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2018 Chevrolet Traverse Overview
The Chevrolet Traverse gets a significant overhaul for 2018. To stay in competition with similar three-row crossovers, the Traverse grows in size and receives notable styling tweaks for a more truck-like exterior and upscale interior. In addition to the L, LS, LT, and Premier trims , three new trims for 2018 include the sporty RS with its own engine and aggressive-looking front fascia, the Redline with special black and red trimming, and the range-topping High Country. Underpinning the redesigned Traverse is GM’s new C1XX platform, which it shares with the Cadillac XT5, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave.
Under the hood, the 2018 Traverse gets a power boost for its 3.6-liter 6-cylinder engine for a total of 305 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The 6-cylinder is mated to a new 9-speed automatic transmission currently making its way across the GM range. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard, while all-wheel drive (AWD) remains a popular option. A stop/start system is now included, and the Traverse should manage fuel-economy figures of 18 mpg city and 27 highway with FWD. The 2018 model is said to be 362 pounds lighter than the previous version, with a towing capacity of about 5,000 pounds, and a 0 to 60 mph time of under 7 seconds—fairly quick for a vehicle of this size.
Steering is by variable electric power assist, and Traverses get a new Traction Mode Select system that alters throttle and transmission settings with the ability to disconnect from the rear axle on AWD models in applicable driving conditions. Other performance features include MacPherson struts up front, a multi-link suspension in the rear, and hollow stabilizer bars.
The new Traverse RS is an unusual choice from GM. It has its own turbocharged 2.0-liter Ecotec 4-cylinder engine, coupled with the same 9-speed automatic transmission for an output of 255 hp and 295 lb-ft. With a smaller motor, one would expect better fuel economy over the standard version, but the RS trim will only manage 20 mpg city and 26 highway. Chevy does, however, claim that the RS offers a more driver-focused feel when it comes to ride and handling.
The Traverse High Country trim features a special advanced AWD system, premium materials and technology, and unique exterior features like a chrome grille, roof rails, and polished wheels. Even the lower trims, however, get USB outlets, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities, a 7-inch infotainment screen, and available wireless phone charging and Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity. The Redline trim adds exterior upgrades, like black bowties and roof rails, bigger 20-inch high-gloss black wheels, and black and red badging.
As for space, the new Traverse offers even more room for passengers and cargo, with plenty of storage bins and cubbies for loose odds and ends. With all seats upright, the trunk has 23 cubic feet of room. Folding the third row brings this to 58.1 cubic feet, and folding the second row gives a total of 98.5 cubic feet of space. Additionally, the split-folding second row slides forwards and backwards for easier third-row access. Chevrolet makes the hands-free automatic liftgate even easier to use with the addition of a new bowtie-shaped lamp feature that illuminates the spot on the ground where drivers will need to swipe a foot to activate the liftgate’s motion sensor.
For safety features, the Traverse can be equipped with a surround-view camera, active lane control, and forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking. The Traverse also comes with Chevrolet’s Teen Driver feature, which debuted on the 2016 Malibu, and has since expanded to several other models. Teen Driver encourages safe driving habits for younger drivers by muting the stereo until seat belts are buckled, allowing parents to pre-set the speed and maximum stereo volume, and preventing the disabling of active safety features.
Christian Wardlaw has nearly two decades of experience reviewing cars, and has served in editorial leadership roles with Edmunds, Autobytel, and J.D. Power and Associates. Chris prefers to focus on the cars people actually buy rather than the cars about which people dream, and emphasizes the importance of fuel economy and safety as much as how much fun a car is to drive. Chris is married to an automotive journalist, is the father of four daughters, and lives in Southern California.
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2018 Chevrolet Traverse Top Comparisons
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