Reviews 2018 Chevrolet Traverse RS First Test: Dude, Where’s My V-6?
2018 Chevrolet Traverse First Drive Review: Staycation
Chevy loans us a vacation-mobile; we use it for workTrust me, despite having grown in every exterior dimension—the largest being a 2.0-inch wheelbase stretch—the most noticeable dimension change from behind the wheel is curb weight. Depending on the model, this big boy has dropped something near 350 pounds. Compounding that roughly 7 percent weight loss is an 8 percent power gain and a 13 percent improvement in first-gear "leverage." Tally that all up, and this thing felt at least a size class smaller every time a traffic light turned green and I floored it. Chevy is claiming a "sub-7-second" 060 time, which compares well with the 7.
We live in a time when nearly every vehicle type is available with a small turbocharged engine, so it's no surprise to find one in a large three-row crossover. TheRS is the latest addition in a growing number of midsize three-row crossovers that offer a turbocharged four-cylinder, following the , , , and upcoming . This, however, doesn't mean you're stuck with an underpowered CUV. As we found out in the Traverse RS, torque does wonders.
2018 Chevrolet Traverse High Country AWD
GM's latest and greatest family bus.Now GM’s second-generation three-row transporters are here, and they’ve got a much tougher playing field of family SUVs to go up against. The first of these renewed efforts was the GMC Acadia, which shrank considerably compared with its predecessor. In a recent comparison test, it placed mid-pack behind the Mazda CX-9 and the Volkswagen Atlas. So maybe it’s a good thing that the Acadia’s corporate cousin, the new 2018 Chevrolet Traverse, is taking a different approach.
The 2018RS trades for a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 257 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. GM's nine-speed automatic transmission is the only gearbox available. In comparison to the 3.6-liter V-6, the turbo-four is down 53 hp but up 29 lb-ft of torque, the latter of which is more accessible because most of it is available at a low revs. EPA fuel economy ratings are 20/26 mpg city/highway, 2 mpg more on the city but 1 mpg less on the highway versus the V-6-powered front-drive Traverse. In our Real MPG tests, the crossover got 18.7/27.1 mpg city/highway, putting it right in line with its EPA estimates.
At the track, the 2018 Traverse RS completed the 0 to 60 run in 7.1 seconds and the quarter mile in 15.5 seconds at 92.3 mph. This means it is 0.7 second slower to 60 mph and the quarter mile than a V-6-powered front-drive Traverse. Stopping from 60 mph took 121 feet, which is on the shorter side for the segment. Associate road test editor Erick Ayapana found the Traverse RS' turbo-four peppy and said it feels quicker than it actually is. Ayapana also observed some slight dive and the tail end getting wiggly during braking tests.
2018 Chevrolet Traverse AWD First Test: Adventure Seeker
In search of the alpha-dominant minivan replacementRelated Link: Research Chevy's latest models on MSN Autos
The nine-speed automatic shifts quickly and smoothly. Although it likes staying in higher gears, the gearbox isn't stingy with downshifts, willingly dropping a couple cogs to put you right in the engine's powerband for passing or climbing steep inclines. There is turbo lag, but the transmission keeping you near the engine's sweet spot provides an easy workaround. Power delivery, however, isn't as linear as the V-6-powered Traverse because it has a tendency to give you full torque abruptly. The start/stop system works smoothly, but when you're starting off from an incline, it can be a little rough.
For its size, the 2018 Traverse RS is light on its feet. It's no sports car, but it has nimble handling and good body control, making it feel smaller than it actually is. Even with the standard 20-inch alloy wheels, the Traverse RS rides comfortably, isn't very noisy, and, thanks to the tires' tall sidewalls, soaks up road imperfections with ease. The light steering makes maneuvering the crossover easy in tight spaces. It does weight up a little more on the highway. However, it's not very communicative.
Quick Take: 2018 Chevrolet Traverse FWD Premier
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The Traverse RS finished the figure-eight course in 26.8 seconds with an average of 0.64 g. It generated 0.83 g of lateral acceleration on the skidpad. Road test editor Chris Walton was impressed with the Traverse's handling and its ability to stay neutral on the skidpad, but he found that although the steering is precise, it has a slow ratio. The toggle switch for manual shifting isn't intuitive; you have to go to L mode to active it, which means you can't really use it for engine braking or enthusiastic driving. Walton did note that the nine-speed automatic transmission is mostly cooperative, but he had to trick it with a throttle jab to get it to downshift to a lower gear during figure-eight runs.
Inside, the 2018 Traverse has a spacious cabin with comfortable seating for adults, even in the third row. You can slide the second-row captain's chairs forward to give third-row occupants more legroom, which should help make it more comfortable on road trips. There are plenty of cubbies for small items such as mobile devices, water bottles, and wallets. Behind the third row there's 23.0 cubic feet of cargo space, and you've also got more storage under the floor. Fold the 60/40 split-folding third row, and cargo capacity grows to 58.1 cubic feet. If you like going on Ikea shopping sprees, there's 98.2 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded.
2018 Chevrolet Traverse Interior Review: Better Quality, Useful Tech
Chevy’s largest crossover is family-friendly and versatileMost three-row crossovers tend to be less versatile than minivans. They lack the same level of interior flexibility, the third row is usually cramped, and they lose a good amount of cargo capacity when all seats are occupied. However, modern consumers find minivans uncool, so they go for midsize crossovers like the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse. Sure, they might have less interior space, but to the average buyer, the rugged looks are a bigger draw. Fortunately, through some clever packaging, the Traverse offers plenty of space and flexibility for your family to go with those rugged looks.
Plenty of sound insulation minimizes road noise and keeps the cabin quiet. Powertrain noises are minimal, but wind buffeting can get excessive at high speeds due to the Traverse's boxy exterior design. Visibility out of the Traverse is surprisingly good; blind spots are kept to a minimum even with the large C- and D-pillars. Material quality is competitive for the class. The Traverse has plenty of soft-touch surfaces in areas where your arms would fall. There are hard bits at the top part of the dash and the upper portion of the doors panels, but thankfully they're smooth. Other than a trim piece that looks like it wasn't put in properly and some loose sound deadening material in the driver's door, our tester had consistent build quality and minimal rattles and squeaks.
Chevrolet's user-friendly MyLink interface features a quick-responding 8.0-inch touchscreen that works similar to a smartphone or tablet. Nothing is buried deep within multiple menus, and important functions are within easy reach. The Traverse comes with up to seven USB ports, so there's no reason for your mobile devices to die. Complementing the solid multimedia system is a 10-speaker Bose audio system that plays all music genres with minimal distortion. However, it still lags behind in terms of clarity and crispness when compared to the Harman-branded systems used in rivals from, , , and .
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Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard on all variants of the 2018 Traverse, so you can let your smartphone take over multimedia duties. With the latter now fully integrating Google Assistant, you can use voice commands for all multimedia functions. There's a wide range of media apps available via Android Auto, and Waze has been integrated cleanly, so you don't have to open your phone to see your route and real-time traffic updates. Like all integrations of Android Auto, there's no way to see your contact list or music libraries in media apps.
In addition to the 2.0-liter turbo-four, the Traverse RS gets black Bow Tie badges, window trim, grille accents, and roof rails—it's an appearance package with a different engine, not a performance variant. The RS has less towing capacity at 1,500 pounds, which is 3,500 pounds less than the V-6-powered Traverse. Standard features include a 360-degree camera view, HID headlights, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power liftgate, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and keyless entry and start. You'd have to move to the Premier trim if you want additional active driver assists and creature comforts such as ventilated front seats, automatic emergency braking, and forward collision warning.
At $43,595 as tested, our Traverse RS is a solid entry in the midsize three-row crossover segment. Opting for the turbo-four, however, means less towing capacity and no all-wheel-drive option, a possible deal breaker for consumers in four-season states. If you don't need all-wheel drive and don't tow, the RS trim might work for you—unless you want more features or an interior color that isn't black. The crossover has plenty of space for seven with cargo capacity to spare, there's plenty of power on tap, and it's easy to drive despite its size, making the Traverse RS an ideal family hauler.
First Drive: 2018 Chevrolet Traverse High Country and RS
For Further Reading
|2018 Chevrolet Traverse RS|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$43,595|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, FWD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV|
|ENGINE||2.0L/257-hp/295-lb-ft* turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||4,305 lb (57/43%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||204.3 x 78.6 x 71.7 in|
|0-60 MPH||7.1 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||15.5 sec @ 92.3 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||121 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.83 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.8 sec @ 0.64 g (avg)|
|REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB||18.7/27.1/21.8 mpg|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||20/26/22 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||169/130 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.87 lb/mile|
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If You Want a Chevrolet Bolt, You Should Get One This Year .
The federal tax credit running out"Our forecast will put us probably third quarter," Steve Majoros, Chevrolet's head of cars and crossovers, recently told reporters. "So if you were to run down the walk-down, that would give us the third and fourth quarter of this year at the full tax credit." That's because, as Majoros pointed out, the tax credit only gets cut two quarters after an automaker crosses that 200,000-unit threshold. "As you know, the wind-down is 50 percent [in the] first two quarters of next year, and then 25 percent in the last two. So it's a six-quarter draw-down. That's kind of where we stand right now," he said.
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