Chevrolet’s Traverse midsize SUV is fully redesigned for 2018. Along with its new look comes extra power, less weight and more interior space.
The new Traverse has three rows of seats, with best-in-class third row legroom. Second row legroom has been increased by 3 inches over the previous model, and seating for up to eight passengers is available.
Creating more room for passengers wasn’t achieved by skimping on cargo space. The maximum available is 98.5 cubic feet. All told, the 2018 Traverse has class-leading interior volume.
A new split-folding second row seat enhances Traverse’s original Smart Slide feature. The curbside seat can be tipped up and slid forward, even with a forward-facing child seat in place, providing easy access to the third row.
USB charging points are available for passengers in all three rows. Wireless charging and steering wheel-mounted phone and audio controls are optional, depending on trim level. Chevy’s rear seat reminder feature is standard on all models, alerting drivers to check the rear seat when getting out of the vehicle so they don’t overlook a child or pet back there. This is one of the best and worst features ever. Best because it could save lives, worst because it’s even thought to be necessary.
There are seven trim levels for the 2018 Traverse: L, LS, LT Cloth, LT Leather, RS, Premier and High Country. My tester was the LT Leather model with front wheel drive (all-wheel drive is optional). In addition to the many standard features of the trims downstream from it, the LT Leather has navigation in the MyLink telematics and infotainment system; 20-inch wheels; a stupendous 10-speaker Bose audio system; Surround Vision with rear camera mirror; and Convenience and Driver Confidence packages offering a multitude of comfort, utility and safety equipment.
My tester included a panoramic sunroof, a stand-alone option.
A new 3.6-liter V6 engine and nine-speed automatic transmission pair up in the LT Leather, providing 10 percent more horsepower than the previous Traverse, and supporting a towing capacity up to 5,000 pounds. The 310-horsepower V6 propels the Traverse with enthusiasm, and its transmission is perfectly in sync. The city/highway/combined fuel economy ratings are improved to 18/27/21 mpg.
Conditions within the passenger cabin are outstandingly comfortable and quiet, even on uneven pavement and during freeway driving.
A power liftgate is standard on the Traverse LT Leather model, and it includes hands-free operation via a new Chevrolet bowtie logo lamp that illuminates the ground to show drivers where to place a foot to activate the liftgate. The rear cargo area it accesses has a high load floor, something I found tremendously helpful when unloading the 40-pound bags of black oil sunflower seeds I bought to restock Mary’s Wild Bird Food Bank.
My overall impression of the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse in 119 characters: Easily among my top five favorite midsize SUVs. I’d like to try the LT Cloth version because I prefer cloth to leather.
2018 CHEVROLET TRAVERSE LT LEATHER
Base price: $42,095
Price as driven: $43,495
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.