Driving 1,600 miles reveals this crossover’s true nature

Thanksgiving tops the list of holidays most traveled for, and like I always do, I joined the fray of people flocking back home for some turkey and homemade desserts. My destination was the family farm, nestled just south of Knoxville in the rolling hills of East Tennessee. Joining me was the wife and kid, along with my wife’s sister. With three girls packing for a weeklong trip, I knew I needed tons of luggage space, so I reached out to Chevrolet. They were kind enough to let me rack up miles on a 2018 Chevrolet Traverse decked out in the Premier trim.

The Traverse has been Chevy’s three-row crossover since it debuted for the 2009 model year and a slight refresh in 2013 kept it from getting stale. But Chevy pulled out all the stops for 2018, giving the Traverse an entirely new architecture, a new design, a longer wheelbase, and a swankier interior filled with Chevy’s latest tech. And not only does the new Traverse look much more upscale, its spacious interior proved well suited for two, 12-hour driving days. And anyone with kids knows entertainment options are a must; the Traverse’s 4G LTE Wi-Fi was invaluable.

Continue reading for more on the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse.

Road Trippin' in The 2018 Chevy Traverse Interior
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The in-dash entertainment came courtesy of Chevy’s MyLink system with the 8.0-inch touchscreen

The in-dash entertainment came courtesy of Chevy’s MyLink system with the 8.0-inch touchscreen. Its logical interface is reminiscent of an iPad. Icons open apps and multi-gesture controls allow for pinch, swipes, and drags. You can even rearrange the icons to your liking. I put the Surround Vision 360-degree camera icon at the bottom left of the screen for an easy reach, for example. My tester’s MyLink system also came with the navigation upgrade, offering turn-by-turn directions and real-time traffic updates. Behind the MyLink screen is a hidden compartment that’s lockable with a pin code. A USB port makes charging a stored device a snap and a light keeps things in view.

On top of the tech, the interior’s roomy dimensions meant the family could spread out. Much of the drive was made with my daughter in the third row and the seat ahead of her folded flat and used like a table for her iPad stand. The sister-in-law enjoyed the other second-row bucket seat. She had it slid rearward and the seatback reclined, affording her plenty of legroom and a relaxed position. Everyone had their own USB port and choice of several cup holders, while I used the wireless charger for my iPhone 8 Plus. My wife did DJ duties with her phone via both Apple CarPlay and the MyLink’s USB phone connection – depending on whether she initiated CarPlay that particular time or not.

Road Trippin' in The 2018 Chevy Traverse Exterior
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When the roads grew dark after the sun fell behind the mountains, the Traverse’s D-Optic headlights did a great job at lighting the road

The Skyscape sunroof proved its worth as we drove through winding roads lined with fall foliage surrounding Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Between that and the tall side windows, the Traverse allowed a very immersive experience without having to brave the chilly weather. I do wish the cloth sunshades were easier to unlatch, though.

When the roads grew dark after the sun fell behind the mountains, the Traverse’s D-Optic headlights did a great job at lighting the road. The low beams provide plenty of white light without a dramatic drop-off. The incandescent fog lights helped with viewing things just beyond the hood and the high beams simply turn night into day. The IntelliBeam automatic high beam system meant I didn’t have to worry about blinding an oncoming car.

Road Trippin' in The 2018 Chevy Traverse Exterior
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My tester’s front-wheel-drive layout meant the front tires received all 266 pound-feet of torque from the V-6

The 2018 Traverse’s four-corner independent suspension did an impressive job at quelling bumpy roads while not feeling floaty. Body roll is kept to a minimum, too, which is surprising considering the Traverse’s size. My tester’s front-wheel-drive layout meant the front tires received all 266 pound-feet of torque from the V-6. Torque steer is present, but only slightly and when burying the throttle into a turn from a stop. In other words, unless you’re driving like a madman, you won’t feel it.

And speaking of keeping the inner madman contained, the V-6 FWD Traverse will return respectable fuel economy when driven nicely. The EPA estimates it will average 18 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined. Over my 1,592-mile trip, I averaged a commendable 23.4 mpg. Thankfully, regular 89-octane is all that’s required.

Final Thoughts

Road Trippin' in The 2018 Chevy Traverse Exterior
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The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse honestly impressed me over the 1,600 miles I drove it – and I say that as objectively as I can. It’s not perfect, but this three-row crossover feels extremely well conceived and impressively executed. About my only complaints were the glare something shining off the chrome bits on the dash and the lack of an off button for the engine’s automatic start/stop system.

The crossover market is inundated with contenders, but Chevy has done a good job making the 2018 Traverse stand out. It makes a great alternative for a minivan and the customer who wants something smaller and more budget-friendly than a full-size Tahoe or Suburban.

References

Chevrolet Traverse

Road Trippin' in The 2018 Chevy Traverse Exterior
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Read our full driven review on the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse.

2018 Chevrolet Traverse High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse.

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