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2018 Chevrolet Traverse Review: First Impressions and Photo Gallery

18Chevrolet_Traverse_AS_AC_07.jpg 2018 Chevrolet Traverse | Cars.com photo by Angela Conners

CARS.COM — The Chevrolet Traverse has grown 2 inches longer with its 2018 redesign, and that’s a good thing.

Most expected the new Traverse to follow the GMC Acadia’s lead and switch to a smaller chassis, drop a ton of weight and cut the third-row room drastically. But that’s not what’s happened here: The new Traverse — on display at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit — is built on the same chassis as the outgoing one. It’s kept its sizable footprint and even added to it. There’s more interior room for passengers.

More 2017 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

From the outside, the 2018 Traverse doesn’t look that different until it’s parked alongside the old model, and then the changes stand out. The side window treatment now has a distinct separation between front- and rear-side windows and the rear three-quarter windows. The previous generation had one large sweeping bodyside daylight opening.

18Chevrolet_Traverse_AS_AC_05.jpg 2018 Chevrolet Traverse | Cars.com photo by Angela Conners

The front end is pure Chevy, but it has more in common with the new Malibu and Cruze than the truck side of the family. There’s more sculpting in the sides too, and the wheels have been pushed out to the edges of the arches, giving the new Traverse a more muscular, imposing stance. It’s attractive, but it looks huge, especially in pictures. The RS sports-oriented model looks even more imposing with its blacked-out trim instead of chrome, but the overall look is definitely handsome.

18Chevrolet_Traverse_AS_AC_12.jpg 2018 Chevrolet Traverse | Cars.com photo by Angela Conners

Inside, there’s an all-new interior that brings a lot of the modern Chevrolet look to the new SUV. It’s big inside — even bigger than before — with a noticeably spacious second-row seat and a third row that can even accommodate my bulky 6-foot frame with ease. The new tumbling seat design also makes getting into and out of that third row easier, and the positioning of the rear-quarter windows means that every seat has plenty of light — nobody feels like they’re in a cave. Considering that this is basically GMs’ minivan-alternative answer to the Honda Odyssey or Chrysler Pacifica, it has to be big and versatile inside.

18Chevrolet_Traverse_AS_AC_17.jpg 2018 Chevrolet Traverse | Cars.com photo by Angela Conners

The powertrain is a carry over, the ubiquitous 3.6-liter V-6 is standard, but the interesting engine will be the turbocharged four-cylinder in the RS trim. With a sports suspension and the differences in torque delivery that the turbocharged engine should deliver, I’m eager to see how this version works. Its most obvious competitor is the Ford Explorer Sport, which has a much more powerful turbocharged V-6 EcoBoost and a similar size.

18Chevrolet_Traverse_AS_AC_18.jpg 2018 Chevrolet Traverse | Cars.com photo by Angela Conners

I’m glad that the new 2018 Chevrolet Traverse didn’t go smaller like its GMC sibling did. Sometimes a big SUV is what you need. What may be interesting is how the new Traverse will affect sales of the Tahoe SUV, a more traditional body-on-frame truck-based SUV that features less interior room than the similarly sized Traverse. Chevy maintains that there’s room in the showroom for both, and they attract different customers due to their different abilities — the Traverse hauls people, the Tahoe hauls trailers. I predict they both will remain popular, given the low price of gas and the resurgent sales of big trucks. 

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