The market for three-row crossovers has exploded over the last decade, and the mid-sized segment is definitely the hottest. One of the newest offerings in this class is the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse, which goes head-to-head with rivals like the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer and Dodge Durango. With this class focusing on being as family friendly as possible, I recently headed out on a road trip with my 5-year-old daughter to see how the second-generation Traverse stacks up.
2018 Chevrolet Traverse Exterior
As mid-size crossovers have increased in popularity, many automakers have gotten a little more adventurous with their designs, and Chevrolet is no different. The overall styling of the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse has a more cohesive look with the rest of the Chevy brand image starting with the narrow headlights and split grille. The back end is equally stylish with LED-trimmed taillights separated by a chrome strip, and this trim level added dual integrated exhaust outlets. The Premier comes with 20-inch wheels and this tester was finished in Chevy’s Cajun Red Tintcoat paint (a $395 option, but my favorite part of this new crossover is its integrated running boards. Unlike the side steps of other crossovers, the Traverse’s factory steps sit flush with the body on each side while providing a great step when the doors are open.
2018 Chevrolet Traverse Interior
As many improvements that Chevrolet made to the new Traverse, the interior is where most of these are obvious. From a design standpoint, the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse has an interior that blends the look and feel of the larger Tahoe with a more accommodating setup conducive from crossovers and minivans. The Premier trim level gets upgrades such as perforated leather seats with heated and ventilated front seats, wireless charging for devices, power tilt and telescopic steering column, a heated steering wheel, tri-zone automatic climate control and hands-free power rear liftgate.
Proving how ready this crossover is for a family adventure, the Traverse comes with six USB ports (two in each row), 10 cup holders and plenty of space regardless of where you’re sitting. The Premier trim level comes standard with heated second-row captain’s chairs and a seven-passenger configuration, and this tester added to the rear passenger experience with the $1,400 dual panel “Skyscape” sunroof. Finally, to prevent your little ones from making a giant mess in the Traverse, check out the $250 Interior Protection Package, which includes all-weather floor mats for all three rows and one for the cargo area. That’s definitely a great deal when you start shopping aftermarket companies.
The three-row cabin seats up to eight passengers, and the third row has no problem accommodating adult passengers; even better, the smart slide second row seat means that you don’t have to practice yoga or know gymnastics to make it to the rear-most seats. When cargo capability becomes more important than passenger space, the Traverse can pack 58.1 cubic feet of cargo behind the second-row seats and the cavernous space with both rear rows folded flat accommodates 98.2 cubic feet – almost 4 cubic feet more than a full-size Chevrolet Tahoe! When you pack the Traverse full of passengers or cargo, GM’s innovative rear camera mirror comes in especially handy offering a clear view behind the vehicle with no obstructions.
2018 Chevrolet Traverse Powertrain
The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse is available with two engines. The new RS trim uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, while the other trims (including this Premier) use the 3.6-liter direct-injected V-6. This engine produces 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, and it mates to a nine-speed automatic transmission. On this AWD tester, the Traverse has EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway**, which proved to be easy to hit during this road trip that averaged an impressive 23.5 mpg. The Traverse gives new meaning to a one-tank trip with the AWD model having a 21.7-gallon fuel tank, and that meant we still had an eighth of a tank left after driving 458 miles!
Crossovers have become popular as much for their interior space as for their ride quality, and the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse is definitely one of the smoothest riding CUVs in this three-row segment. The chassis and suspension are setup for your typical family road trip, but even the average washboard road won’t going to throw off the Traverse’s driving dynamic. The most surprising part about driving the Traverse is how maneuverable it is in tight spaces. The steering gives an urban-friendly turning radius, which also proves beneficial in parallel parking.
2018 Chevrolet Traverse Safety
If you build a vehicle for families, it had better be safe, and the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse is just that. Although it has yet to be fully tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Traverse has earned a five-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
2018 Chevrolet Traverse Overall
Whether you’re downsizing from a Tahoe, upgrading from a minivan or just looking for a perfect all-around family-friendly vehicle, the 2018 Traverse is a great choice. It packs a stylish design with a roomy, tech-filled interior, and it is great value for the segment. The redesigned Traverse is priced starting at $29,930*, but there are many options with six available trim levels. This particular Traverse Premier wasn’t even the highest trim level, but it still proved to be quite pricey with an as-tested price of $50,340. You’re getting a lot of vehicle (not to mention technology and luxury) for that price, but that’s nipping at the heels of the closely related Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Chevrolet dealership and test drive the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2018 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.