What is it?
It’s by no means a newcomer to the mid-sized SUV world, but Chevrolet is clearly trying to make a splash with this second-generation model of the Traverse. Since the launch of the Traverse in 2009, Chevy has managed to push out a decent number of sales, but outside of the USA, competitors like the Ford Edge have often managed to keep, well, an edge over General Motors in this category.
GM categorises the Traverse as a crossover, but at first glance you’re immediately struck by the sheer presence of the car. With measurements of 5.17m x 1.99m x 1.77m you can understand why – this is certainly a big car in its class. It does, however, fit perfectly in line with Chevy’s intended target market for the vehicle – families who need space, and adventure-seekers looking to travel long distances with massive amounts of luggage.
The 2018 Traverse can be bought in one of six different variations; namely the LS, LT, RS, Premier, Premier Redline and the High Country. Prices start at a reasonable AED 125,000 and shouldn’t climb to much more than AED 200 000 for the top models. Drive is transferred to the road through the front wheels, except in the Premier and High Country models, where an AWD system is used.
We test drove the AWD High Country Edition, with all of the boxes ticked.
How does it drive?
The standard 3.6-litre, supercharged V6 petrol motor has been married to a super-smooth 9-speed automatic gearbox. In terms of power, you get producing 310 bhp and 360 Nm of torque, plus a lovely growl at high revs. Put your foot down at the traffic light and you’ll find yourself doing 100km/h in 8 seconds flat, and running out of steam at around 208 km/h.
While we realise that these figures aren’t likely to make your heart race, the performance is more than adequate – especially if you keep in mind that this vehicle is just a smidge smaller than a small aircraft carrier.
At high speeds the steering is not as stiff as we would like, so cornering and braking should be taken in stride, but to be fair we would expect this from an SUV this big. You wouldn’t spend your time thrashing it around the track, but it will take you safely from A to B in all conditions quite comfortably.
And this thing isn’t even that bad off-road for a ‘crossover’. On dirt roads and soft sand it behaves admirably with minimal drama and rattles; a great testament to the build quality, we’d say.
Interior quality and tech
The first thing to note is the satisfying range of options provided that are perfect for the crossover market. Heated and cooled fully-automatic seats with lumbar adjustment allows any driver to find that sweet-spot. The MyLink infotainment system, while not as futuristic as, say, BMW’s iDrive, has a user-friendly design with all the features you would expect, including support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Oh, and if you think all this connectivity will drain your phone’s battery, there’s a spot under the radio that can charge a phone wirelessly when placed there. Ariel-view parking cameras are present as well as on-screen proximity and trajectory indicators.
Our favorite feature is the lane assist technology included on the High Country Edition. As the Traverse drifts over the white lines on a motorway, the steering wheel corrects itself to keep you safely in your lane. This works both on cruise control and when you’re in control of the acceleration. But don’t go thinking that this is an autopilot function – after some time, the vehicle sounds an alert and tells you pay attention to the road and hold the wheel.
Actually, safety and technology are the areas where the Traverse really comes into its own. An array of features like side-curtain airbags, the aforementioned lane assist, blind spot assistance, surround vision from external cameras, collision alerts, and braking assistance are as refined as it gets.
Another noteworthy feature is Chevrolet’s Teen-Driver Tech, which allows the owner to set limitations and restrictions on the vehicle and entertainment system when it’s being handed over to an inexperienced driver. The car will then provide an onboard report card, which can be accessed at a later stage. We can’t help but feel grateful that this technology wasn’t available when we started driving, but we’re sure glad about it now that our children are taking to the roads!
Elsewhere, the Traverse is extremely comfortable on the road and boasts a commanding driving position. With high seats and a full moon roof, all occupants of the vehicle are spoiled with a full panoramic field of view. The only gripe we had was an unusual and small feeling rear-view mirror.
Interior build quality seems to have been held to the same standard as the exterior of the car, with high-quality leathers and stitching completely surrounding you. Space is in abundance, with a capacity to comfortably seat eight people. Various configurations and hidden luggage compartments allow for class-leading cargo space. Some of the compartments can be locked via a four-digit pin for that little bit of extra security and peace of mind.
We already know that the Traverse is priced very competitively in comparison to its competitors from Ford, Mazda, Nissan and the like; but what of fuel consumption and insurance?
Depending on the model you buy, the Traverse will come equipped with either a 73-litre or 82-litre fuel tank. This means that at current prices in the UAE you’ll be in for about 140 – 160 dirhams per tank of Special 95 (which you should be using on this motor). Chevy claims the Traverse will get between 7.65km and 11.5km to the litre of fuel, meaning you’ll be able to do between 500km and 900km on a tank of fuel, depending on your driving style.
A standard service shouldn’t cost you more than AED 1,000.
The good news is that all of the safety features installed by Chevrolet should have a positive impact on your insurance premiums. The chances of a low-speed impact or driver error are drastically reduced through the use of technology in the vehicle and insurers love that. It’s possible to get a good fully comprehensive policy from around AED 3,400.
If you ask us, if you’re looking for a big family crossover, the Traverse is a great buy. Priced reasonably within a fiercely competitive segment of the market, GM seems to have really done its homework with this second-generation model. It’s is a great, sturdy, family vehicle with great technology, outstanding safety, and some very subtle hints of premium luxury. It may not deliver thrills, but it ticks so many of the other boxes that you’re unlikely to care.