Chevy Traverse is a large crossover SUV. Benefitting from a strong unit-body structure, it makes big, clunky, truck-based SUVs practically obsolete, at least when it comes to moving people and cargo. More stylish than minivans and far more fuel and space efficient than truck-based SUVs, crossovers like the Traverse are excellent family vehicles.
The Chevy Traverse shares its powertrain and platform with the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia, and it offers seven- or eight-passenger capacity and plenty of cargo space. For years, buyers have sacrificed fuel economy and driving pleasure for size, ride height, and cargo capacity, but the Traverse offers a fine blend of all those traits.
On the road, the Traverse is surprisingly nimble. It handles more like a family sedan than like a big SUV. The steering is direct and responsive, if light, and the brakes are easy to modulate. The ride is comfortable and much more stable than that of large SUVs, which can often bound and lean. The Traverse is large, though, so it can be bulky in parking lot and parallel parking maneuvers.
Power is more than adequate. The Traverse comes with a 3.6-liter V6 that moves it ably from a stop and provides decent passing punch. It makes 281 horsepower, or 288 with the available dual exhaust system. The Traverse comes standard with a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy numbers are better than those of most truck-type SUVs, but they're less than for the average family car. Given the Traverse's spacious interior and eight-passenger capacity, the fuel economy is quite good. Though no lightweight, the Traverse is significantly lighter than the Tahoe, allowing the Traverse to deliver superior fuel economy and handling.
Inside, the Traverse offers best-in-class space. The second- and third-row seats fold flat to open up a generous cargo area. Even with all the seats up, there is enough room behind the third row for a week's worth of groceries, and an available power liftgate makes it easy to access those groceries.
The controls are easy to reach and operate. Cloth or leather, the front seats are comfortable and supportive. Room in the first and second rows is plentiful, and the third row is bigger than most and is even useful for adults. The dashboard is attractive, but there's more obvious plastic inside than we'd like at this price point.
If you're coming out of a Chevy Tahoe or Dodge Durango, you'll be quite pleased with the Traverse. It's much more pleasant to drive than those vehicles, thanks to dramatically improved ride and handling. Plus, it gets better mileage and is more space efficient on the inside. In short, the Chevy Traverse is an excellent family vehicle.
For 2010, the only change is that a USB port is included with upgrade sound systems. Located in the center console, it connects portable music devices to the vehicle?s audio system and charges batteries of some hand-held items.