Preview: 2018 Chevrolet Traverse

On the Chevrolet stage – the only GM presentation of the day at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit – the brand’s recently upgraded compact utility vehicle lineup was on parade, leading up to the introduction of the new 2018 Chevrolet Traverse. Its promise? Class-leading third-row legroom, maximized cargo volume and a full array of safety technologies. With the new Traverse, Chevrolet is taking aim at active families with plenty of seating space and utility to boot. Here’s a look at the second generation of this compact SUV.

The new design of the three-row SUV is a is more “crossover” than “big truck”.

The Traverse is the last of Chevrolet’s utility vehicles to receive an upgrade and the fourth to receive a fresh new face in the space of a year, after the Bolt – yes, the Bolt is considered part of Chevrolet’s SUV lineup – the Trax and the Equinox.

The new design of the three-row SUV is a is more “crossover” than “big truck”, with knife-blade-shaped headlamps and optional D-Optic LED lights, as well as a new two-level front grille, belted by the golden bowtie insignia. The back sports a more chiselled look with a chrome band crossing the hatch from one taillight to the other. The addition of the new trim levels will also offer new visual cues, such as the blacked-out grille and 20-inch alloy wheels on the sporty new RS version.

The 2018 Traverse will offer seating for up to eight adult passengers and riding in the third row should no longer be a punishing experience. The wheelbase gains 50 mm over the previous generation, making for the roomiest third row in the segment at 856 mm, for a total passenger volume of 2,789 L, another class-leading specification. The reworked proportions limit the overall increase in length to only 16 mm. Cargo volume is expected to vary between 651 L behind the third row of seats, up to 2,789 L with both the second and third rows folded flat.

A total of 24 storage compartments are scattered throughout the vehicle, including a ten-inch-deep compartment hidden under the cargo area floor.

Should you opt for the High Country trim level, another new addition alongside the RS, you will also get Loft Brown leather surfaces with suede accents, High Country badging, power-fold third row as well as 20-inch polished wheels and D-Optic headlights.

Standard and optional entertainment features include GM’s OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as MyLink infotainment system with a 7- or 8-inch touchscreen display. At the back, a foot-activated power liftgate provides easy access to the cargo area. The bowtie logo projected on the ground tells the user where to swipe their foot to activate the system – a clever touch that takes the guesswork out of the equation.

Two powertrains will be available on the 2018 Traverse. The 3.6L V6 from the previous generation is carried over, gaining 24 hp in the process to reach 305 hp total output and 260 lb-ft of torque. The former six-speed transmission has been replaced with a Hydra-Matic nine-speed automatic transmission instead. The RS trim level will offer the option of a 2.0L Ecotec turbocharged engine rated at 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Estimated fuel economy sits at 9.4 L/100km on the highway for the V6 and at 10.2 L/100km for the 2.0L turbocharged engine.

Front-wheel drive is standard across the range, with all-wheel drive available. The High Country trim features a twin-clutch AWD system. The Traverse will also provide a capable towing capacity of up to 5,000 lb for what Chevrolet hopes is plenty of utility for an active lifestyle. A Traction Mode Select available on all trim levels helps tailor the driving response to the road conditions. On AWD versions, the system allow the driver to disconnect the rear axle completely.

Safety technologies will include Surround Vision, lane-keeping assist, front pedestrian braking, forward collision alert as well as forward automatic braking at high and low speeds. The Teen Driver feature, already available in a few models across the lineup, will be offered on the Traverse as standard equipment. The technology allows the owner of the vehicle to set up parameters specific to their teen driver. The technology also monitors the young driver’s behavior on the road and produces a full report card to inform optimal driving habits.

The new 2018 Chevrolet Traverse is expected to hit the showroom in Fall 2017.

Best-in-class third-row seating targets active families 1/9/2017 11:00:00 AM