2013 Chevrolet Traverse

2013 Chevrolet Traverse Review

We drive Chevy's updated crossover.

By: Tim Healey

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: October 5th, 2012

Spot a 2013 Chevrolet Traverse on the road, and you might not realize that Chevy's mainstream has gone under the knife. That's because Chevy chose evolution over revolution for this one, so any changes are subtle.

The exterior is refreshed, although most changes are subtle, save for the grille. The interior is redesigned, but it doesn't stray too far from before. The powertrain carries over from before.

Chevy's mid-size crossover has to hold off challenges from Ford's Explorer, Dodge's Journey, and the upcoming Nissan Pathfinder. We spent some time in the Traverse traveling across San Francisco and the Golden Gate to points north, and here's how it stacks up.

  • Features & Prices

    Although the "what's new" highlights are limited, there are some interesting new features. Chevy's MyLink infotainment suite is now available, along with a front-center airbag. A rearview camera is now standard.

    Other available features include: a navigation system, Bluetooth, heated front seats, leather seats, a remote start, a sunroof, satellite radio, OnStar, fog lamps, remote keyless entry, a rear spoiler, a power liftgate, and a DVD entertainment system. There are three trim levels: LS, LT, and LTZ.

    Pricing starts at $30,340, not including the $825 destination fee.

  • On the Road

    The biggest difference between the old Traverse and this one is the handling--it feels nimbler on its feet, thanks to a suspension that was tweaked. It's still a heavy-feeling crossover, but it feels more spry than before, and that's a good thing. It does so without giving up any of its sure-footed stability. Managing to feel light while still feeling planted is a nice trick.

    Power remains at 281 horsepower (288 on models with a dual exhaust), and the Traverse feels fairly strong, although its weight holds it back somewhat. All-wheel-drive remains available, and front-wheel-drive remains standard.

    No one will mistake the Traverse for a sports car, and there are sportier crossovers out there, but it gets out of its own way without trouble.

    The ride is composed and stiff without punishing passengers, but it softens when rough pavement requires it.

  • Exterior

    The big changes are the grille and the taillights, and the tweaks, while subtle, do improve the Traverse's shape. It will take a sharp eye to tell the difference between the new Traverse and old one.

  • Interior

    Step into the cabin and the changes become more apparent, especially with the haptic touch (instead of buttons that need to be depressed, the icons respond simply to touch) center stack controls, which take some getting used to.

    We liked the soft-touch materials on top of the door and dash, and the quality of materials throughout is pretty good. We also liked the storage bin on top of the dashboard.

    There's plenty of leg and headroom up front, and the second row is accommodating for adults. The third row, however, is probably best left to little tykes, although most adults can manage for short trips.

  • Fuel Economy & Safety

    In addition to the new front-center airbag, the Traverse has the standard complement of airbags and electronic safety aids.

    Fuel economy is rated at 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway for front-wheel-drive models and 16/23 for all-wheel-drive.

  • Final Thoughts

    The Traverse remains what it was--a competent crossover that does everything well and blends into the background without much complaint. The styling tweaks give it a fresher look, and it feels a bit sprightlier on the back roads than before. It's a darn good crossover, even if it will never excite the enthusiast part of our brains.

    Buyers in search of sport will seek out the Explorer, specifically the new-for-2013 Explorer Sport, but the Traverse is more engaging than the Journey. We're intrigued to see how the Traverse does against the Pathfinder, which has yet to be put through its paces by the media.

    Regardless of that potential outcome, we find the Traverse to be a pleasant crossover companion.

    In this case, evolution trumps revolution.

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