2018 Chevrolet Traverse Premiere FWD Test Drive

?2018 Chevrolet Traverse Premiere FWD?
New Traverse steps up as a more athletic Crossover
The 2013 Chevrolet Traverse was shaped much like a mini-van, but became labeled as a crossover. It was billed by the Bow Tie crew as their ultimate family vehicle, with seating for up to eight in an athletic appearing form, featuring a more expressive frontal design that clearly exhibited Chevrolet?s character. Up front, the look included: a power dome hood, horizontal grille; new headlamp treatment; chrome trim accents with sculpted front corners, that reflected Chevrolet?s car offerings. Out back, redesigned lamps and license plate pocket were positioned in the sporty new lift gate.

The latest 2018 iteration Chevrolet Traverse is available in seven trim levels: the base L, a more well equipped LS; LT Cloth; LT Leather; RS; Premier; and High Country. All models come equipped with HID headlights featuring LED running lights, a rearview camera, 18-inch wheels, a 7.0-inch infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, Bluetooth, six USB ports, keyless ignition, and three-zone climate control.

The exterior displays a simple, truck-inspired persona that contrasts with a stylishly attractive interior space for an above-average overall appeal. And while the conservative design inside and out may not come across as exciting, there?s also nothing on the 2018 Traverse that is offensive. Perhaps a larger issue on lower trim levels, the top-level High Country presents what may well be considered as one of the more pleasing interiors to be found in today?s Chevrolet arsenal.

The Chevy team?s focus with the styling of the Traverse was to provide crossover consumers with a truck-like design, beginning with an exterior that?s heavily influenced by Chevy?s full-size, truck-based SUVs. The stance is upright and squared squared-off at both ends, with tall sides alongside an aggressively forward-angled C-pillar presenting a more masculine image. Pronounced shoulder lines run from the thin profile jeweled headlights (part of Chevrolet?s D-Optic design theme). Up-level design cues include: Deeply-set grille inserts trimmed by chrome rings, turn signals set into the outside mirrors, stylishly expressive taillamps, a rear spoiler over the liftgate window, roof rails, dual, bright exhaust outlets and a power-operated panoramic, sunroof. The taut exterior bodylines feature minimal front and rear overhangs.
Moving to the interior, the Traverse?s cabin continues with Chevy?s truck-inspired design. The elevated, wide center console intersects a tall, dominant dash. The instrument panel displays a dual-cockpit theme showcasing Chevrolet?s DNA.
The instrument panel features large dual gauge binnacles with bright trim rings; and for vehicles equipped with the available navigation system, the display screen is integrated prominently positioned in an upper-center location. The Chevrolet Traverse can be set up to accommodate either seven or eight adults, including two front bucket seats, a 60/40-split second-row bench for three passengers, or two second-row captains? and a 60/40-split third-row bench seat. Perforated leather seats as well as second-row captain?s chairs are available. The third-row seat is capable of comfortably seating adults (as long as they?re minimally ectomorphic), while still providing ample storage space aft for luggage, groceries, etc.
Providing the get-up-and-go for the Traverse stable is a transversely front mounted 3.6-liter V6 ? a DOHC, 24-valve, SIDI, VVT with dual exhaust, E10 fuel capability and auto Stop/Start that pumps out 310 horses at 6,800 rpm (20 horsepower more than last year?s V6), while also developing 266 pound feet of torque at 2,800 rpm. It delivers motive force to the front wheels via a Hydramatic 9T50 – 9-speed automatic ? electronically controlled transmission with Driver Shift Control. All models take regular unleaded fuel regardless of the drive configuration and exhaust setup, with a towing capacity of up to 5,200 pounds when properly set up. A 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-4-cylinder engine is scheduled to be added powering the Traverse RS. Only the V-6 will be available with all-wheel drive.
The standard inventory list of features and equipment for any Traverse trim level is most impressive, while there?s are also a wide range of available extras to further meet individual?s desires and needs, such as: a rearview camera; Rear ultrasonic parking assist; heated, power-adjustable outside mirrors with blind-spot mirrors; power folding outside mirrors with integrated turn signals; a power liftgate; extended-range remote vehicle start; DVD entertainment system; a DVD navigation system (with OnStar Destination Download or eNav and XM NavTraffic); heated and cooled front seats; XM Satellite Radio with available real-time traffic feature; OnStar (with one year of Directions & Connections service) with Turn-by-Turn Navigation; and, with the navigation system, Direction Download and e-nav, and Chevrolet?s newest infotainment technology – MyLink Touch.
My test 2018 Chevrolet Traverse came in Premiere trim with the higher output, V6 with dual exhaust. The exterior was sprayed a Black Currant metallic with a complementing Dark Atmosphere and Medium Ash Gray interior accented by Satin Silver trim accents. The base sticker read $44,450 while adding the Driver Confidence Package, special metallic paint and Destination charge raised the total to $46,285 prior to taxes and license fees.

SUMMARY: The new 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Premiere delivers quality family transportation that displays attractive styling elements with a high degree of versatility and functionality. It accelerates nicely, shifts smoothly, with a handy shift up/down thumb switch on the gearshift selector stalk.
The ride quality and handling characteristics are synonymous with what one would expect in a minivan ? Oops, I mean crossover. StabiliTrak electronic stability control system with rollover mitigation technology and the Traction
control system are nice features to have that enhance the Traverse?s driving experience while inspiring confidence and security.
In terms of safety elements, the Traverse features a front center side air bag, two dual-stage frontal air bags, for driver and front passenger, two seat-mounted pelvic-thorax side-impact air bags in the first row, and two head curtain side-impact air bags covering all three seating rows ? they are among the longest air bags offered in any production vehicle.

Complementing the air bags is GM?s rollover sensing system, which can activate the head curtain side-impact air bags and safety belt pretensioners when sensors determine an imminent rollover. In such an event, the air bags stay inflated longer, improving occupant containment. Dual front-seat safety belt pretensioners (anchor and retractor) are included.
The Traverse will compete in the marketplace with Honda?s Pilot, Toyota?s Highlander and VW?s Atlas,. and it represents an appropriate step up from the compact Chevrolet Equinox.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Premier FWD

Base Price: $44,450.
Price as Tested: $46,285.

Engine Type and Size: 3.6-liter, DOHC, 24-valve V6 SIDI, VVT with E10 fuel capable and auto Stop/Start

Horsepower (bhp): 310 @ 6,800 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 266 @ 2,800 rpm

Transmission: Hydramatic 9T50 – 9-speed automatic ? electronically controlled with Driver Shift Control.

Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / FWD

Suspension: Front – MacPherson strut independent with hydraulic control arm ride bushing and hollow stabilizer bar.
Rear -Five-link independent with auxiliary spring aids and hollow stabilizer bar.

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs with ABS, ETC and ESC with rollover mitigation.

Tires: Continental ContiCrossContact LX20 ? 255/55 R20 107H mounted on 5-stylized ?U?-spoke alloy wheels.

Wheelbase: 120.9 inches
Length Overall: 204.3 inches
Width: 78.6 inches ? w/o mirrors
Height: 70.7 inches
Curb Weight: 4,362 lbs.
Turning Circle: 39 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 19.4 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 18 mpg city / 27 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 – 60 mph: 6.9-7.4 seconds

Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.

More from Our Auto Expert