Lyons on Wheels
2021 Chevrolet Traverse
MSRP: $29,800 (base) As Tested: $51,030 (RS, AWD)
Sponsored by: Cobleskill Chevrolet Buick GMC
First introduced in 2009, Traverse is a midsize crossover offered in eight versions: L, LS, LT Cloth, RS, LT Leather, Premier, High Country and Redline Edition. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional on all models except L ($2,000-$2,600, depending on trim level).
Size-wise, the three row Traverse slots in between Blazer and Tahoe, in Chevy’s seven entry SUV/Crossover lineup. Cargo capacity is 23 cubic feet behind the third row, 57.8 cu-ft. aft of row two and 98.2 cu-ft. with all rear seats folded (which Chevy claims is best in class). A hand’s-free lift gate is optional. Lift over height in back is comfortably low, and there’s an additional stowage space hidden below the load floor. Row two seats adjust fore and aft, and have ample legroom for adults. Row three is kid-size, if those in row two are tall. And in any case, youthful flexibility comes in handy when entering or exiting the way-back seats. Speaking of in and out, my Traverse tester was equipped with the available, molded assist steps. Like most such steps, if you have big feet (or worse, booted big feet), there’s only room enough here to park your toes, so you wind up stepping over it. I’d suggest saving the $780, and using it elsewhere on the option sheet.
Sliding inside, the layout of controls is straight forward and minimally distracting. Traverse has the ¾-rear blind spots typical of big Utes. Tech workarounds include the following. A rear view camera is standard on all models. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert – optional on LT cloth trim level, standard on RS and above – are both highly recommended. Finally, HD Surround Vision (bird’s-eye view) and a rear camera mirror (wide angle with no obstructions) are standard on RS, Premier and High Country, and optional on LT Leather.
The center screen (7″ or 8″, depending on trim level) is easy to navigate, though it doesn’t take input from a winter gloved hand. Onboard navigation is standard on RS, Premier and High Country, and available on LT Leather. The infotainment system in Traverse is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and there are USB ports in every row. A 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot is optional, as is a Bose Premium sound system. Features like these allow your family/friends to use their phones and tablets to entertain themselves, while you’re driving (that is, if they don’t find your driving entertaining enough).
Handling is stable but not sporty; ride quality is smooth and worthy of long road trips. The powertrain pairs a 3.6L V-6 engine with a 9-speed automatic transmission. The engine is rated at 310 horsepower and 266 lb.-ft. of torque. It has plenty of pickup, and cruises quietly. Traverse can be equipped to tow a maximum of 5,000 lb., and its EPA fuel economy estimates are 17/25/20 – both the max tow and mpg numbers are right in the ballpark with the competition.
A 40 year resident of the Capital District, Dan Lyons is the author of six automotive books, and photographer of more than 200 calendars.