2018 Chevrolet Traverse RS Is a More Expensive, De-powered, Less Efficient Front-drive Traverse

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
2018 chevrolet traverse rs is a more expensive de powered less efficient

Priced at $42,995 including destination fees, the late-arriving 2018 Chevrolet Traverse RS is an oddly positioned member of the second-generation Traverse lineup.

The RS is the only four-cylinder member of the fleet — it’s down 53 horsepower on the 3.6-liter V6 in other Traverses — and yet a basic Traverse RS costs $12,120 more than the least costly Traverse. The RS consumes more fuel on the highway, albeit slightly less in the city. It’s also available exclusively as a front-wheel-drive model.

Ah, but GM says it’s “sporty.”

According to CarsDirect, the $42,995 2018 Traverse RS resides $505 above the Traverse LT Leather; $2,795 below the Traverse Premier. All-wheel drive is, of course, an option on those models. The Traverse RS stands out with blacked-out highlights: black chrome grille, black bowtie, black roof rails, dark 20-inch wheels. (With no official images yet, the picture above is of the Traverse Premier Redline. Imagine it without the, er, red lines.)

Inside, the Traverse RS is equipped much like the comparably priced LT Leather: 8.0-inch touchscreen, heated front seats, blind spot monitoring, rear camera mirror, surround view camera, 2-2-3 seven-passenger seating configuration, power front seats, tilt steering with no telescope, Bose audio.

But while the Traverse RS shares a nine-speed automatic with the V6-powered Traverses, the RS downgrades from the 310-horsepower 3.6-liter to a 255-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, admittedly with 29 more lb-ft of torque. Highway fuel economy drops from 27 miles per gallon to 25; city fuel economy rises from 18 miles per gallon to 20.

Essentially then, paying for a sporty appearance package necessitates the removal of the thumping naturally aspirated V6. Fair trade? Expect to see more or less similar equipment offerings just like this from General Motors depending on demand for the Traverse RS. And if it turns out that the torquier turbo powerplant is appreciated by consumers, don’t be surprised to see its application broaden in the Traverse range.

For now, it seems like an odd choice.

[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 and Instagram.

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2 of 27 comments
  • It's the GM (General Mills) strategy - make the cereal box smaller, but raise the price, and add extra air space in the bag and in the box. Sort of like your 6.5 ounce can of tuna that's now just 5 ounces. Pretty soon they will just be a lid and a bottom with nothing in between.

  • Ponchoman49 Ponchoman49 on Oct 12, 2017

    I see nothing wrong with the new exterior styling of the new Traverse but have a real problem with GM's current insane pricing. Instead of spending the money on developing this waste of time why didn't the 2.0 liter engine instead go where it's needed most - a Sport trim level Cruze sedan or hatchback?

  • YellowDuck Thank goodness neither one had their feet up on the dash....
  • Zerofoo I learned a long time ago to never buy a heavily modified vehicle. Far too many people lack the necessary mechanical engineering skills to know when they've screwed something up.
  • Zerofoo I was part of this industry during my college years. We built many, many cars for "street pharmacists" that sounded like this.Excessive car audio systems are kind of like 800 HP engines. Completely unnecessary, but a hell of a lot of fun.
  • DedBull In it to win it!
  • Wolfwagen IIRC I remember reading somewhere that the Porsche Cayenne was supposed to have a small gasoline-powered block heater. There was a loop in the cooling system that ran to the heater and when the temperature got to a certain point (0°C)the vehicle's control unit would activate the heater. I dont know if this was a concept or if it ever made it into production.