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  • 2018 Chevrolet Traverse AWD High Country

    Posted on February 15th, 2018 ninarussin

    Eight-passenger crossover with new infotainment technology

    By Nina Russin

    2018 Chevrolet Traverse

    2018 Chevrolet Traverse

    The Chevrolet Traverse is an appealing alternative to minivans for families needing eight-passenger seating and a versatile interior. For 2018, buyers can choose between front and all-wheel drive models that add more tractive capability. A new High Country edition gives the Traverse luxury accouterments including heated and ventilated seats, a Bose 10-speaker premium audio system, LED lighting, 20-inch alloy rims, tri-zone climate control and the latest version of Chevrolet MyLink infotainment including a Wi Fi hotspot.

    Base price for the all-wheel drive High Country model is $52,050 excluding the $925 destination charge. Special red exterior paint on the test car adds $395, bringing the final MSRP to $53,390.

    Test drive in Phoenix, Arizona

    2018 Chevrolet Traverse

    2018 Chevrolet Traverse

    Over the past week I drove the 2018 Traverse around the Phoenix metropolitan area including cities in the east valley. From the moment one sits behind the wheel, it’s apparent that the Traverse High Country is not your average eight-passenger crossover. Interior fit and finish rivals that of luxury brands. Keyless entry and start saves the driver from digging for the key fob with a bevy of kiddos in tow. Memory driver’s seat adjustments make it easy for mom and dad to share the car, while the surround-sound premium audio system delivers living room quality sound throughout the cabin.

    The standard Wi Fi hotspot comes in handy in areas such as the Southwest, where rural sections outside of the city proper may have sketchy cell phone reception. For those who conduct business on the road, it transforms the Traverse into a mobile office.

    2018 Chevrolet Traverse

    2018 Chevrolet Traverse

    While it doesn’t necessarily look it due to the exterior’s aerodynamic styling, the Traverse is quite a large vehicle. The car measures close to 205 inches- 17 feet- end to end. The standard rearview and surround view cameras make a vehicle that would otherwise be rather difficult to park, relatively easy.

    However, the Traverse does require a large parking space with enough length and width to accommodate its large footprint. In-order-to fit, I needed to back the car up so it was well within the red warning zone on the rearview camera.

    Standard lane departure alert and blind spot monitoring help the driver to keep the cars wheels inside the lane and watch for vehicles in adjacent lanes that he might not see. Adaptive cruise control maintains a preset following distance in stop-and-go traffic, reducing driver fatigue and maximizing fuel economy.

    2018 Chevrolet Traverse

    2018 Chevrolet Traverse

    At night, LED headlamps do a good job of lighting the path ahead without putting excessive drain on the battery. I found both the gauge cluster and center stack screen easy to read in bright daylight and after dark.

    Power for the Traverse comes from a 310-horsepower, 3.6-liter direct injection engine and nine-speed automatic transmission. The engine has ample power to get the driver off the line and accelerate strongly in the 20-to-50 mile-per-hour range used merging into high-speed traffic. The engine isn’t a barn burner- it is after all moving 4362-pounds of sheet metal- but drivers should have confidence in its ability to get the job done, whether at sea level or at altitude.

    General Motors has a reputation for solid automatic transmissions and the transverse Hydra-Matic unit in the Traverse is no exception. Unlike competitive products, the transmission progresses smoothly through the gears on flat surfaces and on hills with no hunting or sharp downshifting.

    A four-wheel independent suspension consists of a MacPherson strut setup in front and multi-link in the rear, keeping all three rows of passengers comfortable. Four-wheel disc brakes stop the Traverse in firm, linear fashion.

    Engineers did a good job of isolating occupants from road, engine and wind noise so all three rows can converse or enjoy the audio system.

    Versatile interior

    Chevrolet Traverse Interior

    Chevrolet Traverse Interior

    Traverse designers knew their audience would need the versatility to haul multiple passengers and some rather large gear, and configured the interior to meet those needs. Not all three-row crossovers are created equal: the Traverse has enough head and legroom in the third row to keep occupants comfortable on longer drives. To make access easier, the curbside second-row seats tilt up and move forward, even when they have child seats attached.

    Both second and third-row seats fold flat for longer items such as bicycles, skis, snowboards, kayaks and camping equipment. Standard roof rails make it easy to add a gear rack or cargo carrier up top. Due to its high profile, cyclists will probably prefer a hitch rack that would make the bikes easier to mount.

    Although the infotainment system is complex, it is intuitive to operate. When the car powers up, the driver receives a message on the gauge cluster that the Wi Fi system is operative. Pairing phones, changing audio channels and other basic functions require a single click or the operation of a single button. I appreciated the simple audio controls after struggling to program systems from other automakers.

    Power driver’s seat adjustments enabled me to position myself high enough for a clear forward view with a separate lower lumbar adjustment. The power liftgate makes it easier to load up the back with groceries and larger cargo. Lift-over height is higher than for some smaller crossovers, but I was-able-to load items in back without straining to reach the cargo floor.

    Price-wise, the Traverse High Country lies at the top end of the range for these types of vehicles, but is competitive with comparable products such as the Ford Expedition and Honda Pilot. Families wanting a premium crossover with all-wheel drive should expect to pay over $50,000 for the upscale models. For those who can afford that, the Traverse should provide its owners with the versatility they need, important active and passive safety features, and all the comforts of home.

    Like: A three-row crossover with good head, leg and hip room in the back row and easy access thanks to the sliding second-row seat. A solid drivetrain with good fuel economy. High level of standard safety, comfort and convenience features.

    Dislike: The car’s long wheelbase and overall length can make it difficult to park in smaller parking slots. The MSRP may be out of reach for some potential customers.

    Quick facts:

    Make: Chevrolet
    Model: Traverse High Country Edition AWD
    Year: 2018
    Base price: $52,050
    As tested: $53,390
    Horsepower: 310 HP @ 6800 rpm
    Torque: 266 lbs.-ft. @ 2800 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: N/A
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: N/A
    Bicycle friendly: Yes
    Towing: Yes
    Off-road: No
    Fuel economy: 17/25 mpg city/highway

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