Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: September 27, 2017
SHEDIAC, New Brunswick - Who would have thought that Canada's east coast would be the perfect location to test drive an SUV? We flew to the small town of Shediac, a few minutes northeast of Moncton and known for its lobster statue, and piloted the new 2018 Chevrolet Traverse down south right to the shores of the famous Bay of Fundy. But it seems like it's only here that you can encounter three extremes of weather conditions within the span of an hour. Sun, rain, fog, you name it. We put the Traverse through it all. The worst part? Forgetting to bring my umbrella.
All new for 2018, the Chevrolet Traverse is lighter and more fuel efficient than before. There is more interior and cargo space despite the Traverse being dimensionally the same, and it also comes equipped with more standard features. The new sheetmetal is handsome and takes many hints and cues from the familial Tahoe, giving it almost like a skim milk demeanor of that body-on-frame hulk. The Redline package ($995), which is new for this year and essentially acts as a "blacked out package", blacks out the grill, fog lamp bezels, bowtie badge, lettering, and the wheels with a bit of red accent. With it, the Traverse almost looks like a Land Rover Discovery Sport from certain angles.
The Traverse offers a trim that appeals to everyone, ranging from the base LS ($34,990), LT Cloth, LT True North, RS, and Premier. There is also a new High Country trim ($58,590), which Chevrolet says is like the Denali of the GMC lineup. Sitting at the top of the Traverse food chain, High Country adds exclusive 20-inch polished wheels, Loft Brown leather interior, suede microfibre accents, twin-clutch AWD system, a power folding third row seat, and High Country badging on the exterior, floor mats, and headrests.
The interior has been given a nip and tuck with a cleaner layout. Chevrolet says it was inspired by the best of truck and car interiors and mixed together. We agree. The cabin is incredibly spacious and the same goes for the center storage cubby, which is nearly as large as the ones you find in pick-up trucks. Furthermore, the dashboard is sleek with glossy black panels that don't look cheap, and it blends in nicely with large buttons and a friendly interface.
The seats are comfortable, though I would have liked it if the seat bottom could tilt a little higher up. Buyers also have the option of choosing a 7- or 8-passenger seat configuration for the second row seats. Ingress and egress is good, and the second row now has the ability to slide forward without moving the seatback - a godsend for parents who don't want to uninstall their baby seats just to access the third row. Speaking of the back row, it's rather spacious as well. There is enough headroom for my six-foot figure, and legroom is acceptable only if the second row extends forward on the rails just a notch.
All of GM's tech has made it downstream into the Traverse, transforming it into a mobile office of sorts. This means 4G LTE Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a wide array of USB slots, a rear camera mirror passed down by the Cadillac CT6, and an 8-inch infotainment unit (7-inch on base models) with a hidden storage cubby behind it that can be locked via a PIN number that you set. One really cool feature we found was the hands-free power liftgate. While that is nothing new, what is innovative is that the Traverse now emits a little puddle light of a Chevrolet bowtie just under the rear bumper, so you know exactly where to kick to trigger the liftgate to open. No more shin-scraping bumper kicking.
There are two engine choices to choose from, a 3.6-litre naturally aspirated V6, which we tested, and a 2.0-litre turbo-four (FWD-only and exclusive on the RS models) that is slated to come to Canada later in the year. Both are mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the outgoing model's six-speed. Front-wheel drive is standard on LS, LT Cloth, and RS models, with all-wheel drive as an option, while the LT True North, Premier, and High Country trims come standard with a switchable all-wheel drive system.
Out on the open roads of New Brunswick, the V6 proved its worth and was more than adequate for the job. Power is plentiful in both the low and mid-range, builds up quickly and naturally when your foot is firmly planted, and the married nine-speed is smooth and unnoticeable - we never found it hunting for gears - giving us plenty of time to enjoy the scenic backdrops of land and sea.
Unlike the other trims, the Traverse High Country uses an exclusive twin-clutch all-wheel drive system that can send power between the two rear wheels for even better handling, and we certainly felt a bit of that difference tackling some switchback roads near Cape Enrage. Pothole ridden and with blind off-camber turns, the Traverse handled the beaten tarmac like a champ and was able to steer and manage its weight around corners. You will feel the undulations - that is inevitable - but the chassis settles down gracefully without taxing your spine and ruining the ride balance.
Overall, the Traverse provides a fairly flat and uneventful driving experience - entirely acceptable in this case. You have to remember that not everyone wants a sporty or adrenaline-inducing SUV. The Traverse appeals to those looking to ferry seven or eight passengers in a sleek bubble of comfort and connectivity, and remains a compelling option in this crowded SUV segment. Sure, the Traverse may not stimulate or offer much emotional appeal but its generous cabin space, eight-seat capability, and handsome design justifies a closer look for any buyer in the market for a large family hauler.
型号 Model: 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Premier AWD
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $52,495
試車售價 Price as Tested: $53,490
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 3,071
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,189 / 1,996 / 1,795
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,978 (LS model)
引擎 Engine: 3.6-litre naturally aspirated V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 310 hp @ 6,800 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 266 lb-ft @ 2,800 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 9-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD switchable to FWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 13.7
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 9.9 (mostly highway)
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Continental Crosscontact LX