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2018 Chevrolet Traverse AWD First Test: Adventure Seeker

So you and your better half pile into your threadbare minivan for what you’ve been promising each other would be the last time and head out to go three-row SUV shopping. Like seemingly everyone else looking to trade in their minivan, you’ve convinced yourselves that Old Faithful’s low ground clearance and front-drive have deprived your family of the outdoorsy adventures they’ve been craving for entirely long enough, goldangit. It’s high time you treated the brood to a burly two-box safarimobile. Your motor mall itinerary is all planned out: First stop is at the VW store to check out their husky new entry, the Atlas; then you’ll make a due-diligence stop at Toyota (but isn’t the Highlander kinda boring and a bit long in the tooth?); and then you’ll sharpen your negotiating skills at the Honda emporium because #ResaleValue! All of a sudden the silent majority in the passenger seat points to a row of big new Chevy Traverses. “Should we take a look?”

Indeed you ought to. The homely caterpillar first-gen Traverse has pupated into a downright astonishing piece of work, shucking its doughy suspenders and 300-plus kilos of floor-hugging weight even as growing barely larger inside the procedure to come to be pretty attractive and spacious. It?Ll offer about the nearest in shape for your minivan that any 3-row crossover can offer in phrases of space. Relative to that Honda you were subconsciously setting out to buy, the third-row seat offers 2.6 cubic feet greater space, and its cargo space trumps the Honda?S through 14 cubic feet (a whole sedan trunk?S well worth) with all seats folded?And by way of eleven.3 and six.5 cubes at the back of the second and 1/3 rows. The Toyota is even smaller than the Honda, and even that Vee-dub newcomer trails barely within the cubic-foot race (however it?S inside 3 cubes in all interior dimensions).

Of course, as a reader of this page you?Ll be even extra heartened to learn of the Traverse?S newfound athleticism. Compounding the aforementioned 300-plus pound weight reduction is an 8 percentage bump in electricity (to 310 hp) and a chief transmission upgrade from six to nine ratios. These without a doubt enliven the Chevy?S acceleration. The all-important 0-60-mph expressway merge time drops a full second to six.7, and the vacation-crucial forty five-sixty five-mph ?Are we able to bypass that gradual trailer? Time drops from 4.Zero to three.4 seconds. The much less germane but greater telling zone-mile stats improve from 16.Zero seconds at 86.9 mph to 15.2 at 90.6. Some context: The lighter Pilot is a half-2nd faster to 60 mph but handiest a 10th quicker in passing; the an awful lot lighter Highlander six-pace is slower to 60 and in passing; and the larger and heavier 8-speed Atlas trails by 1.1 2nd to 60 mph and by 0.7 second in passing. (Your minivan in all likelihood weighs less, but the Traverse outruns each cutting-edge-gen minivan we?Ve examined besides the lightest, stripper Pacifica Touring.) Perhaps even greater essential than the numbers is the reality that nearly every editor who drove the Traverse found praise for its decisive nine-pace transmission, which by no means seems to seek for gears or get pressured with abrupt adjustments in throttle function?Something we are able to?T always say for lots different nine-speeds.

The other thing that really impressed most evaluators was its comparatively smooth ride. Among three-row crossovers, about the only one with a cushier ride is sister-brand Buick’s Enclave with the optional upgraded shock absorbers. The Traverse absorbs tilted freeway slabs, Belgian blocks, and gravel road inputs with remarkable suppleness and negligible floating. It will also carve a twisty road more quickly than expected and with far less body roll than one expects from this class—certainly less than your taller minivan delivers (but note that if sporty handling is your jam, the smaller Mazda CX-9 is probably the rig for you). Please don’t attempt to demonstrate the Traverse’s lateral-g competence with all the seats full—Chevy doesn’t offer an onboard wet/dry vacuum to suck up the lost lunches.

We?D like to offer difficult-nosed objective comparisons towards competitive crossovers in the managing and braking regions, but a aggregate of intense temperatures and check-floor pavement that hadn?T completely cured make direct A-B comparisons hard with whatever however the Atlas, which became examined at kind of the identical time, and its numbers are very comparable. Against the minivans, however, best the Pacifica?S numbers eclipse the compromised Traverse stats, so it?S safe to say in ideal situations this Chevy will slay the vans on a gymkhana course.

Oh, and because you?Re promising your self you?Ll boldly go in which your minivan couldn?T, we also went off-roading inside the Traverse. It acquitted itself very well certainly on free sand, deep silt, rutted gravel, and a tall hill. We hate the 2WD/AWD/Off-street/Tow-mode rotary transfer (it?S poorly positioned out of sight in the front of the middle armrest, the backlit icons are hard to look in daylight, and it?S sluggish to react) and we?Re concerned that the shortage of an automobile-AWD mode would possibly get a few people caught before they interact AWD. But when properly configured, the Traverse solid beforehand via conditions way more difficult than we reckon you?Ll ever attempt.

Bottom line: Three teenagers in the third row will desire you may have withstood the social stigma of some other minivan due to the fact there?S no changing the comfort of a minivan?S chair-excessive seating in any crossover (though the Atlas comes nearer). Despite its exceptional-in-magnificence shipment area, at the least 10 cubic feet?S worth of what currently suits in the back of all of the seats in your minivan goes to need to live domestic or experience on top of the Traverse, and this can boom its gasoline economy penalty relative to minivans (the Chevy?S EPA mixed score trails that of the Odyssey, Pacifica, and the front-drive Sienna by 1-2 mpg). But you'll certainly enjoy riding it extra than you do the van, and it's going to effectively take you farther off the beaten course. Start making plans that journey on the way domestic from the motor mall.

Because the test surface we used for this assessment is an insignificant month antique (and nevertheless curing), our braking and handling outcomes display longer stopping distances and much less grip than we usually report and report. With that in mind, this car?S numbers are not always similar with preceding or destiny take a look at effects.

The post 2018 Chevrolet Traverse AWD First Test: Adventure Seeker appeared first on Motor Trend.

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