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First Look: 2018 Chevrolet Traverse

First Look: 2018 Chevrolet Traverse

After an extended stay on the market for the first generation, Chevrolet has finally given the Traverse a total redesign. Bowing here at the Detroit Auto Show, the Traverse is bigger, looks better and certainly more modern.

At first glance the Traverse immediately looks better than its predecessor. The spaceship/minivan look of the old one has been swapped out with a more SUV-like appearance. The new look is certainly more appealing, but it’s also strategic on Chevrolet’s part. Chevy knows buyers like SUVs and they’ve also seen the success of competitors such as the Ford Explorer, which are more SUV than minivan.

The squared proportions look better in person than in photos. Traverse features small design details, particularly on the side panels and rear fascia that are best enjoyed in person. Think of the 2018 Equinox and stretch it.

Where the exterior really differentiates from other crossovers is on the Traverse RS. The RS blacks out all of the exterior bright work and comes exclusively with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. While the RS is going to struggle to keep up with the Explorer Sport’s EcoBoost V-6, it at least offers a visual parity to it.

As a family vehicle, it goes without saying that the interior is the critical zone here. Despite its look, people loved the old Traverse for the fact it was huge. Huge it was, but it also had rather poor packaging with low seats and inefficient use of the rear half of the cabin.

GM has learned a lot since engineering the last Traverse. Sitting in the new one you immediately realize that the Traverse has grown up in space utilization.

Every seat from front to third row feels more spacious than the outgoing model, which Chevy says an adult can comfortably fit in all seats. The low-flung second row seats have been swapped out with more appropriate versions, while legroom is more ample in every row. Chevy is actually claiming the largest third row seat in the business

Those who have sat in the 2017 GMC Acadia will feel familiarity here, because the Traverse is riding on an extended version of the Acadia’s Chi platform.

Interior appointments have also been improved this time around. Material quality on the high-end show at interiors are mostly soft-touch with faux suede accents on the door panels. Some of the door panel trim is still hard plastic, but it isn’t out of line from competitors.

What is a problem in the interior is the manual sunshade on the dual-panel sunroof. Like the Acadia, it’s cheap looking and inconvenient.

Traverse buyers will continue to utilize GM’s 3.6-liter V-6, only with 305 horsepower and supposedly up to 25 mpg highway. The increase in fuel economy is at least in part attributed to a new 9-speed automatic transmission that should alleviate problems folks had with the 6-speed onctoday’s Traverse.

Of course every modern technology feature imaginable is going to be offered on the new Traverse. Finally things like adaptive cruise control and a surround view camera are checkable boxes on Traverse. High-end buyers can also load it up with a new Traverse High Country model

At first glance, the new Traverse appears to check all the right boxes to be the next big hit in big crossovers. The only thing left to see is if it can compete with the brand recognition of competitors such as the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander.

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About Nick Saporito

AutoVerdict Senior Editor Nick Saporito began writing about cars at age 13. Nick ran a couple of automotive enthusiast sites for several years, before taking some time off to focus on his career and education. By day he's a marketing executive in the telecom world and by night he hangs out here at AV. You'll find him focusing on tech, design and the industry's future.
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