GM is upping its game to take advantage of the huge shift from passenger cars to utility vehicles. Following the makeover of the Chevy Equinox, General Motors’ big brand is rolling out an all-new version of the Traverse at the North American International Auto Show.
The mid-range, three-row model grows a bit bigger on the outside and a lot roomier inside for 2018. Nonetheless, it’s also a fair bit lighter than the outgoing Chevy Traverse, something that will translate into a smoother, more nimble ride – and notably better fuel economy.
The debut of the 2018 Traverse is part of what Brian Sweeney, the U.S. chief of the Chevrolet brand, calls a “major onslaught” of new products aimed at taking advantage of the growing surge in SUV and crossover-utility vehicle sales.
The Traverse is one of Chevy’s more important entries into the ute market, but it has been lagging rivals like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander, so the GM brand is hoping to build some momentum with the launch of the new, three-row replacement.
“We’re going to ask Traverse to do a lot more us in 2017 and beyond,” said Steve Majoros, Chevy marketing director, during a media backgrounder on the new model.
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To help broaden the ute’s appeal, Chevy will add two new, high-end trim levels, the Traverse RS and the High Country.
Despite growing about 7 inches overall for 2018, GM has put a premium on improving performance and fuel economy. As a result, engineers trimmed a hefty 362 pounds of mass off the new model. While final EPA fuel economy numbers aren’t yet available, the Traverse will cut as much as 1 second off its 0 to 60 times, now at 7 seconds with its 3.5-liter V-6.
That engine will make 305 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque – enough to pull a 5,000-pound trailer. Preliminary estimates suggest a 25 mpg highway rating, and 18 in the city.
The alternative is a new turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four making 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Its preliminary mileage numbers are 20 city, 23 highway. Like the V-6, the turbo package is paired to a nine-speed automatic.
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Chevy claims the 2018 Traverse will have segment-best passenger space and 98.5 cubic feet of luggage capacity – the cargo bay accessible through a hands-free liftgate,
The new split-folding second-row seat can now move aside, even with a child seat in place, to ease access to the back row.
Considering the fact that three-row utility vehicles have become the alternative of choice for buyers who might normally opt for a minivan, the new Traverse offers a number of family-friendly features like a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, USB charge ports for all three rows, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the MyLink infotainment system and a choice of 7- and 8-inch touchscreen displays.
Safety features include forward collision alert with auto braking, lane keeping assist and front pedestrian braking.
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Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date for the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse.
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