Chevrolet just put the rugged Jeep Grand Cherokee, restyled Toyota Highlander, clever Honda Pilot, and sporty Ford Explorer all on notice, when it introduced the all-new 2018 Traverse to throngs of media onlookers at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. Sporting “bold and refined styling,” the completely re-engineered Traverse aims to offer enough technology, space, and safety to keep passengers of all ages and lifestyles comfortable, connected, and care-free.
This marks the fourth updated crossover or SUV from Chevrolet within a year, and Alan Batey, president of GM North America and global brand chief, is quick to explain why. “Nobody in the industry offers a broader, fresher lineup of SUVs and crossovers than Chevrolet,” he says. “From the all-electric Bolt EV to America’s longest-running nameplate, Suburban, we’ve got something for every customer and lifestyle.”
The 2018 Traverse takes a fresh approach to external design, incorporating new chrome touches, LED lighting, and available D-Optic LED headlamps into the sharply sculpted exterior. There will also be two new trim levels added to the Traverse stable with this generation: a sportier RS model with blacked-out accents and 20-inch alloys, and a loaded High Country version for more of a personalized approach to appearance and luxury.
While the RS model also sports a unique powertrain, the High Country trim will focus more on premium content and technology. Featuring unique “Loft Brown” leather touches, suede accents, 20-inch polished wheels, exclusive badging, D-Optic headlamps, a twin-clutch all-wheel drive system, and power-folding third row seats, “The all-new Traverse blends Chevrolet’s characteristic SUV cues with capability and refinement,” says John Cafaro, executive director of global design for Chevrolet. “Inside and out, it offers style with a purpose.”
A new 3.6-liter V6 has been attached to a nine-speed automatic transmission, allowing nearly 10% more horsepower over the outgoing model and an estimated 25 MPG highway in front-wheel drive models. Supporting an estimated 5,000-pound trailering capacity once properly equipped, the Traverse receives a revised Traction Mode Select system as standard equipment on all models, which allows real-time adjustments for varying road conditions.
Available AWD models allow the system to be completely disconnected from the rear axle for further fuel efficiency and ride quality gains. High Country models will feature an exclusive “Advanced AWD” system that relies on a twin-clutch design for traction in even the worst conditions, while RS models will receive an exclusive turbocharged 2.0-liter motor that has more torque than the V6. Both engines are set to feature the latest in intelligent stop/start technology, where computers determine the best times for cutting power, based on a wide array of factors.
With seating for eight and a longer wheelbase than the current version, the 2018 model has carved out quite the niche for itself in regard to capacity and cabin space, with third-row legroom slated to be the most spacious in the segment at 33.7 inches. The new Traverse has also targeted both best-in-class passenger volume as well as max cargo room with 98.5 cubic feet of space, and with large storage bins and cubbies at every angle, convenience and versatility are the name of the game.
Another neat feature on the new Traverse is its Chevrolet bowtie logo lamp which illuminates where drivers need to place a foot in order to activate the available hands-free power liftgate. There is also a new split-folding second-row seat that improves on the old Smart Slide feature, allowing the curbside seat to tip up and slide forward, even with a forward-facing child seat in place, in order to provide easy access to the third row.
Tech-wise, Chevrolet’s latest connectivity technologies start with either an available 7- or 8-inch MyLink infotainment system, which has been designed around Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and supports full 4G LTE Wi-Fi. Outside of being able to support up to seven wireless devices, passengers in the new Traverse will also now have access to USB charging ports in all three rows, with available wireless charging and steering wheel-mounted phone and audio controls allowing even more worry-free electronic control.
Chevrolet’s useful Rear Seat Reminder feature also will come standard on all trim levels, so forgetting your groceries in the backseat will continue to be a thing of the past. But convenience and clever connectivity is just one side of the technological coin nowadays, and GM has installed a series of available safety suites and adaptive crash-protection features on the 2018 Traverse as well.
A few of the top tech safety features you’ll find are Surround Vision cameras, D-Optic LED headlamps (standard on High Country and Premier trims), lane keep assist and departure warnings, and front pedestrian braking. Buyers also get forward collision alerts, and low- and high-speed automatic braking, while GM’s signature Teen Driver program comes standard. This last system allows parents to set speed controls and fencing perimeters, and can remotely review driver performance in order to help encourage better habits behind the wheel, even when they are not in the vehicle.
While it will be more than half a year before buyers can get a hold of the latest version of the Chevy Traverse, Alan Batey leaves us with these encouraging thoughts: “The all-new Traverse offers the ultimate in style and convenience for the segment, with the versatility customers need and a thoughtful, spacious design they’ll love. It’s the midsize SUV designed to help keep you safe, comfortable, and connected.”