The big news is all up front, where the 2013 Traverse features what Chevy is calling the new face of its crossover utility vehicles. It includes a three-bar upper and two-bar lower grille design, as well as a "powerdome" hood, though no changes have been made to the direct-injected 3.6-liter V6 underneath. Though everything was redesigned ahead of the A-pillars, the rest of the body was left alone until you reach the D-pillars. Aft of those you'll find a redesigned rear end with new taillights and liftgate and a relocated license plate pocket.
Chevy has tinkered with the interior too, but not much. The Traverse's biggest selling point has always been its voluminous interior passenger and cargo space, and that hasn't changed. The most noteworthy addition inside is that of MyLink, GM's branded infotainment system that supports Bluetooth voice and audio, as well as apps like Pandora and Stitcher.
Minor suspension adjustments round out the rather short list of changes for this mid-cycle refresh. The segment's current leader is the aforementioned Explorer, which sold around 135,000 units last year. The Traverse wasn't too far behind with sales surpassing 107,000 units. Our guess is that these 2013 model year changes probably aren't enough to unseat the Explorer, but should be enough to keep the Traverse selling well in this quickly growing segment.
• New athletic exterior debuts Chevrolet crossover utility face
• More refined interior with class-leading space for cargo and up to eight passengers
• New and industry-exclusive safety features including front center air bag
• Improved car-like ride and handling
NEW YORK – The new 2013 Chevrolet Traverse crossover-utility vehicle offers families a new gathering space with greater style, refinement and safety. It goes into production later this year, building on the space, comfort and efficiency that have made Traverse popular.
"The new Traverse is a family vehicle without compromise," said Chris Perry, vice president, Chevrolet Global Marketing and Strategy. "It is more capable than many sport-utility vehicles, with as much room as a minivan and better functionality than both. The Traverse is clever, capable and confident – and there when you need it most."
The 2013 Chevrolet Traverse has a new, athletic exterior design, complemented by a more expressive front end that introduces a new face for Chevrolet crossover utilities.
The front features a new shape supported by a powerdome hood, a three-bar upper and two-bar lower grille design, new lamps, chrome accents around the grille and fog lamps, and sculpted front corners similar to the Malibu sedan. The new design captures the overall character of Chevy's new car lineup, for a consistent family resemblance.
"We have injected a stronger presence into the Traverse exterior by focusing on the details," said Phillip Zak, GM director of exterior design. "The small but important changes give it a more vibrant personality that more closely reflects the lifestyles of the families who rely on the Traverse to get them through their busy lives."
At the rear, redesigned lamps and the license plate pocket are positioned in the new liftgate for a sportier look.
New family gathering space
Space is the hallmark of the Traverse interior. With its class-leading spaciousness, comfortable and flexible seating for up to eight adults, and more cargo-carrying capacity than any other vehicle in its segment, the 2013 Chevy Traverse builds on these established attributes by offering an interior environment with new features and refined appointments.
Upgraded materials include soft-touch surfaces on the instrument panel and front door uppers, contrasting stitching, chrome and silver accents, and available blue ambient lighting that flows through the cabin.
A new center stack showcases a 6.5-inch color touch radio with the available Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system. MyLink allows customers to seamlessly integrate their smartphones for hands-free calling through the audio system and Bluetooth streaming of popular internet radio favorites Pandora and Stitcher. The center stack also has large and illuminated climate controls that are easier to use and have a more upscale feel.
The front seats now feature articulating head restraints that can be adjusted up or down and fore and aft for greater comfort. The eight-way power passenger seat includes leather trim. New wood trim treatments are standard on LT and LTZ.
Adding to the overall feel of quality, the fit and finish of the interior panels have been improved on all models. The new Traverse will come with three interior color choices, in cloth or leather, including Ebony and Mojave, Light Titanium and Dark Titanium, and Ebony.
Passes the parent test
The Traverse passes the parent test with three rows of seating standard on all models, flexible seating configurations, class-leading people and cargo-carrying capacity, and family-friendly entertainment and other features.
Traverse's second-row seat comes with a pair of captain's chairs or a three-passenger bench. Each incorporates Traverse's child-friendly, second-row SmartSlide feature that enables unobstructed access to the third-row bench seat with one hand – and is easy for children to operate.
The third-row seat can comfortably accommodate three adult passengers. Traverse's 24.4 cu. ft. (691 liters) of cargo room behind its third row is larger than many full-size utility vehicles. Traverse also has easy-to-operate safety belts, up to 12 cup holders and an available rear-seat entertainment system.
Efficient power and car-like ride
Traverse has a long 118.9-inch (3,019 mm) wheelbase, with a wide 67.8-inch (1,721 mm) front track and 67.4-inch (1,712 mm) rear track – a combination that enables smooth, stable ride and handling characteristics.
Efficiency in the Traverse comes from a technically advanced 3.6L V-6 with fuel-saving direct injection technology and continuously variable valve timing. It is mated with a six-speed automatic transmission with improved shift feel that results in more confident acceleration when the driver needs additional power to enter the highway or pass another motorist.
The engine is SAE-certified at 288 horsepower (215 Nm) and 270 lb.-ft. of torque (366 Nm) with dual exhaust (281 hp/210 kW and 266 lb.-ft./361 Nm with single exhaust). Its direct injection fuel delivery helps produce power similar to many V-8 engines and uses regular unleaded gasoline.
The transmission controls have been revised to provide quicker and more consistent shifts. Along with additional transmission hardware changes, the Traverse is expected to continue to deliver among the best fuel economy ratings of any eight-passenger (FWD) utility vehicle.
Ride and handling improvements have been made through the use of rebound springs in the front struts that increase roll control. New shock valving has been employed for low-velocity control to deliver a smoother ride at lower speeds.
The available intelligent all-wheel-drive (AWD) system provides increased traction on slippery roads by actively managing the torque distribution between the front and rear axles, based on factors such as wheel speed, throttle and surface conditions. There is no driver intervention; the system automatically decides how much torque to apply and delivers it to the wheels that have the best traction.
Traverse maintains capability to deliver improved ride and handling, offering utility-like towing capacity of up to 5,200 pounds (2,358 kg).
Smart and safe family hauler
The Traverse is among the safest vehicles on the road today, previously earning top honors and recognition from leading third-party organizations and in government crash testing.
For 2013 it enhances its safety reputation with the industry's first front center air bag. It is engineered to provide additional restraint to drivers and front passengers in far-side impact crashes, where the affected occupant is on the opposite, non-struck side of the vehicle.
When a severe impact occurs, the air bag deploys in milliseconds from the inboard side of the driver's seat and inflates between the driver and front passenger, providing added protection for both front occupants.
"While no restraint technology or feature can address all body areas or all potential injuries, the front center air bag is designed to address field-relevant, side-impact crashes that are not addressed by current regulatory or consumer metric test conditions," said Gay Kent, GM executive director of Vehicle Safety and Crashworthiness. "It works with the vehicle's other air bags, safety belts and structure to deliver a safer occupant environment."
Additional safety and security features:
• Available Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert systems (standard on LTZ) use radar to watch spots the driver may not see – and provide visible and audible warnings to help prevent collisions.
• Standard head curtain side air bags with rollover protection for outboard occupants in all seating rows. In addition to providing protection in moderate-to-severe side crashes, the roof-mounted head curtain air bags will deploy in a rollover to help provide increased occupant protection and containment.
• StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation technology is standard on all models and incorporates full-function traction control.
• Standard rearview camera system is designed to provide the driver with added capability to view what is in the rearward path of the vehicle.
• Standard four-wheel-disc brake system with ABS featuring smooth, quiet operation, longer pad life and more resistance to brake pulsation.
• Safety belt pretensioners reduce forward movement during a collision, and are standard on the front safety belts, along with load-limiting retractors that help limit the belts' impact on the occupants' chest. The dynamic locking latch plate locks to hold the occupants' pelvis in place.
• LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat attachment system is included in outboard second-row seating positions.
• Tire pressure monitoring system is standard on all models.
• Strong body structure to absorb crash energy and provide a protective "safety cage" around occupants.
• Standard hill start assist brakes help reduce the tendency of a vehicle to roll forward or backward on a hill after the brake pedal is released by momentarily retaining pressure on the brake discs.
OnStar is standard on all Traverse models. It uses GPS and cellular phone technology to automatically call for help in the event of a crash. OnStar subscribers also can use the service to be Good Samaritans by sending help to other motorists, and to call for help in other non-crash emergencies.
• OnStar is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and information services in the United States and Canada.
• Six months of complimentary OnStar Directions and Connections service with Turn-by-Turn Navigation for easier route guidance comes on all Traverse models. The feature is easy to use because all directions are sent to the car by an advisor, without the need to stop. Turn-by-Turn can be cost-effective, since map updates and aftermarket navigation systems are not needed.
• Stolen Vehicle Assistance helps police track the vehicle.
• OnStar Mobile App allows owners with Android™ or Apple™ smart phones to remotely start the engine, lock and unlock doors and view vital vehicle information such as tire pressure, fuel tank level, range, remaining oil life, etc.
For 2013, Traverse is offered in LS, LT and LTZ models (with two LT packages: 1LT and 2LT), in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations. It is built in Lansing, Mich. Pricing is not announced.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com