2016 Traverse New Car Test Drive
The Chevrolet Traverse is a large crossover SUV with big interior space, quiet comfort, and an easygoing ride. Traverse can be loaded with safety and convenience features. Seating either seven or eight occupants, this crossover has changed little since its 2009 debut, apart from a mild facelift for 2013.
Little is new for 2016, except for the addition of OnStar 4G LTE connectivity, which can provide a mobile wi-fi hotspot. A Leather and Driver Confidence package now is available for the 2016 Chevrolet Traverse LT.
For many owners, the Traverse serves as a practical alternative to a minivan. Built on a car-type unitbody platform, it delivers a more friendly driving character than does a full-size SUV built on a truck-type chassis. A Tahoe, for example.
Structurally related to the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia, the Traverse is among the roomiest vehicles in its class. Passengers enjoy plenty of space, actually approaching that of a big, truck-based Chevrolet Tahoe or Suburban.
In the rear are two 60/40-split benches for eight-passenger capacity, or captain's chairs may be installed in the second row. In that case, capacity drops to seven.
One dilemma, though, involves the Traverse's long rear doors. In contrast to a minivan's sliding side doors, theses biggies open wide, which may prove challenging when facing a tight parking-lot space, or trying to slip into a modest-sized garage.
Under the hood, a smooth-running 3.6-liter V6 with direct injection delivers 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, driving a 6-speed automatic transmission. Properly equipped, a Traverse can tow up to 5,200 pounds, though frequent towing calls for a Tahoe or Suburban.
Partly because the Traverse is a heavyweight, throttle response sets no records; and acceleration gets even lazier if all-wheel drive is installed. Fuel economy isn't a strong point, either.
On the safety front, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2015 Traverse a five-star rating overall. That included five-stars on all tests except for rollover, which earned four stars. Three trim levels are offered, and the top one (LTZ) includes Blind Zone and Forward Collision alerts, Lane Departure Warning, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
Front center side airbags are available, built right into the driver's seat. Siri Eyes Free also is available, letting the driver keep eyes on the road, not the iPhone.
The 2016 Chevrolet Traverse comes in three trim levels: LS, LT, and LTZ. Each uses the same powertrain: a 3.6-liter V6 mating with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available. Pricing for 2016 has not yet been established.
Well-equipped for families, with eight-passenger seating, the LS has cloth upholstery, a rearview camera, hill start assist, keyless entry, front/rear air conditioning, a tilt/telescopic steering column, power locks/windows/mirrors, cruise control, Bluetooth, and 17-inch steel wheels. Two USB charging ports are in the rear of the console. OnStar 4G LTE connectivity is standard.
Traverse LT adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel and woodgrain interior trim. Standard equipment includes rear parking sensors, heated mirrors, foglamps, remote start, eight-way power driver's seat, and 18-inch alloy wheels. A 2LT version adds a power liftgate, heated front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, and auto-dimming inside mirror.
Traverse LTZ features leather upholstery, second-row captain's chairs, tri-zone automatic climate control, voice-command navigation, heated/cooled front seats, and a group of driver-assist safety features. A panoramic sunroof is optional.