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2008 Chicago Auto Show: 2009 Chevrolet Traverse

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  • Competes with: Mazda CX-9, GMC Acadia, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot
  • Looks like: Chevy’s new big-mouth look is spreading to every new release
  • Drivetrain: 286-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 with six-speed automatic
  • Hits dealerships: Late 2008

If you’re a long-time reader or otherwise know your way around the GM family, you might be surprised to hear that Chevrolet is rolling out its own three-row crossover — one that’s nearly identical to the Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia. It also shares a lot with the more upscale Buick Enclave. The average person would ask why there’s a need for such a similar vehicle. The answer is simple: Chevy loyalists don’t have a large crossover option.

Dealers demanded a three-row crossover, and GM delivered. The Traverse does bump up the power in the same V-6 shared with the other three crossovers. The Traverse gets 286 hp — versus 270 in the Outlook and 275 in the Acadia — through some slight tweaking of the engine. GM is also saying it will get better mileage than any other vehicle in its class, but because of the long wait before it goes on sale there are no official numbers yet. The Outlook and Acadia get 16/24 mpg city/highway. 

The Traverse comes with stability control, rollover mitigation, a tire pressure monitoring system, side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags and 17-inch wheels standard. IIHS hasn’t crash-tested any of the GM three-row crossovers, but NHTSA has given them five-star awards for crash tests and four-star rollover ratings.

Did we mention the Traverse’s looks? Oops. The silver car in these press images really doesn’t help us come to a final conclusion. The new Chevy grille doesn’t look as good here as it does on the new Malibu, but slightly better than it does on the Aveo. The profile is totally boring but borrows its wavy shape from the Enclave, not the Acadia and Outlook. The backside is interesting, including taillights inspired by the upcoming Camaro. Still, we want to see another color. See what you think of the photos below. We’ll have more on the Traverse from the floor of the Chicago Auto Show on Wednesday.

Photo of David Thomas
Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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