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While the name Traverse is not set in stone, the arrival of a Lambda-based CUV for Chevy is. Joining the Saturn Outlook, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave will be this model caught for the first time on the Las Vegas strip, of all places. Condenamed the GMT 561, the Traverse is on a fast track to production and will likely be built at GM's Springhill, Tennessee plant starting in August of 2008, which means it should be labeled as a 2009 model. Chances are we'll see its first public debut at either the Detroit Auto Show in January or Chicago show in February.

While it's hard to tell based on the spy shots, the front end will likely carry styling cues over from the new Chevy Malibu, which is fine with us. The only real question is whether or not the Traverse will grow Lambda sales, or merely cannibalize them from its siblings. We expect it would be the value leader among the group, slotting below the Outlook in price and equipment. Does the Traverse make for one too many full-size CUVs in GM's stable? Perhaps, but at least the "new GM" is badge engineering vehicles that are good to begin with, spreading the wealth around its brands rather than saddling them with poorly made copies of below average vehicles.

[Photos: Brenda Priddy & Co.]

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