By on July 3, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Image: GMOverall auto sales are falling in the United States, but utility vehicle sales are not. This explains, in part, why average transaction prices are routinely rising to record levels — June 2017 ATPs were up 1.5 percent year-over-year, for example.

And what better way to take advantage of the American consumer’s willingness to pay more for a new family vehicle than with a new top-spec trim level. For the second-generation 2018 Chevrolet Traverse, that variant is called the High Country.

The High in High Country could represent one of two things. Either you need to be high to pay $52,995 for a Chevrolet Traverse or — and it could be the latter — the elevation of this Country is so High you’re about to suffer altitude sickness.

Perhaps there’s a third option. It could be an outstanding value.

The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse High Country, including destination, will require a jump of $4,700 from the next-most-expensive Traverse, the Premier AWD, CarsDirect has learned.

That places the base price for the Traverse High Country, which includes all-wheel drive as standard equipment, more than $4,600 beyond the (now smaller) GMC Acadia Denali AWD and only $3,695 less than the new Buick Enclave Avenir AWD.

It’s also 10-percent more costly than the Traverse Premier AWD, 18-percent more than the current top-spec 2017 Traverse, and 72-percent more than a basic 2018 Traverse.

2018 Chevrolet Traverse High Country interior - Image: GMThere’s no shortage of perks. The third row is power-folding; the tailgate is power-operated. There’s brown leather, 20-inch wheels, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a panoramic roof, automatic braking with collision avoidance.

The Traverse High Country also features GM’s twin-clutch AWD system, which can distribute all of the 3.6-liter V6’s 310 horsepower to the front or rear axle without a differential. That AWD system isn’t available on lesser Traverses, though whether consumers recognize the difference from one AWD system to another isn’t fully known.

High Country is a trim level GM introduced on the Silverado in 2013, but it hardly carries the cachet or awareness of, say, GMC’s Denali sub-brand. Nevertheless, GM has rolled the Traverse up into very premium territory with the High Country badge.

The Lexus RX, which will offer a third-row variant next year, currently starts at $45,415 with AWD and is America’s top-selling premium brand utility vehicle. AWD-equipped Acura MDXs start at $47,025; AWD Infiniti QX60s base at $45,895.

The 2017 Chevrolet Suburban 4×4, admittedly in base trim, is priced from $54,210.

[Image: General Motors]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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64 Comments on “2018 Chevrolet Traverse High Country Priced at Eye-watering $52,995, 18-Percent More Than Top-spec 2017 Traverse...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    $52,9K, for a minivan.

    Are you not entertained?

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    To be fair, the old Traverse also wasn’t very nice. By 2014, it was the only one of GM’s consumer vehicles not to sit on the Global A electronics architecture (which started in the ‘States with the 2010 Equinox, Camaro, LaCrosse, Terrain and SRX)…and so it had extremely-dated interfaces and lazily-updated 2007-era styling. This new one is a lot nicer.

    And think about it. The asking price—I have no idea whether or not people actually pay that much—for a decently-equipped Tahoe is going to be north of $50K. You could get that…or, if you don’t need to tow but have a big family, you can get this Traverse, which comes with more interior volume, superior space utilization, a superior AWD / 4WD system for most people…and comes loaded. GM knows exactly what it’s doing.

    Besides, it’s not uncommon these days to see top versions of non-premium-branded vehicles equipping the prices of luxury models. This does mean that a top-spec Buick Enclave Avenir will probably be somewhere near base Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class territory.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I still remember when they were selling the old traverse at $19,995. I’d rather have 2.5 of those than this vehicle. But I guess at the next 20% off sale they come closer to some sort of reality.

  • avatar
    Rocket

    At that price, Chevy should have addressed what’s under the hood. The twin turbo 3.6L V6 would do nicely. Heck, it might even get me into the showroom.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      The Chevrolet Traverse High Country SS with 400hp!

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Throwback to 2006. SS the everything!

      • 0 avatar
        VFTinc2

        Yeah! They should redo the RS trim and give it the 3.0L LGX Twin Turbo V6 with 370 horsepower and AWD, as well as make that engine available for the High Country trim as the top of the line engine. Another thing they should do is add a Diesel option for the Premier and High Country trims. As for that 2.0 LTG Turbo I4, they should put that engine in a brand new trim called the Eco trim with FWD and other things that help improve all-around fuel economy. Now that I think about it, they should have a trim hotter than the RS called the Traverse SS with the 3.6L LF4 Twin Turbo V6 with 420 horsepower and AWD. It could be just like how the GTI and Golf-R is to the Golf.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Yea, I agree. This is about what the Explorer Platinum costs, but the Ford comes with the 3.5EB as standard and this Traverse uses the same V6 across the line. A ~390hp transverse 3.6T out of the XTS would be a nice touch here.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      That 3.6TT LF3 is a good engine. Mine in a Vsport is seeing around 550 lb-ft of torque and would to see that in the rest of GM line up. But if it hasn’t been offered in a Cadillac SUV it won’t be offered in a Chevy.

  • avatar
    turbosasquatch

    I like it, I think it’s a handsome auto but I’m not sure it’s $53k handsome. What do Platinum Explorers retail for? If it’s the same, I’d rather have the chevy

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Only $2000 more than a comparably equipped Durango R/T, but with no Hemi. Fail.

  • avatar

    This makes perfect sense. The Acadia, previously the “fully loaded non-lux” option, shrunk. GM intentionally put the two models in different classes in order to suit their markets. The Acadia stays premium but goes smaller to fight the RX and such, while the Traverse stays mammoth and adds on what was essentially the Acadia trim before.

    • 0 avatar
      Rocket

      But Chevy is rumored to be adding a model between the now-smaller Equinox and now-larger Traverse. In other words, they’ll have their own Acadia. When Cadillac launches their compact and 3-row crossovers, they’ll be back to having at least three models in every segment.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        The new Acadia is an extended-midsized vehicle. The wheelbase is no longer than a normal five-passenger mid-sized car, but some length has been added to the rear to accommodate a decent third row.

        The Traverse and Enclave are longer-wheelbase versions of that, making them truly full-sized.

        Now that the Equinox has shrunk to become a truly-compact vehicle, I predict that the upcoming Chevy will just be a mid-sized, 5-passenger vehicle, about the size of the Murano, Edge and Santa Fe, and without a third row…fitting neatly between the Equinox and the Traverse. Actually, now that someone’s mentioned it, it would pretty much be the size of the XT5.

        • 0 avatar
          Rocket

          It’s not extended by much. The Acadia is only 4″ longer than its XT5 platform-mate. Whether offered with 2-rows, 3-rows or both, expect it to fall somewhere in the 189″ to 194″ range, nicely splitting the difference between the Equinox and Traverse.

    • 0 avatar
      AVT

      Where does this leave the Enclave though. Suddenly I feel like theres no point to it with the high Country traverse as an option. Especially since they are on the same platform and same size unlike the new Acadia.

      • 0 avatar
        Rocket

        I think Chevy’s thinking is that with GMC vacating their former space between the Traverse and the Enclave in GM’s LWB 3-row hierarchy, there’s room to dress up the Traverse with less fear of cannibalization. Of course, the Avenir trim pushes the Enclave up-market, too, likely enough to overlap with the Cadillac XT7.

      • 0 avatar

        Finally, GM is allowing Chevrolet to maneuver in the market the way Ford has done for decades. If it renders GMC and Buick redundant (as Ford eventually rendered Mercury redundant) and puts both on the chopping block, so be it.

        There are only a handful of mass-market all things to most people brands. Chevy is one of them.

        If only they’d ditch the “Real People” Tier-2 style Tier-1 advertising, that too would be a very good thing.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    20% off sale in 3…2…1….

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Welcome to the joys of being a domestic brand. Very few pay retail, as discounts are expected, so they have to overprice them a bit. The automotive rags only compare list price when comparing to the competition.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Wait a year and get $8k-$10k off.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Funny, 8 to 9 years later people are still waiting for those 50% of G8s. High mileage examples are finally there – clean ones – nope and GXPs forget it.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        This and Hummers are an anomaly. I wish I could explain it, I suppose its high demand… but why I can’t fathom?

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          The G8 and Hummers mostly had GM pushrod V8s and their main competition were various slap-dash ChryslerCo products (or high buck stuff from the Germans / Toyota).

          They were also both unique products catering to a lightly served niches. This High Country trim is just a not-a-van with some extra frosting, basically every brand offers that these days.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    So, they think, if you splash bunch of diarrhea around interior, it will be something special? Looking at this interior, minimum I can tell, bad taste is a special quality.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Real People ad:

      “Wow, it looks like a Mercedes!”
      “Or the inside of a diaper.”
      “Smells like it, too.”
      “Mercedes or diaper?”
      “Both!”
      “Chevy getting their stank on.”

  • avatar
    05lgt

    !nope!

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    A manufacturer barfs out another overpriced crossover and the hoi polloi will lap it up using 84-month loans.

    I think I’m getting older and more cantankerous by the day.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Yikes – that is going to an epic depreciation queen.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    When this SUV/CUV/pickup bubble bursts I wonder what car manufacturers will be left?

    I do believe again, it will be European and Asian manufacturers. The manufacturers of small and/or cheap cars and commercials or good quality.

    Like I’ve been stating for a few years or so, the US needs to step up in the auto industry.

    A good place to start is to look at regulations, controls and how they impact what is selling (size wise) in the caryards.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    But it’s still a Chevy. The Traverse name carries *none* of the cachet that Suburban does. At $42k tops, where pricing will ultimately settle after about a year, it may well be worth it.

    I’d rather have the fully loaded Atlas and still save some coin….

  • avatar
    jh26036

    Marking up to mark down. As American as hot dogs and apple pie.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    How dare GM sell vehicles that are profitable and that people buy. What the Hell are they thinking?

    I mean no one is going to buy a Colorado/Canyon at over $40K when you can buy a Silverado/Sierra sitting right next to….

  • avatar
    seanx37

    It’s a GM product not named Escalade. It will never sell for anything close to sticker. Most likely, it will go out the door on a $499 a month lease. Then in 2 years come back as a used car for around $22k.

  • avatar
    Dan

    The $50,000 Chevy that isn’t a Duramax makes me shake my head too, but 4.5 trillion dollars in quantitative easing has been awfully awfully good for a few people. The only fault which can be laid at GM’s feet is for, as always, not recognizing that a party was going on until everyone else was already there. Ford has been selling $50,000 Platinum Explorers for years.

    For the rest of us, at least these idiot-and-his-wallet trims are an addition to and not an in place of.

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    How is the Chevrolet “twin clutch” system different from a Haldex system?

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Does it matter?

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        It doesn’t matter to most consumers but I admit I’m a bit curious too.

        (It’s probably the same in the sense that Torqueflite = BW35 = Turbo Hydramatic… most people don’t care but some of us find it interesting.)

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          I thought I read somewhere that some of Haldex’s original patents had expired. This might just be the GM version. IIRC the AWD system that Ford was using in the 500/Montego/Freestyle was very Haldex-like without actually being a Haldex system.

          • 0 avatar
            celebrity208

            The 500/Montego/Freestyle was on a platform related to the Volvo XC70 and I suspect they used the same AWD sys which on my wife’s XC70 was a Haldex system. The rear hydraulic pump for the rear diff’s clutch went out on her car. It was not cheap to repair (at the dealer). The ind. shop didn’t know it was serviceable and wanted to R&R the whole rear diff assy. for > 4x as much. That’s when I realized my “trusted” shop was R&R whole assemblies too often when RDRSRI was a better solution. (RDRSRI = Remove, Disassemble, Replace/Service, Re-Install)

    • 0 avatar
      Rocket

      It provides torque vectoring across the rear axle. It’s supplied by the same company that engineered the Focus RS’s trick AWD system. I’m pretty sure the Traverse won’t have a drift mode, however :)

  • avatar
    honda1

    Only a fool would pay that money for this depreciation bomb.
    Bubba’s wife will want one and be foolish enough to go with the 84 month loan with a little negative rolled in from the last one.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I remember when we discussed the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and its outrageous $45,000 high-end price. After tax credit, the high-end Pacifica Hybrid is nearly $15,000 cheaper than this high-end Chevy. If you figure the Pacifica might be able to save you $500-1000/year on fuel, The Pacifica looks even better. (Now if FCA can just get them back on the dealer lots.)

  • avatar
    IBx1

    So that’s what a $50k interior looks like these days, huh?

  • avatar
    NN

    Sticker price doesn’t mean much at GM. Once widely available you’ll be able to get $10k off sticker, and at $42k a loaded Traverse makes much more sense


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