast 98.2 cubic feet, blowing the Explorer, Pilot and Pathfinder out of the water.

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