click above for more high-res live shots of the 2009 Chevy Traverse

As was previously mentioned, Autoblog is here at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, doing our best to bring you up to speed on all the latest live reveals. We made it down to the GM booth early in the morning for the official debut of the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse, and it was pretty much exactly as we expected: another Lambda crossover, platform mate to the GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook and Buick Enclave. Looks-wise, the Chevy Traverse is not the least attractive Lambda (looking at you, Outlook), but the Acadia and Enclave have it beat. Though Chevy claims that it used styling cues from the Malibu midsize sedan in the Traverse's design, we don't think they work as well on a CUV of this size. Especially note the grille, which apes the current Chevy design language to a tee. As Alex mentioned, the headlights look a little mean in pictures, but less so in real life. We like the upswept rear quarters, which remind us of the Enclave - by far the best looking Lambda. Other than that, everything remains status quo, with the 3.6 liter V6 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, your choice of front-wheel or all-wheel-drive and seating for either seven or eight.

The presentation that GM put on for the Traverse was much less agreeable than the actual vehicle. Involving a family of two parents and their four children (all actors, for sure) reciting a contrived script, it reminded us of a high school play, though thankfully was much shorter.


Chevrolet Announces the All-New 2009 Traverse

New Crossover Features Bold Styling, Sophisticated Details and
Best-in-Class Fuel Economy from a Direct-Injected 3.6L V-6

CHICAGO – Introduced at the Chicago Auto Show, the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse is an expressively styled, well-equipped crossover that gives customers people-hauling and cargo-carrying capability typically found in larger SUVs.

With styling cues inspired by the acclaimed '08 Chevy Malibu, the Traverse delivers refined details with strong proportions and the bold front-end appearance found on all new Chevrolets. Traverse will start production in the third quarter of 2008 at GM's Spring Hill, Tenn. manufacturing facility.

"We think the Traverse is the right vehicle at the right time," said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. "It has great looks, utility and safety, with a driving experience typically found in smaller vehicles. But it delivers this with three rows of seating – including a third row that fits adults – and class-leading cargo space. The Traverse is following the formula that is bringing Chevy back to a new generation of consumers – great styling, loads of class-leading features and tremendous value."

The '09 Traverse is offered in LS, LT and LTZ models, in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations. Product highlights include:

* Distinctive design that highlights the new face of Chevrolet
* Optimized aerodynamics that enhance fuel economy and reduce wind noise
* Four-wheel independent suspension system
* StabiliTrak electronic stability control system
* Family of 17-, 18- and 20-inch wheels
* Second-row Smart Slide seat feature, for easy access to the third-row seats
* Rear-seat entertainment system with second-row controls
* Six standard air bags, including side curtain air bags that deploy over all three seating rows
* OnStar with Turn by Turn Navigation and Direction Download (with navigation system)
* XM Satellite Radio with XM NavTraffic, a real-time traffic feature (with navigation system)
* Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity
* Cruising range of more than 500 miles (800 km)
* Exceptional attention to detail and strong build quality

Sleek, sophisticated design

The Traverse casts a unique profile with a sleek, smooth and flowing design that characterizes the new, global face of Chevrolet. Elements such as chrome-ringed grille inserts, available projector-beam headlamps and large wheel-and-tire combinations highlight the vehicle's finely honed attention to detail.

Taut body lines and minimal overhangs convey the image of a smaller vehicle, reinforcing the Traverse's feeling of a large vehicle that drives smaller, while tight tolerances between body components – enhanced by the vehicle's unitized body structure, which enables wraparound, single-piece fascias – emphasize a highly precise build quality.

"The Traverse delivers a design that is unexpected from Chevrolet," said Michael Burton, director of design for the exterior. "Many of the details are typical on higher-priced vehicles, but the Traverse brings them to a level that is accessible to more customers."

Some of the upscale design details include:

* Deep-set grille inserts with chrome-ringed trim
* Turn signals integrated in the outside mirrors
* Expressive taillamps
* Rear spoiler integrated over the tailgate window
* Roof rails designed to enhance the sleek appearance when a roof rack is not in place
* 20-inch Ultra-Bright aluminum wheels (standard on LTZ models)
* Dual, bright exhaust outlets
* Panoramic, power-operated sunroof

"The headlamps, for example, are more than merely projector beam units; they are integrated in stylized housings that are rich and detailed, reinforcing the high-tech features found throughout the Traverse," said Burton.

Like the exterior, the Traverse's interior is a confluence of refined styling, technology and attention to detail. The instrument panel has a dual-cockpit design that is a hallmark of Chevrolet's heritage; it flows into the door panels, creating a sleek, highly detailed appearance. The instrument panel is mounted in a "low and away" position that enhances outward visibility.

The instrument panel houses a pair of large gauge binnacles that are accented with bright trim rings; and for so-equipped vehicles, the available navigation system screen is integrated prominently at the upper-center of the instrument panel.

The Traverse's interior can be configured for seven or eight adults, including two front bucket seats, a 60/40-split second-row bench (three passengers) or two second-row captain's chairs (two passengers) and a 60/40-split third-row bench seat. Perforated leather seats and second-row captain's chairs are available. The third-row seat is capable of comfortably seating adults while simultaneously providing best-in-class storage space behind it.

Great amenities

Complementing the Traverse's exterior and interior designs is a comprehensive roster of standard and available amenities that enhances the driving experience for the driver and passengers alike. They include:

* Rear ultrasonic parking assist
* Rear-view camera
* Outside mirrors with spotter mirrors
* Power liftgate
* Extended-range remote vehicle start
* Heated windshield fluid
* DVD entertainment system
* DVD navigation system (with OnStar Destination Download and XM traffic routing)
* Heated and cooled front seats
* XM Satellite Radio with XM NavTraffic, a real-time traffic feature
* Heated, power-adjustable outside mirrors with blind-spot mirrors
* Power folding outside mirrors with integrated turn signals
* OnStar (with one year of Directions & Connections service) with Turn by Turn Navigation and, with the navigation system, Direction Download.

GM's Five-Year/100,000 Mile Powertrain Limited Warranty continues to make GM a better choice for customers. GM's coverage focuses on the complete ownership experience and includes other provisions that competitors do not offer, including transferability to the next owner, more complete coverage of parts, and coverage for new and certified used vehicles. In addition, GM offers complementary programs such as courtesy transportation and roadside assistance.

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