2018 Chevrolet Traverse Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Jan 10, 2017
  • Redesigned 8-passenger crossover SUV
  • Bigger on the outside, smaller on the inside
  • New RS and High Country trim levels join lineup
  • Standard 3.6-liter V6 engine
  • Available turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine
  • 9-speed automatic transmission
  • Front-wheel drive with optional all-wheel drive
  • Improved interior storage, safety systems, infotainment technology
  • Still has more cargo space than a Tahoe
  • Built in Lansing, Michigan


2018 Chevrolet Traverse front quarter left photo


Among the largest vehicles in its competitive set, the redesigned 2018 Traverse is a midsize crossover SUV that carries just as many people and more cargo than the more expensive, full-size Chevy Tahoe. When it goes on sale, Chevrolet expects the new Traverse to compete with the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, and Toyota Highlander.

Exterior Features

Though it appears to be a bit chubby-cheeked, the 2018 Traverse’s sheet metal is tautly drawn at both ends and the available 20-inch wheels nicely fill out the SUV’s swollen fenders. The result is a visually planted stance with a slightly aggressive, forward leaning appearance.

Front and rear, the Traverse features LED lighting. Premier and High Country models have D-optic LED headlights. Blacked-out rear roof pillars create a wraparound glass effect and the appearance of a floating rear roof section. The Traverse’s tidy tail also features dual, integrated, trapezoidal exhaust outlets.

Historically, the Traverse and the GMC Acadia were the same size. Now, that’s no longer the case. Not only in the new Traverse slightly bigger than the old Traverse, it also has a wheelbase 8.4 inches longer than the GMC, is 10.7 inches longer, 4.7 inches taller, 3.2 inches wider, and sits on a track that is a minimum of 2.5 inches wider.

Plus, the new Traverse weighs 400 pounds more than the Acadia (though it shaves more than 350 lbs. off the old Traverse’s curb weight).

Interior Features

Chevrolet is confident in its new crossover, claiming it provides best-in-class overall passenger volume, third-row seat legroom, and maximum cargo space.

Equipped with seating for eight people and cup holders for 10 drinks, the 2018 Traverse is clearly ready for family-hauling duty. Standard Active Noise Cancellation provides for a quieter interior, and an improved split-folding Smart Slide second-row seat allows the curbside portion of the seat to tip up and slide forward even if a child safety seat is installed in this position.

Interior storage expands this year with Chevrolet claiming the 2018 Traverse has additional interior storage options and larger bins. In fact, the company characterizes the center console storage area as “truck size.” There are even spots designed specifically for tablet computers and umbrellas.

While cargo volume measurements are smaller than the previous Traverse, they remain more generous than the full-size Tahoe. Behind the third row seat, the new Traverse supplies 23 cubic feet of space, and that figure includes the storage bin beneath the cargo floor. Fold the third-row seat down for 58.1 cu.-ft. of space, or fold both rows of seats to maximize volume at 98.5 cu.-ft.

Note that that figure is still just two-thirds of what a minivan can provide.

Optional Features

A hands-free power tailgate with programmable height adjustment is available for the new Traverse, and it comes with a Chevrolet bowtie logo lamp that illuminates the ground where the owner needs to place his or her foot to activate the feature. Additional options include heated and ventilated front seats, and a dual-pane sunroof.

New for 2018, the Traverse RS Package adds a blacked-out exterior appearance including a black chrome grille, black bowtie badges, and dark-finish 20-inch wheels. New High Country trim installs Loft Brown leather with simulated suede accents, power folding third-row seats, polished 20-inch aluminum wheels, and more.

Under the Hood

A new 3.6-liter V6 engine is standard equipment for the 2018 Traverse, making an estimated 305 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 260 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,800 rpm, which is good for a maximum tow rating of 5,000 pounds.

The V6 engine is paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission, and employs automatic engine start/stop technology to improve fuel economy. Chevrolet predicts the V6 will return 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive.

Available only for the Traverse RS, a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine cranks out 255 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 295 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,000 rpm. This engine also uses the 9-speed automatic transmission and automatic engine stop/start, and Chevy estimates fuel economy numbers of 20-mpg city/23-mpg highway with front-wheel drive.

Traction Mode Select technology is standard with either engine, providing Normal, Snow, and Haul/Tow driving modes. With the optional all-wheel-drive system, those modes include Normal, 4x4, Off-Road, and Tow/Haul.

Two different all-wheel-drive systems are offered for the Traverse. The most common one disconnects the rear wheels from the drivetrain in order to reduce frictional losses and improve fuel efficiency. The Traverse High Country is equipped with an exclusive twin-clutch Advanced AWD system that provides greater off-road capability.

Other engineering details include a MacPherson strut front and five-link independent rear suspension, 4-wheel-disc brakes with Duralife rotors designed to last for 80,000 miles, and variable-effort electric steering with Active Return Assist.


Two important new safety features are standard on every 2018 Traverse: a Rear Seat Reminder system and Teen Driver technology.

The Rear Seat Reminder system sounds an alert if the driver opened one of the Traverse’s rear doors before setting off on the just-concluded journey. The goal is to eliminate the possibility of leaving a child or a pet in the car, unattended. Teen Driver technology allows parents to program specific vehicle attributes and then receive a report detailing how the Traverse was driven while it was away from the family home.

In addition to these features, the new Traverse offers available adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with lane keeping assist, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist. A 360-degree Surround Vision camera system is also available, along with rear parking assist sensors and automatic high-beam headlights.


Every 2018 Traverse is equipped with a MyLink infotainment system. More affordable versions of the SUV include a 7-inch touchscreen display, while more expensive variants have an upgraded 8-inch display that includes a hidden dashboard storage compartment behind the screen.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone projection systems are included with both versions of MyLink, along with OnStar subscription services with an available 4G LTE Wi-Fi internet connection. Wireless device charging is available, and the Traverse supplies up to seven USB ports spread throughout all three rows of seats.

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