Family Bargain: 2018 Chevrolet Traverse High Country
It’s no secret that the crossover has been the family trend since tie-died coordinating matching tee-shirts at Disney World. But with the market being saturated with crossovers that are about as entertaining as a black coffee with no sugar, how does the all-new Chevrolet Traverse not only stand out, but blend in as-well?
Just to give an idea of how many crossovers the Traverse is up against: Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder, Dodge Durango, Honda Pilot, Volkswagen Atlas, Mazda CX-9, Hyundai Santa Fe, and the Subaru Ascent. First and foremost, the Traverse is completely new for 2018 pinning the real competition against the all-new Atlas, CX-9 and all-new Ascent – the CX-9 was introduced all-new for 2017 while all the others had received mild updates over the years. The Traverse is also the largest SUV in its class with more third-row leg room, rear cargo capacity and with the available High Country, it’s also going to be on the more premium based full-sized crossovers this side of fifty grand, next to the Ford Explorer Platinum.
The new Traverse is quite the handsome brute – its proportions accommodate its full-size appearance like a well fitted suit on a football linebacker. It features striking, aggressive lines with a chiseled persona and beefy attitude. Our range topping High Country had no problem showing off all its bling with chrome trimming all around and rolling on large 20-inch polished chrome wheels. Standard on the High Country, while available as on option on the rest of the line-up is the new, gimmicky, yet stunning display of their D-Optic LED headlights – designed to increased visibility while also able to capture a signature detailed look, the D-Optic headlights are quite the party piece conversation at any car meetup. We’re a bunch of nerds.
There is some familiarity to this new Traverse and it’s the 3.6-liter V-6 under the hood. While re-tuned to delivered 310-horsepower, there is a since of old school charm and raw delivery from its re-purposed engine. Shuffling through all nine-speeds though is as smooth as melted butter on a hot biscuit. There is an option to opt for the new 295lb-ft of happy torque 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder; however, that is only available on their new gratifyingly sporty RS model. The V-6; however, is no slouch when it comes down to performance. Its eager to please aggression puts down less than six and half seconds to 60 mph with a hint of torque steer from the front wheels. Even with such a powerful V-6, we managed to squeeze out 25 mpg on the highway during our 200 mile loop and managed a combined of 16 mpg on regular fuel.
Thankfully, Chevrolet hasn’t incorporated some lame drive mode selector into our Traverse to optimize maximum performance – it’s not like the soccer moms at Starbucks will know what the button do anyways. Instead, by optioning for the $2900 all-wheel drive system, they’ve simplified the modes to be standard front-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, extreme off-road, and hauling. With its new advance twin clutch automatic locking center differential, it makes those roads less traveled a little bit easier to maneuver through.
Even with the Traverse’s full size demeanor, it’s quite brisk and supple on the road. The power assisted steering is nimble and light for easy maneuverability. The 20-inch wheels hasn’t tampered the ride comfort with subtle noticeable bumps here and there. And while the braking could be a little better, it is stopping almost 5000lbs of metal.
Stepping into a High Country is like walking into a luxury log cabin. There is no shortage of amenities with a three-zone climate control, heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, Wi-Fi connectivity, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto capabilities, and dual-pane sunroof system. The seats in the Traverse are designed for long-haul comfort as the rear seats are nicely mounted providing comfort for a tall adult while the third row is actually useable and easy to get into. The interior has been well decorated with a loft brown leather on every surface including the dash with a touch of suede inserts. Everything to the touch feels premium and solid.
GM is all about little gimmicks and touch of uniqueness like the camera rearview mirror and hidden storage space behind the infotainment screen. The High Country also takes it to another level by featuring a heated steering wheel and all of the latest and greatest safety features like blind spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, steering assist, forward collision alert with autonomous braking and adaptive radar cruise control.
At $53,390, the Traverse may seem like a lot dough to roll out. However, considering the Ford Explorer Platinum costs over $55k and the Dodge Durango is just on the other side of $60-grand. The Traverse starts to show its coupon cutting benefits while splurging for the little treat yo’ self options.
|2018 Chevrolet Traverse High Country:||$52,050|
|As Tested (including Options & Destination):||$53,390|
|3.6liter V-6 – 310-Horsepower, 9-Speed Automatic Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±6.5 seconds|
|EPA MPG: 17/25/20 (City/Highway/Combined) – SSB Average: 18.2 MPG’s – Fuel Range: ±375 Miles|