The all-new 2018 Chevrolet Traverse manages to improve on the old Traverse's shortcomings in every way, and yet also manages to upgrade the things we thought were just fine about the old model. With a passenger-friendly interior, ample cargo space, and easy driving manners, the Traverse competes against similarly fashionable 3-row SUVs, but with near-minivan-like utility.
You'll Like The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse If...
- 3-row midsize SUV is all-new for 2018
- Loaded with family-friendly features, storage, safety and tech
- Smooth V6 engine combines ample power with decent fuel economy
- One of our Best Family Cars of 2018
You May Not Like The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse If...
- Short on towing capacity
- The best tech only comes at the highest trim levels
- Not as easy to enter and exit as a minivan
The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse is all-new this year, sharing only its name with its predecessor. This midsize SUV boasts a longer wheelbase, more rear-seat room, better cargo space, choice of an updated V6 engine or new turbocharged 4-cylinder, and an excellent 9-speed automatic transmission, plus all the modern technology you could ask for.
The new Chevy Traverse interior features a big, bright infotainment screen complemented by an available full-color display between the main gauges. The front seats and 2nd-row seats offer up ample headroom and legroom, and the rear bench can accommodate three across without difficulty. The third row is tighter, but still acceptable for kids for long trips, and there's a ton of cargo space behind the third row even without using the hidden storage area under the floor. Some of the plastics lower on the dash and console feel a little cheap, and we wish there were thicker padding on the door armrest, but that's about the end of the gripe list.
The new Traverse is a sharp looking crossover SUV, looking something like a Chevy Tahoe that cut the carbs and hit the gym. It's actually longer than the Tahoe, with a longer wheelbase as well. The wide track and body-colored C-pillar give the Traverse an upscale but recognizably Chevy look. If you opt for the High Country you get multi-element LED headlights and more. The RS ups the aggressive factor with an all-black scheme with red backgrounds on all the badges. About the only quibble is the awkward placement of the word "Traverse" on the middle of the front doors.
There's no lack of power in the 2018 Traverse. Its 3.6-liter V6 engine smoothly puts 310 horsepower to the ground through the smooth shifting 9-speed automatic transmission. Unlike many other 8-, 9-, and 10-speed front-wheel-drive transmissions we've experienced lately, this one feels just right, downshifting quickly, getting to higher gears swiftly, and providing surprisingly good fuel economy. The turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that’s exclusive to Traverse RS models has less horsepower than the V6, but more torque. That combination, plus its forced induction, equals acceleration and passing power that feel on par with the V6, all while providing the snappy response inherent in a turbo engine. Unlike the V6, though, the 4-cylinder turbocharged Traverse only comes in front-wheel drive. Whether you choose the standard V6 or the intriguing 4-cylinder option, the Traverse’s suspension quells bumps big and small while keeping the SUV from leaning too far in corners. The sharp steering puts its electrical assist on the rack instead of the steering column, resulting in better feel, and the brakes not only provide sure stops but feel good doing it. We're not trying to oversell it, and the new Traverse isn't anybody's first choice for fun on a twisty mountain road, but neither is it intended to be. But on drives long and short, this SUV is surprisingly satisfying.
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the base, front-wheel-drive-only 2018 Chevrolet Traverse L is just under $30,900 when you include the $945 destination charge. A smarter jumping off point is the better-equipped LS for just under $33,000. LT models with cloth seats start at about $35,500, the LT with leather (and a lot more) start at a bit more than $42,000, the turbo Traverse RS is around $43,000, and the Premier is a pricey-but-competitive $45,400. The High Country adds standard all-wheel drive and more, at a price that's just under an eye-watering $53,000 -- that's matched only by the similarly lavish Ford Explorer Platinum and GMC Acadia Denali. Otherwise prices are competitive with the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, and the rest of the midsize 3-row SUV market. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid, and note that it's too early to tell how hard depreciation will hit the Traverse.
2018 Chevrolet Traverse L
Starting Price: $30,875 (FWD only, all prices listed here include $945 destination charge) | See this week's Fair Purchase Price
310-horsepower 3.6-liter V6
9-speed automatic transmission
Bluetooth and USB phone connectivity
Available 4G LTE WiFi hotspot
Manual driver’s seat
Three-zone auto climate control
Note: The L is the basest model, available in only two colors, and not available with all-wheel drive. Expect this one to show up in rental fleets, not private driveways.
2018 Chevrolet Traverse LS
Starting Price: $32,995 (FWD), $34,995 (AWD) | See this week's Fair Purchase Price
Deep-tinted side windows
Available all-wheel drive
Note: A step up from the rental-fleet L, the LS offers all-wheel drive and a slightly broader color palette.
2018 Chevrolet Traverse LT
Starting Price: $35,495 (FWD), $39,295 (AWD) | See this week's Fair Purchase Price
8-inch Chevy MyLink infotainment
Heated outside mirrors with turn signal indicators
SiriusXM satellite radio
7-passenger seating (8-passenger optional)
8-way power driver's seat
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
Note: Likely to be a volume model, the LT Cloth model also offers a full color palette, including premium paint colors and a choice of interior colors.
2018 Chevrolet Traverse LT Leather
Starting Price: $42,490 (FWD), $44,490 (AWD) | See this week's Fair Purchase Price
Surround-vision camera system
Blind spot and rear cross-traffic alert
Rear parking sensors
Remote vehicle start
Bose 10-speaker audio system
Color driver information center
Rear Camera Mirror
6-way power front-passenger seat
Note: The LT Leather adds much more than just cow hides to the seats, justifying its price, although advanced safety features like forward collision warning still aren't available on this trim.
2018 Chevrolet Traverse Premier
Starting Price: $45,395 (FWD), $48,690 (AWD) | See this week's Fair Purchase Price
Power tilt-telescope steering column
Heated steering wheel
Heated and ventilated front seats
Heated second-row captain's chairs
Hands-free power hatch
Note: For an extra $475 we recommend the Driver Confidence II package, which adds low speed automatic braking, forward collision alert, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, front pedestrian detection, and automatic high beams.
2018 Chevrolet Traverse High Country
Starting Price: $52,995 (AWD only) | See this week's Fair Purchase Price
Twin-clutch rear differential
Active cruise control
Lane keep assist and lane departure warning
Forward automatic and pedestrian braking
Note: This is the "kitchen sink" model, which offers the most equipment. It's also the only Traverse to offer active cruise control.
2018 Chevrolet Traverse Specs
- Engine: 3.6-liter V6
- Transmission: 9-speed auto
- Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive, All-wheel drive
- Horsepower: 310 hp @ 6,800 rpm
- Torque: 266 lb-ft @ 2,800 rpm
- Fuel Economy, FWD: 21 mpg combined (18 city, 27 highway)
- Fuel Economy, AWD: 20 mpg combined (18 city, 25 highway)
- Towing Capacity: 5,000 lbs
- Curb Weight: 4,362 lbs (L)
- Turning Diameter: 39 feet
- Wheelbase: 120.9 inches
- Length: 204.3 inches
- Height: 70.7 inches
- Width: 78.6 inches
- Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
All 2018 Chevy Traverse models come with a 3.6-liter V6 engine and 9-speed automatic (save for the RS model with its turbocharged 4-cylinder). The base L model (front-drive only) comes better equipped than you might expect, with six USB ports, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on the 7-inch Chevy MyLink touch screen, a rearview camera, Teen Driver monitoring tech, keyless ignition, and even a traction mode selection. There's also 3-zone automatic climate control, and seating for eight, including a SmartSlide 2nd-row seat that makes getting to the third row a snap. In addition to multiple airbags, standard safety equipment includes a rear-seat reminder that chimes a warning to make sure you're not leaving a little one back there.
Chevy Traverse LS, LT, Premier and High Country models can all be ordered with all-wheel drive. Beyond that, LS models get tinted glass and a wider color palette. LT models with a cloth interior add nicer wheels, fog lamps and roof rails. Order an LT model with leather, and you'll also get a surround-view camera, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts, parking assist, and an upgraded infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen. In addition to its small turbocharged engine, RS models add a power tailgate, Bose audio system and navigation. Premier and High Country models include LED headlights, memory seats, hands-free rear tailgate, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and heated and cooled front seats. The High Country also adds a dual-clutch rear differential, adaptive cruise control, and remote start.
The rearview camera uses a wide-angle lens to give you a commanding view of the world behind you, projected onto a screen on the rearview mirror. Best of all, if you don't like it, with a flick of the switch you're back to reflective glass.
The Traverse offers a cool little hidden storage compartment behind the infotainment screen, with a twist: The screen keeps working even if it's open, and you can lock the whole thing with a PIN if you like. There's also a massive hidden compartment under the cargo floor that's the same size in front- and all-wheel-drive models.
Under the Hood
The standard engine and the one that’s suitable for most buyers in the 2018 Traverse SUV is a 3.6-liter V6 with 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. It powers the front or all four wheels through a 9-speed automatic transmission. Developed jointly with Ford, the transmission's smooth shifts and rapid downshifts embarrass the ZF-built 9-speed automatic used in the Honda Pilot and elsewhere. All-wheel drive in the High Country uses a dual-clutch system for enhanced traction, while the rest of the lineup uses a single-clutch system. The turbocharged 4-cylinder in the Traverse RS makes up for its horsepower deficit to the V6 with more torque. Available only in front-wheel drive, the turbocharged Chevy Traverse provides satisfying and at times even invigorating power delivery. Like the standard model, it uses a 9-speed automatic transmission. Its tow rating is limited to 1,500 pounds versus 5,000 for the V6. Fuel economy for the V6 is pretty solid, topping out at 27 mpg on the highway in front-wheel-drive models. The 4-cylinder Traverse is only rated up to 26 mpg on the highway, but has a slightly better combined fuel economy than the V6 -- 22 mpg vs. 21. The caveat is that pricier premium-unleaded fuel is recommended for the turbo-4, while the V6 drinks the regular stuff. According to the EPA, you’ll actually spend more on fuel in a given year for the 4-cylinder Traverse RS than you will for the standard V6. All Traverse models use an engine start/stop that shuts down the engine at idle to save fuel. Unlike others with similar systems, though, this one cannot be disabled.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
255 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 mpg
310 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
266 lb-ft of torque @ 2,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 mpg (FWD), 17/25 mpg (AWD)
The all-new 2018 Chevrolet Traverse manages to improve on the old Traverse's shortcomings in every way, and yet also manages to upgrade the things we thought were just fine about the old model. The new Traverse is lighter by 350 pounds, offers more power, sharper styling, modern technology, and a top-of-its-class driving experience. That's saying something because its class includes the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, Ford Explorer, Volkswagen Atlas, and more midsize 3-row crossover SUV models. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard, and all-wheel drive (AWD) is available, depending on trim level. With seating for up to eight people, tons of cargo space even with the third row up, and better-than-respectable fuel economy, the new Traverse deserves a spot on every family-car shopper's list.