2018 Chevrolet Traverse: Chevy’s Big SUV Gets Bigger And Better Where It Counts – Forbes
With more than 40 percent market share it’s clear SUVs have won the new vehicle sales race. At least for now. And what drives this love of SUVs? Some say it’s the elevated ride height. Some suggest it’s the rugged “I live an active lifestyle” styling. Some would point to more confident foul-weather driving. And some insist it’s the flexible/functional nature of SUVs, allowing them to carry more people and cargo than sedans or wagons. Of course all of these things, along with relatively low fuel costs, have fed the SUV trend, forcing automakers to up their game with more innovative SUV features and capabilities to remain competitive.
The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse represents this trend. As an established 3-row crossover the Traverse built a solid following over the past decade, making it among the better-selling family movers. But this is the Traverse’s first full redesign since it was introduced 9 years ago, giving Chevrolet’s engineers a clean-sheet opportunity to revamp every aspect of the vehicle. The thorough nature of this redesign is obvious at first glance, with a completely new exterior that looks nothing like the outgoing model. The 2018 Traverse has more complex body lines without looking busy or belabored. The C-pillar is noticeably thicker while the rear glass is larger for improved visibility. Overall, it’s an attractive and more distinctive look than the first-gen model.
The most telling exterior shift is reflected in the 2018 Traverse’s shorter overhangs. By extending the wheelbase 2 inches engineers managed to grow the SUV’s interior volume to 98.2 cubic feet while barely altering its exterior size. This has improved headroom in every row and benefitted legroom in the second and third rows. It’s also given the new Traverse class-leading cargo and passenger space. We transported a family of four more than 400 miles in a 2018 Traverse and can confirm its spaciousness. A 6-foot male can easily sit in each of the three rows — with room to spare. This larger interior space is combined with a 350 pound weight-loss program, giving the new Traverse a more nimble and confident personality even as its people- and cargo-carrying capacity has grown.
That kind of weight-loss would improve the new Traverse’s performance and fuel efficiency, even if Chevrolet utilized least year’s drivetrain. But the automaker also updated the SUV’s 3.6-liter V6 and attached it to a new 9-speed transmission. The new drivetrain makes 310 horsepower (29 more than before) and 266 pound-feet of torque. While the torque figure didn’t change much for 2018, the Traverse’s new 9-speed transmission (along with revised engine tuning) combines a flat power band with responsive gear changes to make it a willing partner when accelerating. Passing slower traffic was never a problem during our drive, even with four passengers and a weekend’s worth of luggage, illustrating the new Traverse’s combined weight loss and power gain. Towing capacity is now 5,000 pounds and, best of all, fuel economy has improved from 15 city and 22 highway mpg in last year’s Traverse to 18/27 in the new model (17/25 for all-wheel-drive versions).