Despite the Traverse's age, sales have remained solid, and Chevrolet has sold more than half a million since it went on sale in October 2008. The new Traverse will be available in seven trims. All but the RS will get General Motors' 3.6-liter V6 and a new nine-speed automatic transmission. The engine makes 305 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.
Despite the name and the sporty, blacked-out appearance package that goes along with it, the Traverse RS only comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and front-wheel drive, though with 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of twist (it does make more peak torque than the V6). We were hoping for something to compete against the surprisingly quick Ford Explorer Sport and its 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6.
The rest of the trims carry over from the previous Traverse, including LS, LT, and Premier, with the new High Country trim topping the range. That model nets you LED headlights, leather and suede seats, standard twin-clutch AWD, and a power folding third row. All-wheel drive will be available on all but the RS trim. Chevrolet expects about a 40-percent AWD take rate, like the outgoing model.
The Traverse was already one of the roomiest crossovers available, but this new one packs in even more space in the second and third rows. The wheelbase is massive, meaning the third row doesn't have to sit right on top of the wheels. Cargo space behind the seats grows as well. While access to the third row isn't as easy as it would be in a minivan, the second row will slide forward even with a child seat in place. That should be good news for growing families. Extra bins and cubbies are scattered throughout the cabin, providing space for snacks, sunglasses, or smartphones.
The design gets a much-needed update. The outgoing model received a refresh a few years back, but it still felt behind both the competition and Chevrolet's other offerings. Outside, the Traverse looks far more masculine, poaching some design cues from the full-sized Tahoe and Suburban. Up front, the Traverse adopts the current corporate face, but out back you wouldn't be faulted to thinking this was a Ford Explorer, not a Chevrolet.
Inside, the Traverse gets the latest and greatest tech that Chevrolet has to offer. This means Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, a seven or eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, and USB ports for all three rows. There are a number of optional safety features, like surround view cameras, lane-keep assist with lane-departure warnings, pedestrian braking, forward collision alert, and automatic braking.
The AWD system allows the rear to be completely disconnected from the front, increasing fuel economy. Front-wheel drive models are rated at 18 city/25 highway for the V6 and 20 city/23 highway. Combined and AWD ratings haven't been announced.
When asked about if the Traverse may cannibalize Tahoe sales, a Chevy spokesperson said that there isn't much cross-shopping between the two models. Tahoe owners tend to want a tough, truck-like vehicle with an big tow rating. The Traverse is more calm and car like.
Chevrolet also hinted at another crossover that will slot between the wide gap between the Traverse and the Equinox. This will most likely be based on the GMC Acadia, which shrank for its second generation. The previous Acadia shared a platform with the Traverse and the Buick Enclave. Expect more news of that in the coming months.