By on October 5, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Traverse Redline - Image: ChevroletPriced 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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27 Comments on “2018 Chevrolet Traverse RS Is a More Expensive, De-powered, Less Efficient Front-drive Traverse...”


  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    General Motors is really starting to churn out some incredibly badly designed vehicles with pi$$-poor quality Biomaterials and reliability) AGAIN (even by their own pathetic standards) post taxpayer-funder, pre-packaged bankruptcy.

    GM has essentially caught a timing break post 2008 as the market for pickup trucks and SUVs has been on fire (even sub-par ones).

    Once again just as in the 90s and 2000s, the continued fortunes and even survival of the of the Detroit 2.5 now rest on continued brisk sales of pickup trucks and SUVs, as GM, Ford and FCA essentially depend on pickup trucks and SUVs/CUVs for probably 85%+ of their net profit, and they’re all essentially ceded the passenger sedan and coupe market to Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Kia, Subaru, etc.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Look for serious distress in the underlying health of GM, especially, as it’s used 27 billion in revenue to repurchase stock in the last 5 years, monies it borrowed from the balance sheet and bond market to do so, and money that could have been invested into new platforms, better quality design and materials, better reliability of vehicles, and better dealership relationships.

    If there’s ANY hiccup, let alone choking attack, in the bigger vehicle pickup and SUV segments, GM is screwed yet again, and will probably need another taxpayer bailout to survive.

    The Detroit D2.5 have once again played the roulette with the consumer market, and their finances and allocation of capital, going almost all in on pickups and SUVs.

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    So, RS just means “decontent and increase sticker”?

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      I think in GM-world, it’s supposed to mean “Rally Sport”. But it doesn’t seem that the Traverse is sporty, or ready for a Rally.

      Kind of like how my parent’s ’87 Celebrity had “rally wheels”. It means nothing except them asking for more money from the buyer.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Chevy Celebrity “Eurosport,” a timeless classic.

        • 0 avatar
          brakeless

          The Eurosport was the best of the best. I can’t believe GM hasn’t not brought it back, yet. Just imagine how sweet a Traverse Eurosport could be.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            You know you want a Traverse with fat black rub strips that contains a red pinstripe (one of the standout features of the Eurosport cars.)

        • 0 avatar
          brettc

          My dad wasn’t interested in springing for the Eurosport, instead we got a blue/blue Celebrity with the 2.8 V6 and the 4 speed auto. It did have the Eurosport rims, but not the awesome red stripes.

          • 0 avatar
            brakeless

            brettc: That is forgivable as long as he went with the trunk lid luggage rack.

          • 0 avatar
            burnbomber

            The best Celebrity was the fleet model. I should know; at one point I owned 3 of them. Two were in my family and one was for my parents-in-law, all purchased used from government auction. The fleet model (as ordered then sold by the GSA in their auto actions) had HD suspension and cooling. I wish they had the HD brakes too, but no they did not. The HD suspension gave it a pretty good ride compared to it’s floaty Buick and Olds cousins. The GM A-bodies were reliable, roomy and CHEAP to buy used.

            Now we’re looking for mid-sized 3 row SUV and considering the Traverse. We’ve yet got to drive one, but I can’t see us doing a purchase cause they’re so damned EXPENSIVE if you want a trimmed-up version. Want leather with french stitching–got to get the top trim. Want the full technology suite–got to get the top trim. And, it’s about 10 grand more than it’s competition.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            I realize it’s de rigueur on TTAC to bash the Eurosport about once every 18 months or so, but it’s worth noting that:

            – it wasn’t just an appearance package. (I’m looking at you, Corolla S and Sentra SR.) You did get an upgraded suspension. Bear in mind that base model US cars were much floatier in those days, so it was a meaningful upgrade.

            – it wasn’t an expensive package, about $770 in today’s money.

            Per brettc’s and burnbomber’s posts, you had much more latitude to order a la carte options on US cars of that era. Even given the cheap cost of the Eurosport package, it probably would have been less expensive (to say nothing of more interesting) to option an otherwise plain-Jane Celebrity with the 2.8 V6 and heavy duty suspension.

            Addendum: http://autosofinterest.com/2012/10/31/guest-post-chevrolet-celebrity-eurosport/

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          Or the now discontinued Dodge Dart GT- a “failed collectors item”

    • 0 avatar
      honda1

      Yup

  • avatar
    ajla

    I think historically ‘RS’ has always just been an appearance option while ‘SS’ or ‘Zxx’ were the actual performance packages.

    Although now the Tahoe has both an ‘RST’ appearance group and an ‘RST’ performance package with the 6.2L and revised suspension (which costs $71K), so who knows.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      It depends. For the first-gen Cruze, e.g., ordering the RS package for the 1LT trim level got you the stiffer suspension found on the 2LT and LTZ trim levels.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    That is atrocious….its like they warped it into a ungodly combination of Grand Cherokee, an Explorer with the front of a Ridgeline.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    In slightly related news – the Custom trim (much talked about here for the Tahoe) is now available for the Silverado (W/T, Custom, LS, LT, Premier). Apparently GM is pulling out all the stops to increase the sales of BOF rear and 4×4 vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The ‘Custom’ line actually existed for the Silverado last year. It’s not nearly as great as the Tahoe Custom anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        This proliferation of trim lines amuses me. I’d love to see someone do a crosswalk between current GM, Ford, Ram trims vs the late 60s mainstream family sedans when your Chevy could be Biscanne, Bel Air, Impala, Caprice etc.

        I think we’re approaching “PEAK TRUCK” they way that the early 70s pre-cats and gas crisis were a “PEAK SEDAN” time period.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    We have a prior-generation Traverse. I don’t like the redesign; it’s dishonestly truckish and aggressive, where the old one was unabashedly car-like.

    I suppose, though, between having it’s lunch eaten by the Explorer and the Acadia downsizing, they needed something for the “don’t want a Tahoe but still need to overtly brutal” market. I’m sure it will sell well enough.

  • avatar
    VoGhost

    The headline characterizes the RS as “less efficient” and “de-powered”. But then the body of the article shows how the fuel economy ratings are mixed (city 2 higher; highway 2 lower). For power, the torque is rated higher and the hp lower.

    This headline appears to have been written more as clickbait and less in keeping with the name of the website.

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    Lots of car sales are based on emotion and/or visual appeal. This model is going for that demographic, I would imagine, “value/pragmatism” be damned.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “…the Traverse RS is equipped much like the comparably priced LT Leather…”

    LT Leather? Wow, talk about your perfect pornstar name…

  • avatar
    Prove Your Humanity 2+9=?

    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.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    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?

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