NAIAS 2017: Chevrolet Just Trucked-up the Traverse, Finally Giving It a Shape

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
naias 2017 chevrolet just trucked up the traverse finally giving it a shape

Chevrolet’s current Traverse is an amorphous blob of rounded sheet metal. While not offensively homely, it lacks a distinctive silhouette or any purposeful styling. A layperson could be forgiven for confusing the globule with a minivan. However, with the Lambda platform being replaced by the C1XX, General Motors seized an opportunity to enhance the 2018 Traverse’s angles and make it more of a traditional-looking SUV — resulting in a more handsome and eerily truck-like crossover.

Undiminished in size, Chevrolet claims the squared-off CUV now provides more headroom and legroom for occupants in its second and third rows. Despite a wheelbase that’s two inches longer than its precursor, rear cargo space has been reduced to 23 cubic feet. That’s still enough to beat Ford’s Explorer, and the hold climbs to 98.5 cubic feet with all of the rear seats laid flat. Seven- and eight-passenger seating configurations will be offered on the new Traverse. More affordable versions will be equipped with benches for the second and third rows, while fancier editions will see that middle area replaced with two captain’s chairs.

GM is also offering the 2018 in two new trim levels — the debatably sporty RS and the suede-enhanced High Country.

The purportedly “sporting” RS version of the Traverse comes with a mandatory 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and front-wheel drive. At 255 horses, it’s actually down on the base 3.6-liter V6 in terms of peak power, although it does offer superior fuel economy and slightly better torque (295 ft-lb).

Assuming that fuel economy isn’t your primary concern, the V6’s 305 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque seems to be a fine choice. That is doubly true if you plan on hauling anything, as Chevrolet suggests that the 3.6 liter should also be capable of a 5,000-pound towing capacity, making no mention of the turbo’s pulling might.

Compared to the previous generation, the Traverse has lost over 350 pounds, helping to improve fuel economy. Chevrolet estimates that FWD 3.6-liter V6 models will earn a 18/25 mpg city/highway rating, while the 2.0-liter four should yield 20/23 mpg. Regardless of the chosen motor, GM has given Traverse its Hydra-Matic 9T50 nine-speed automatic transmission.

While the RS’s black trim, big rims, and lackluster engine makes for an athletic appearance, the High Country trim is more like the genuine article. Offered as a luxury trim on other GM vehicles, the Traverse High Country will come with a unique leather interior, suede seats, D-Optic headlamps, all-wheel drive, electric-folding third row seating, and 20-inch polished wheels. It will also come with most of the available features, including Apple CarPlay, GM’s rear-seat reminder, 360-degree camera, Android Audio, hands-free liftgate, adaptive cruise control, and automated emergency breaking.

Chevrolet has not yet shared pricing, but considering where the Silverado High Country sits against the LTZ, as well as the 2017 Traverse Premiere’s $42,045 starting price, it wouldn’t be impossible to see the most lavishly equipped 2018s going for almost $50,000. Expect the lower L, LS, and LT trims to exist within the $30,000 and $40,000 range. However, General Motors should release specific pricing details and a sales date later this year.

[Images: General Motors]

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  • OldManPants OldManPants on Jan 10, 2017

    Think I've now seen every available online photo of this. Phuc! It's gorgeous!

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jan 10, 2017

    I'm surprised nobody mentioned the lettering down the side of the front doors. It's a bit much, placed quite high on the door, and spanning 50% of the width of it. Other than that, the styling is a huge improvement. I always thought the original Traverse looked pretty awful with the huge expanse of metal at the back, and the revised version was only slightly better.

  • Redapple2 C2 is the best. C3 next. Then C7 (looking at you jimII).
  • Jeff S Vulpine--True the CAFE rules are for ICE.
  • Gray I grew up in the era of Panther and Fox platforms. If only they developed a good looking two door Conti. The four doors became a cult in their own right. And kept the 351W as a top line option.
  • Vulpine ABSOLUTELY YES!!! Bring back the TRUE compact trucks. The demand for them is far higher than the OEMs want to admit.
  • Brn More likely, with Google having troubles, the money tree isn't as ripe as it once was and cutbacks are needed.I hope the overall industry continues to evolve. When I get the the point I can't easily drive, I would still appreciate the independence that autonomous vehicles can bring.