Overview

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Overview (Final Score: B+)

The Chevrolet Traverse has been fully redesigned for the 2018 model year, with key changes in fuel efficiency, engine power, rear seat legroom and more cargo capacity. In the venue of midsize three-row crossovers, the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse is bringing serious competition by resetting the expectations of the segment.

The three-row Traverse offers a lot to growing and busy families. On the exterior, it holds a good design with a premium-styled look. Inside it's roomy and comfortable with a variety of cargo and passenger configurations that can be swapped around as needed. More infotainment as standard and a long list of available safety equipment are also high points.

To go with the full redesign for 2018, Chevrolet also added more trim levels to give Traverse buyers the option of dipping into premium-level equipment and style without going to a premium brand to do so. In this way, the high-end 2018 Traverse High Country is comparable to the Buick Enclave in most respects. We like that General Motors is willing to cross its brands this way, giving buyers more options.

The 2018 Chevy Traverse comes in seven trim levels, one that has a different engine, and seating for up to eight. Both front-wheel and all-wheel drive are available.

What We Love About the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse:


  • Excellent interior with roominess on par with a minivan

  • Good drive quality thanks to the well-tuned V6

  • Solid price offerings across the trim levels


 

What We Don't Love About the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse:


  • Unknown reliability due to the Traverse being all new

  • Sporty RS trim is fun, but not terribly fuel efficient

  • Lack of driver aids except at the top-most trim is disheartening


 

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Exterior View (9/10)

On the outside, the new 2018 Chevrolet Traverse is a smart-looking crossover SUV with a solid presence. The nose of the Traverse is sharp but not pointed or overhanging, with the wheels pushed toward the edges of the vehicle for a more sporty look.

Fender bulges, especially at the rear, help bring a sense of power to the rig, while the straight lines of the lower glass and beltline push rearward to match the lightly-sloping roofline. The rear pillar is behind the rear door and forward of the cargo space, creating the now-popular floating rear cargo window. It's a good look overall that brings a mixture of premium feel and contemporary appeal for the mainstream buyer.

Hood lines on the 2018 Traverse are well defined and simple, adding to the crossover's luxury look. The raked windscreen and wide gaps in the wheel wells promise some power but are tempered by the smooth design around them.

We're fans of the overall look of the 2018 Chevy Traverse. Eighteen-inch alloy wheels are standard on the Traverse, with only the RS trim having 20-inch wheels as an upgrade. The RS trim also has a blacked-out grille and unique styling cues for its sportier build. LED headlights are available on most trims and are standard on the top-level Premier and High Country trims. The Redline Edition package for the Premium trim also blacks out the chrome trim and grille, and adds a panoramic sunroof and red-edges badges.

Featuring a bold and refined new look, the completely redesigned 2018 Chevrolet Traverse is built of style and purpose. The all-new Traverse offers customers best-in-class cargo space and convenience features that make loading and unloading a breeze.

Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (10/10)

The interior of the 2018 Traverse is very well done with an eye toward a premium appeal and family ergonomics. The driver's position features excellent controls layout, and a smart mix of comfort and road-readiness. The front passenger enjoys plentiful legroom and lots of visibility to the front and sides.

In the second row, seating is very comfortable, especially if the optional captain's chairs (standard on some trims) are used instead of the bench. This gives seating similar to the front for the second-row passengers, as well as a nice walk-through for getting to the third row. The second-row bench folds forward and slightly up to give easier access to the third row if the captain's chairs aren't opted for.

The third row in the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse is one of the best we've been in. With the exception of the premium-level Buick Enclave, which the Traverse shares much in common with, and the Ford Flex, we've never seen an adult-friendly third row like the new Traverse's. Thigh support is unusually good for a third row and headroom is phenomenal. In addition, the new Traverse's design added three inches of legroom to the third row and almost that much to the second row. This may be the roomiest midsize three-row in the class.

Some of the extra room in the second and third rows came thanks to a reduction in cargo space behind them. Yet most won't notice, as the cargo space is still better than that found in most rivals. Especially when all rows are folded and maximum cargo allowance is needed. The Traverse with all rows down rivals many minivans for interior cargo usability.

Technology (9/10)

We have become big fans of the Chevrolet MyLink system, with its faster responses and more robust design. The user interface is occasionally a bit wonky, but that's only when deep diving into menus to find very specific minutiae. There are two USB charging points in the back for passengers as standard, with more available in some trim points. The infotainment includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a 120-volt outlet is also available.

The Traverse does not offer adaptive cruise control in any but the uppermost trims, which is a serious oversight on Chevy's part. This tech is becoming ubiquitous and nearly expected by buyers today, and that could hurt the Traverse's appeal for many.

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Fuel Economy (8/10)

Compared to some rivals, the 2018 Traverse doesn't seem as efficient on paper. In the real world, it's on par with its competition and better than many, especially given its passenger load capabilities and towing capacity.

The EPA rates the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse in all-wheel drive at 25 mpg on the highway and 18 mpg in the city. Front-wheel drive models are rated at about a point higher in town and two points higher on the highway. During our week with the crossover, we saw an average of 22 mpg overall in FWD with varied passenger and cargo loads making up the mix.

The Traverse RS model and its four-cylinder engine are EPA-rated at 22 mpg combined, with 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (8/10)

As of this writing, there are no solid reliability expectation numbers to go from for the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse. Previous years' returns are not relevant to the all-new Traverse, so our guesses are based on the brand's expectation and recall history thus far. So far, no recalls have been issued for the 2018 Traverse and the Chevrolet brand and its standard warranty (3 years/36,000 miles) are on par with the segment. We expect the Traverse to do well in overall reliability.

Safety (9/10)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released crash test results for the 2018 Traverse, giving it an overall best-available score of 5 Stars. The Traverse received four stars for frontal crash tests, four stars for rollover, and five stars for side crash testing. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not yet released crash test results for the Traverse.

The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse has a full suite of passive and advanced safety features available and a high expectation for safety. As such, we are giving it a high score here.

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Performance (9/10)

The 2018 Chevy Traverse is powered by a well-vetted 3.6-liter V6 engine that mates to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard on most trims and all-wheel drive is optional. The engine outputs 310 horsepower, more than enough to make the Traverse feel confident in all situations.

We tested the FWD model in our week with the Traverse and were happily engaged by the engine's spirited response on the throttle push and strong capability on the road, no matter the weather conditions. We drove the Traverse in wintry conditions and on warm days with clear roads, and were more than satisfied with its fuel efficiency and response.

The 2018 Traverse is not a sport car, but its maneuverability generally belies its size. Visibility is as good as it can be in a vehicle of this girth and length. Suspension and ride quality are very good in the Traverse and a big step up from years past. Steering can be a bit too smooth at times, but only the most engaged drivers will notice.

When equipped, the 2018 Traverse is capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds.

Pricing and Value (9/10)

The 2018 Traverse offers a solid mix of accouterments and livability for today's buyer at a reasonable price compared to the market. Most will likely see the LS trim as the base level, given that the L is special order only and comes very stripped down.

Many buyers will find their sweet spot in the LT Cloth trim point, at around $35,000 as a base offering. We suggest adding AWD and a few interior upgrades to the build to put the vehicle at around the $40,000 mark. At that price the 2018 Chevy Traverse is on par with any competitor you can name, and will have more interior space and better daily use design than most.

Total Score and Competitive Comparison (71/80, 89%)

The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse is competitive with several three-row crossovers in the midsize segment. There is definitely no lack of options for today's buyers, so cross-comparing is highly recommended. Chief competition for the Traverse comes from the Mazda CX-9, Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot. The top-selling Ford Explorer is also competitive, though we'd suggest the Ford Flex as a better three-row option.

Compared to the CX-9 and Pilot, the Traverse offers more interior ergonomics and better fuel economy for the buck. The Mazda has a great drive quality and a smart look, keeping it competitive, while the Pilot holds the best reputation for reliability in this segment.

The Toyota Highlander is as ergonomic for families as the Traverse is. It offers similar levels of refinement and exterior appeal, but will likely be pricier off the lot. Ford's options are tough sells due to the Explorer having a less family useful interior and the Flex being somewhat polarizing in its exterior appeal.

The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse sets a new standard for the midsize three-row segment and definitely brings a lot to the table. We recommend cross-shopping the upper trims of the Traverse with its Buick Enclave cousin, for price matching luxury. In the end, there is no reason for disappointment should the 2018 Traverse be your final purchase choice because this new Traverse is excellent.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
SUV - AWD
LS AWD 1LS V6 AWD 34600
LT Cloth AWD 1LT V6 AWD 38900
LT Leather AWD 3LT V6 AWD 43700
Premier AWD 1LZ V6 AWD 47900
High Country AWD 2LZ V6 AWD 52600
SUV - FWD
L FWD 1L0 V6 FWD 29930
LS FWD 1LS V6 FWD 32600
LT Cloth FWD 1LT V6 FWD 35100
LT Leather FWD 3LT V6 FWD 41700
RS FWD 2LT 4 Cylinder FWD 42600
Premier FWD 1LZ V6 FWD 45000

Comparison of 2018 Chevrolet Traverse with Similar Cars

2018 Chevrolet Traverse MSRP Invoice
2018 Chevrolet Traverse $29,930 $29,780
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee $30,895 $30,745 2018 Chevrolet Traverse VS 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee
2018 Ford Edge $29,315 $28,288 2018 Chevrolet Traverse VS 2018 Ford Edge
2018 GMC Acadia $29,000 $28,855 2018 Chevrolet Traverse VS 2018 GMC Acadia
2018 Honda Pilot $30,900 $28,259 2018 Chevrolet Traverse VS 2018 Honda Pilot
2018 Nissan Murano $31,000 $29,108 2018 Chevrolet Traverse VS 2018 Nissan Murano

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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