Finally full-size SUV owners don’t have to suffer from driving a minivan.
Unlike smaller CUVs, middle of the pack crossover SUVs and up are burdened with the responsibility of having to pull off the duty of hauling the family, its toys, and still be rugged enough to do some light off roading while remaining polite enough to live most of its life within the city limits. The Chevrolet Traverse has been the Bowtie’s ambassador in this segment for a generation following the phasing out of the TrailBlazer and Uplander, but as a half minivan half SUV, its style made it look as if it had been born aged from the start.
Thankfully, this year’s Detroit Auto Show sees the unveiling of a new minivan/SUV mashup that sheds the cargo shorts and New Balance sneakers dad aesthetic of the previous generation and gains the handsome looks of the GMC Acadia. Rather than sticking to the rounded crossover look, the new Traverse dons bold lines and a variation of Chevy’s split grille that made itself known on the 7th generation Malibu, which dominates the front end. Flat-topped headlights make the Traverse look determined while a boxier body means that it can no longer be mistaken for traditionally more rounded Buicks. Despite sharing the Acadia’s architecture, the new Traverse is larger than its predecessor, unlike the GMC.
Wheelbase is up by two inches over the outgoing model and that extra space translates to more cargo and a more spacious passenger compartment. Two trim lines, the RS line for those with sporty tastes and a High Country package with ultimate luxury amenities, will be available upon debut which will occur in the latter part of 2017. The High Country line will feature an advanced all-wheel drive system that uses dual-clutch technology to get the most traction out of any road surface. The base engine will be GM’s proven 3.6-liter V6 that will be routed through a nine-speed automatic transmission that’s more efficient than the previous generation but enables up to 5,000 pounds of towing.
Ironically enough, the sportier RS line will feature a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that has more torque than its V6 brethren. Both engines reserve the ability (when optioned so) to disconnect the rear wheels from the engine’s supply of power in order to save fuel. As a family carrier, ease of use is important for the Traverse, as is safety. This is especially true with the segment growing larger (looking at you Volkswagen Atlas). As such, Chevy fitted it with USB charging ports, a bowtie light that shines at the rear to tell owners where to kick to engage the automatic tailgate, and driver aids like surround vision, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, front pedestrian braking, forward collision alert, and low and high-speed forward auto braking.
If the Traverse is anything like the Acadia, expect superb storage capacity, decent fuel economy, plenty of comfort, and GM’s full barrage of MyLink features that can be accessed using the 7” and 8” infotainment screens.