2018 Chevrolet Traverse Review


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2018 Chevrolet Traverse Overview

The Chevrolet Traverse has been due for an update for some time now, and it finally gets one for 2018. To stay in competition with other 3-row vehicles like the Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-9, Buick Enclave, and Ford Explorer, this crossover grows in size and receives significant styling tweaks for a more truck-like appearance and upscale interior. In addition to the L, LS, LT, and Premier trims that carry over from last year, three new trims have been added for 2018: 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. The 2018 model should arrive at dealerships sometime this summer.

Under the hood, the 2018 Traverse gets a power boost for its 3.6-liter V6 engine for a total of 305 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The V6 is mated to the 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 also now included, and the Traverse should manage fuel-economy figures of 18 mpg city and 25 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 time of under 7 seconds with the V6—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 and can disconnect from the rear axle on AWD models, depending on driving conditions. Other performance features include MacPherson struts up front, a multilink 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, mated to 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 23 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 mainly 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 Traverse’s hands-free automatic liftgate even easier to use with the addition a new bowtie-shaped lamp feature, which illuminates the spot on the ground where drivers will need to swipe a foot to activate the liftgate’s motion sensor.

The 2018 Traverse hasn’t been crash tested yet by the usual authorities, but the related 2017 GMC Acadia received Top Safety Pick status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which is encouraging. As 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 seatbelts are buckled, allowing parents to pre-set the speed and maximum stereo volume, and preventing the disabling of active safety features.


Andrew Newton first got into cars through vintage racing a Formula Vee. After receiving history degrees, he followed his passion for cars and became a contributor for sites like Sports Car Digest, BoldRide.com and JamesEdition.com in addition to serving as Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA. Andrew currently covers the collector car market full time as Auction Editor for Hagerty Classic Car Insurance.

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