Emma Jayne Williams

Chevrolet’s Traverse big crossover gets a complete makeover for 2018

The Chevrolet Traverse enters its second generation 2018, after nearly a decade on the market, offering packaging and connectivity improvements as well as refinement in this large, three-row crossover.

Its redesigned exterior has a bold new look, while the inside offers thoughtful details such as leather appointments and premium stitching.

Traverse offers comfortable seating for up to eight passengers, depending on the configuration of the second row — either two captain’s chairs or a three-passenger bench.

Cargo space is a best-in-class 98.2 cubic feet, with an additional storage compartment under the cargo floor.

Up to 14 advanced safety features are now available, including an industry-first front center side-impact air bag, which deploys on the inboard side of the driver’s seat, adding a layer of protection between driver and front passenger.

Chevrolet also uses high-strength steel and other alloys to maximize protection by absorbing and dissipating crash impact energy away from the cabin and occupants, without sacrificing efficiency, performance, or weight.

Also new for 2018, Traction Mode Select is standard on all models, allowing the driver to adjust the vehicle’s driving mode to suit various road conditions.

The new look was inspired by Chevrolet’s full-size SUVs, with premium cues such as LED signature lighting, chrome accents and available D-Optic LED headlamps (standard on Premier and new High Country trims).

Access to the third row is open and easy, due to improved Smart Slide second row seats. The curbside seat can tip up and slide forward, even with a forward-facing child seat, empty of course, in place. The bench seat slides fore and aft 60/40, captain’s chairs slide individually, and both bench and captain’s chairs have reclining backs for extra comfort.

Traverse is available in six trims, including the new sporty RS and luxurious High Country AWD, priced from $29,930 for the base L model to $52,050 for High Country. All-wheel drive is available on all models except the L.

The standard engine is a 3.6-liter V-6, producing 310 horsepower, paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission with Driver Shift Control (located on the shifter knob). The engine includes Start-Stop technology to help save fuel by automatically shutting off the engine when stopped, and seamlessly restarting when the brake is released. A heavy-duty maintenance-free battery with rundown protection and 600 cold-cranking amps is standard.

I drove a very attractive LT Leather with front-wheel drive in Silver Ice, with leather interior in Dark Atmosphere/Medium Ash Gray, riding on striking 20-inch, six-spoke wheels with machined faces and Technical Gray pockets, wearing all-season tires.

My Traverse had black and silver roof rails, flat black lower body cladding, rear and front bumper lip, body-color door handles; body-color heated (turns on when the rear window defroster is engaged), power adjustable, manual-folding mirrors with turn signal indicators; and deep-tinted glass on the rear side windows and liftgate window for protection from sun and glare.

Deep creases above the wheel wells and along the lower door added a touch of drama to what could have been a very vanilla family vehicle.

Chrome outlined the lower grille, underlined the upper grille (grilles have active upper and lower aero shutters; close at high speeds for aerodynamics, re-open at lower speeds to cool engine) and trimmed the horizontal bars of both grilles.

The HID headlight housing and fog lights were trimmed in chrome, front turn signal lights were outlined in chrome, side windows were outlined in chrome, and a wide chrome strip trimmed the liftgate from taillight to taillight. The D-pillar, liftgate window and spoiler were trimmed in Gloss Black. Chrome “Traverse” adorned the front doors.

The power liftgate has a programmable height setting and can be opened one of three ways; a button on the key fob, a button inside the vehicle, or a touch pad on the lower edge of the liftgate. The intermittent wiper on the liftgate window has a washer to keep the rear window clean.

Large doors opened into the spacious interior, and a manageable step-up height made it relatively easy for even a short person to access. The interior was inviting, with wide heated (back and bottom) bucket seats in front and lots of legroom in the front and the second row.

The two-tone scheme was stylish, with gray plastic around the chrome door handles and the driver’s side dash, chrome trim on the vents, center console and shifter, and Gloss Black and chrome on the instrument cluster and center stack.

My Traverse had room for seven passengers, with flat-folding (with a pull on a lever) captain’s chairs in the second row and a 60/40 flat-folding (by pulling straps from the cargo area) three-person bench in the third row.

The third-row seat cushion is low, making it more suitable for small, nimble adults or older children. Third-row legroom is the best in the segment at 33.7 inches. Front legroom is 41 inches, with 39 inches for the second row. Headroom in the front is 41.3 inches, second row is 40 inches, and third row is 38.2 inches.

The interior was well equipped for passenger comfort and convenience, with enough cargo space in the rear at 23 cubic feet for weekly shopping or a weekend trip. With the third seat folded flat, the space opens up to 58.1 cubic feet to accommodate DIY or gardening supplies. Folding both back rows results in 98.5 cubic feet, enough room for furniture or serious flea market shopping.

Bins, cupholders, and outlets were plentiful, with two cupholders and a large lighted bin with a removable tray in the center console; a rubber-lined bin under the center stack with two USB ports, an auxiliary port and a 12-volt outlet; multiple shallow ledges on each door with an umbrella holder in the door pocket of the front doors and cupholders on the rear doors; a bin on the back of the center console; a cupholder and a small bin on each side of the third row; and my favorite, a hidden bin behind the touch screen, which can be locked.

Power outlets are located throughout the vehicle: a USB charging port is in the hidden bin; a 110-volt and two USB charging ports are on the back of the center console; there are charging ports on each side of the third row, and one in the cargo area.

Tri-zone climate control automatically maintained the desired temperature for the driver, front passenger and rear passengers, using sensors around the cabin to monitor temperature. Rear passengers had auxiliary controls and ceiling vents. A humidity sensor helped to adjust airflow and cooling by reading the temperature and humidity.

Driver conveniences start with Remote Start, which locks doors and turns on parking lights while the engine is running, and activates the climate control to warm or cool the vehicle before passengers enter.

A 4.2-inch color Driver Information Center provides speed, fuel range, fuel economy, tire pressure, oil life, trip odometer and warning icons, along with an eight-point digital compass. A Universal Home Remote can be programmed to open garage doors/gates or turn on home lighting with three available channels. The power door locks have a lockout protection feature.

The intuitive eight-inch color touchscreen supported navigation (2D and 3D), Chevrolet MyLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a Bose premium10-speaker audio system (speakers throughout the cabin, subwoofer in center console, concert-like true sound reproduction), and SiriusXM (over 150 channels, listen on the app or online).

OnStar Basic is included for five years, with Advanced Diagnostics and Dealer Maintenance Notification, remote engine start and stop, remote door lock and unlock, vehicle location (with a mobile device, remotely sound the horn and flash the lights), and a limited trial of OnStar Guidance with Automatic Crash Response, Navigation, Stolen Vehicle Assistance, SOS/emergency services, myChevrolet mobile app, and more.

A Wi-Fi hot spot is included for a limited trial, powered by the vehicle, with the ability to connect up to seven smart devices, to stream movies and TV, play games, or even work on the go with a reliable signal.

The newly expanded myChevrolet mobile app works with OnStar to turn a mobile device into a virtual command center, performing the remote functions, including sending destinations to the navigation system, sending parking reminders, accessing the owner’s manual – even when you are nowhere near the vehicle.

Safety in my Traverse was addressed by the usual Cruise Control, Rear Park Assist, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, StabiliTrak stability control system, multiple air bags including the center driver’s seat-mounted air bag and full-length head-curtain air bags, child door locks, and LATCH system for child seats.

Uncommon safety features included a Rear Camera Mirror for a wider, less-obstructed field of view, especially at night; Surround Vision for a “bird’s eye” view around the vehicle; Passenger Sensing System to deactivate the front-passenger air bag when not needed; much needed Rear Seat Reminder to remind the driver to check the rear seat for valuables (read: children) before exiting the vehicle; Tire Pressure Monitoring System with tire-fill alert; and Teen Driver to allow parents to set boundaries and control certain vehicle functions, then program a specific key fob for the young driver. Traverse even issues an in-vehicle report card to allow parents to monitor and coach the teen’s driving habits.

Traverse is easy to enter and easy to drive, with carlike road manners, plenty of power for overtaking, lots of passenger comfort and convenience features, easy-to-use large control buttons clustered by function, neat standard safety features for parents, and outstanding connectivity for all passengers.

My Traverse was EPA rated for 18 mpg city/27 highway/21 combined. After lots of highway driving, my combined average was 20.7 mpg.

With $945 added to the $41,150 base price, my attractive family-friendly Traverse LT delivered for $42,095.

The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at emmajayne1948@gmail.com.