It’s not even the new year, but Chevrolet is already putting one of their vehicles on an aggressive new year’s resolution. And, for the 2018 model year the Chevy Traverse is better off because of it. The completely redesigned midsize SUV has dropped weight, but gained interior space and power. It’s like hitting the gym to lose that muffin top and in turn getting six-pack abs.
The svelte Traverse looks better than it ever has and weighs nearly 400 pounds less than the previous generation. This is all part of a major overhaul of GM’s SUV line as the 2018 Equinox is all new, and so is the Buick Enclave and the GMC Terrain.
On looks, the Traverse looks starkly different. This is a redesign that truly makes over the vehicle. The Traverse looks chiseled and side-steps the smaller SUV trend of making everything look bulbous and perky. Rather, this SUV looks modern, but has hints of older SUV and station wagon styling.
Although the 2018 Traverse has the same 3.6-liter V6 engine as the 2017 version, there’s actually more horsepower to be had this model year. This is due mostly to weight reduction as the ’18 Traverse now gets 310 hp. This is adequate, but it will still not be a demon off the line, especially with the start/stop technology. Although I admit this start/stop is not nearly as annoying or aggressive as others, it cannot be disabled. So, off the line, there’s a little hold-up, but otherwise, the Traverse is adequately powered. The nine-speed automatic transmission does a good job of keeping the shifting smooth and seamless. All-wheel drive is available.
The reduction in weight did not reduce interior space at all, in fact, there’s a net gain. That’s a win-win for sure. The back seat gains three inches in legroom from the previous generation; even the third-row seat gains a little legroom. Overall cargo room increases, too, as the 2018 Traverse has 98.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity.
The 7-inch touchscreen is standard and uses Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system interface. It’s an intuitive system that doesn’t wow you with cutting edge features, but offers everything you need including Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and six USB ports. All GM vehicles now come with a rearview camera and a rear-seat reminder that dings to let the driver know to check the back seat. It may seem absurd, but if it saves one life, then it’s worth it, and I applaud GM for adding this feature.
There are seven trim options, which might get a little bewildering for the consumer. I tested the middle-of-the-road trim 1LT which has cloth upholstery as standard. The LT cloth trim has second-row captain’s chairs, which make this a seven-passenger vehicle, whereas other trims have a second-row bench to make them capable of toting eight passengers.
The LT trim also has roof rails. Buyers will want to be sure to add the convenience and confidence package and team it with the more affordable LT trim; with that comes parking sensors, blind-spot monitors, a power lift gate, an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen and heated front seats. These options make the Traverse more than competitive within this segment. Base price of the Traverse 1LT Cloth is $34,550; with the extra package and options, my tester had a final MSRP of $37,330.
Fuel economy, thanks to the weight reduction and the start/stop technology, is improved dramatically this year and rated at 18 mpg/city and 27 mpg/highway. In a week’s worth of driving I averaged 22 mpg.
For 2018, the Traverse isn’t just upgraded. It’s downsized, more athletic and overall more spacious. We should all be so fortunate with our own resolutions in the coming new year.