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2018 Chevrolet Traverse: More truck on outside, more car on the road

Release time : 2017-08-29

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Aug, 29, 2017 @ 12:00 am

Chevrolet has redesigned the Traverse for the 2018 model year in what is the first major overhaul for the crossover. It features more truck-like styling but more car-like driving dynamics, some reviews say. Here is a roundup of early Traverse reviews.


"On boring freeway or pretty backroad, the Traverse's new 3.6-liter V6 has appropriate oomph: 310 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. It's enough to get you around a slow-moving semi with ease, and makes it simple for the 4,400-pound Chevy to tackle the occasional steep grade as I climb north to Traverse City. General Motors' nine-speed automatic is mostly refined and unnoticeable in its action – unlike a 9AT from, say, Fiat-Chrysler, GM's transmission isn't constantly jumping between high gears when you're pegged at 80 miles per hour on the highway.

"This Traverse is just plain easy to drive, with typically light and vague three-row-crossover-spec steering. The chassis tuning is excellent, with a planted, solid ride quality that keeps unwanted body motions to a minimum. I won't call the drive experience engaging – indeed, on the winding two-lane roads in the Leelanau Peninsula, I'm not really pushing the Traverse in spirited fashion. But this thing drives with confidence and composure, an experience that's as good as anything else in its competitive set."

-- Steven Ewing, Motor1.com


"The wife, the boy and I drove the Traverse from metro Detroit up to scenic and aptly named Traverse City in Michigan, which is about 240 miles each way. I had a lot of seat time, most of it trying to beat that nine-speed auto into moving the damn car down the highway. It's a three-row, it's a family car, families want good gas mileage, I get it. But to keep it at the speed I like, which is only 10-15 percent over the speed limit, I had to constantly manage my throttle pressure. The problem is that whenever you move your foot down, it makes at least one downshift. Get a small breeze? Downshift. Going uphill? Downshift. Passing? Down, down, downshift.

The Traverse isn't slow -- you just have to mash your foot into the floor to get any speed. Granted, it's smooth and decently quiet; we had our no-longer-a-baby sleeping most of both ways without complaint. Shifts aren't intrusive, unless you need them in a hurry for a quick maneuver, in which case they're lackadaisical at best. The flip side is that we averaged 24.9 mpg on the way home, and that was at … 10-15 percent above the (arbitrarily low) speed limit."

-- Jake Lingeman, Autoweek


"On the road, the Traverse proves to be a mild-mannered, easy-going coach. Power from the 3.6-liter V6 is smooth, with a swifter throttle response than the outgoing Traverse. Combined with an unobtrusive, nine-speed automatic transmission, the powertrain is unstressed around town and capable of brisk passing maneuvers.

We were happy to see that the transmission is engaged with a traditional gear selector -- no confusing alternative shifter here."

-- Jeff S. Bartlett, Consumer Reports


"The Traverse platform got a little bit lighter, but it doesn't feel like it. It still handles, stops and starts like the enormous SUV it is -- but it's no longer a wallowy, boatlike experience. The best thing about it is the absolutely fantastic ride -- smooth over nearly every surface, with very little upsetting the chassis and nothing that makes the steering wheel shake or tug at you. The steering is a new electric power system that has been tightened up considerably, and braking feel is similarly more responsive and immediate. The standard powertrain is GM's ubiquitous 3.6-liter V-6 engine, now making 310 horsepower, mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. It provides decent power and acceleration, but it still has to move an awful lot of SUV, so while gathering steam for a highway entry isn't terribly challenging, it's not going to win any drag races.


But that's okay, because racing isn't what the Traverse is about. It's about transporting seven people in quiet comfort, and it does well here. Power delivery is smooth thanks to the nine-speed auto. It does shift a lot and is eager to do so, but then, that's kind of the point of a nine-speed transmission — it has a lot of gears to work with, so it's going to work them. That it does so inoffensively is a good thing. It's a far better powertrain than the Nissan Pathfinder's V-6-and-continuously-variable-automatic pairing, although the smaller Nissan does feel a bit more nimble. Compared with the Ford Explorer, the Traverse feels about on par with that big SUV's handling, but it might have a little edge in base powertrain seat-of-the-pants grunt. The Toyota Highlander has a base four-cylinder engine that doesn't light any fires anywhere, but it also offers a hybrid version that will easily beat the Traverse's fuel economy."

-- Aaron Bragman, Cars.com


"As with every other car that's ever been built, the 2018 Traverse is stiffer than its forebear. But that only gives the car composure over bumps, rather than turning it into some sort of ersatz sports car. Combined with a suspension that lives on the softer side of Sears, it never feels like a jangly mess. Throw two rows' worth of kids and cargo in the back, and it's bound to be even comfier.

The steering is completely, entirely numb. It is devoid of feeling, like that weird goth kid from poetry class. But this is a car for families who care not about sharp driving dynamics. You turn the wheel with little effort, the car also turns, and that's good enough for most everyone.

The only major niggles from a driving standpoint are two glaring omissions. The seating position would be even better with adjustable pedals, which are not featured on the Traverse. The same goes for a head-up display -- you can get one on other new Chevrolet models, but not here. Shame, that."

-- Andrew Krok, Roadshow by CNET


"You might think that such a titanic crossover would also drive like a Suburban. But you would be wrong, because Chevy's engineers have done a masterful job in suspension and steering tuning. The old Traverse didn't feel like the two-and-a-half-ton elephant it was, and the new one drives even better. An electrically assisted power-steering system, similar to the one used on the Camaro (rack mounted, with a belt drive), demands only a light touch but rewards the driver with consistent and appropriate feedback. The new Traverse uses struts in the front and a multilink suspension in the rear, a combination that absorbs harsh impacts without jostling occupants and delivers a plush ride."

-- Jeff Sabatini, Car and Driver


You can reach at autonews@crain.com. -- Follow on Twitter

Tags: Reviews Chevrolet Redesign Traverse

http://www.autonews.com/article/20170829/CRITICS_CORNER/170829753/2018-chevrolet-traverse:-more-truck-on-outside-more-car-on-the-road


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