2018 Chevrolet Traverse: Rough with the Smooth

With styling inspired by Chevrolet’s full-size SUVs, enhanced 4x4 capabilities and cutting-edge technologies, the new Traverse is a masterclass in the art of balancing form and function

With their commanding driving position and authoritative stance, SUVs are about making a statement on the road, as much as they are about venturing into the great outdoors. However, designing a great looking SUV is a bigger challenge than most would imagine.

For a start, the large proportions don’t necessarily lend themselves well to sleek styling. Aerodynamics is a serious consideration, too, as air flow around the vehicle severely affects factors such as refinement in the cabin and, more importantly, fuel economy. A handsome SUV, then, is the result of carefully considered decisions that are a meticulous balance of design and engineering.

Styled by the Chevrolet truck design studio, the new Chevrolet Traverse is the perfect example of great SUV design; it brings the crossover formula closer to Chevrolet’s full-size SUVs. Design-wise, it is more upright, giving it a decidedly imposing stance -- a nod to its bigger 4x4 siblings such as the Tahoe and the iconic Silverado. The sheet metal is more chiseled than before and the bold new front-end features a larger hexagonal grille lending an air of authority to the front fascia. The purposeful proportions are further complemented by premium cues such as chrome accents, LED signature lighting and available D-Optic LED headlamps.

The immense attention to detail is further evident in the spacious interior, which is appointed in high quality materials and premium wood and leather in the High Country model. The quality of the cabin is further enhanced by an array of available connectivity and safety technologies unprecedented in the segment.

“The all-new Traverse blends Chevrolet’s characteristic SUV cues with capability and refinement,” says John Cafaro, Executive Director, Global Chevrolet Design. “Inside and out, it offers style with a purpose.”

Things are no less impressive on the performance front and the new Traverse’s handsome looks are backed by a potent powertrain that delivers amply in both on- and off-road driving situations. Propelled by a comprehensively reengineered 310 hp 3.6L V-6 engine, mated with an all-new, state-of-the-art 9-speed automatic transmission that provides virtually indiscernible shifts, the new Chevrolet Traverse is as exciting on the move as it is standing still.

While the new drivetrain delivers about 30 horsepower more than the previous iteration, it also returns a truly remarkable combined fuel economy of 11.9 Km/L in FWD guise. On the road, not only is the new Traverse composed, comfortable, quiet and refined, the stellar on-road performance is complemented by suitably boosted off-road ability and a gusty trailering capacity of up to 2,268kg when properly equipped.

While all available models have an available all-wheel drive variant, the top-end High Country variant benefits from an exclusive system with twin-clutch technology. The computers in the High Country variant can channel torque to the wheels with the most available grip to optimize traction in virtually every driving condition nature can throw at it. It’s meticulously engineered to enhance road holding in wet conditions, as well as, loose dirt and grass to ensure safe, unimpeded progress despite the driving surface.

The off-road capability is further bolstered by a New Traction Mode Select function, which is available for the first time in the Traverse and is standard across the range. With up to four driving modes on offer, the system allows the driver to make real-time adjustments to the vehicles performance, based on the driving condition. In FWD mode, the system disengages the AWD components for improved fuel economy, while in Off-Road setting (available only in AWD models) more torque is channeled to the rear wheels for improved driving on gravel, loose surface or grass. The Tow/Haul mode helps keep the vehicle in lower gear, offering more torque, while towing a trailer.

The depth of engineering gone into the development of the 2018 Traverse is also evident in the drastic loss of mass over the previous model. Spec-for-spec, the new Traverse is a substantial 136kg lighter than its predecessor, which, coupled with the new variable-assist Electric Power Steering and a new 5-link independent rear suspension, allows for nimbler, more confident handling.

With an overall new design and best in class interior volumes, the new Chevrolet Traverse delivers everything that’s expected from Chevrolet in an exceptional family SUV and some…