While it is true that the Chevy Traverse shares its platform with the popular Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia, there are plenty of styling cues and interior treatments that will give you a good feeling you are in a Chevy. And if that is not enough, then take a look at the sticker price and the value compared to others in this class.
If you like the family-hauling capabilities and versatility of a minivan, but struggle with the idea of driving one, crossover SUVs like the new Chevrolet Traverse might be just what you've be looking for.
The Traverse, like most crossover SUVs is car-based. Yet, Traverse is a competent people hauler with seating for up to eight, provides great versatility, plus it boasts an impressive 5,200-pound towing capacity.
First introduced at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse is practical and appealing.
The Traverse is infused with styling cues inspired by the successful Chevy Malibu. I like Traverse's bold front-end and pleasing lines.
Although Traverse shares its platform with the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and Saturn Outlook, there's no confusing Traverse for anything but a Chevy. And I mean that in a good way.
Slip inside the Traverse and you'll be greeted by a spacious, comfortable and versatile cabin. The first and second rows of seats offer plenty of head and leg room. Buyers can choose between captain-style, or a split three-passenger bench for the second row.
The third-row seats, although not entirely adult friendly, are actually easier to get in and out of than most others in this class. Plus, there seems to be a bit more room for average-sized adults in Traverse's third-row.
Additionally, with the third-row seats in use, there's still substantial room for storing gear or packages.
The 2009 Chevrolet Traverse is available in LS, LT, and LTZ trim levels. The LS is well-equipped, while the LT adds goodies like 18-inch alloy wheels, enhanced visibility side mirrors, rear park assist, and driver information center.
A second LT trim level (2LT) adds a remote starter, power liftgate, rearview camera system, Bluetooth, and automatic climate control.
My Traverse 2LT tester was equipped with optional ($1,775) leather seats that were heated and quite comfortable.
I was surprised to find that on cold mornings, the remote starter in my tester not only warmed the cabin, but also turned on the seat heaters, too.
All 2009 Chevy Traverse models are powered by a sophisticated 3.6-liter V-6 engine with gasoline direct fuel injection. That means the fuel is injected directly into the combustion chamber as opposed to the intake port. This helps reduce emissions while helping improve performance and fuel economy.
The V-6 in the LS and LT trim levels provides 281-horsepower while the LTZ trim level and its dual exhaust help boost the V-6's horsepower to 288.
The engine burns regular gasoline. It's mated to a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission. The combination is very likable for its quietness, smoothness, and quick acceleration.
Power goes to either the front wheels (FWD) or all four wheels (AWD). The Traverse features a long and wide wheelbase that lends itself to a stable, secure ride, regardless of road type or vehicle speed.
Traverse's suspension does well at providing the right amount of give without feeling too mushy. The Traverse handles surprisingly well for a large vehicle. Traverse is excellent for around town or across-town excursions.
I couldn't think of a better vehicle in this segment for that family road trip.
2009 Chevrolet Traverse FWD 2LT
Engine: 3.6-liter (281 hp) V-6
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Fuel Economy: 17 city/24 highway
Base Price: $33,515
As Tested: $37,500 (includes $735 for destination)