Mountain Wheels: Refreshed Chevrolet Traverse Offers Extremes in Cargo Space
I still have an unusual affinity for the Chevrolet Traverse, a chunky but officially midsize crossover SUV that I last drove in its current configuration in 2019. I spent another week in the slightly updated 2022 model. updated – a bright red RS all-wheel-drive edition priced at $50,040 with that custom paint job, dual sunroof and tow package – and again found it very attractive, for very different reasons from those of the similarly sized Pathfinder and Grand Cherokee.
Part of that was the excitement of actually having another national test vehicle—after what ended up being a year-long delay in the Traverse’s production run. Another part was seeing how the observations I had made about Traverse and the new Tahoe and Suburban one-size-fits-all models really came true.
When she arrived in 2009, she had this sort of amorphous plumpness that made it a bit difficult to distinguish between Acadia and the Enclave. The second-generation vehicles, which debuted in 2017, offered a boxier shape and frankly Ford Explorer style, which made them more distinctive and felt a bit more related to full-size models.
Come full circle as GM’s new full-size SUVs take that upright, flat stance and push it enough to provide true third-row passenger space.
So maybe I liked Traverse because it was kind of state-of-the-art—in its own understated Chevrolet style. And now, for 2022, Traverse itself gets some minor updates in the form of a more aggressive grille that looks a lot like the Tahoe and Suburban.
The slightly sportier RS edition features a blacked-out grille and fascia, with slim LED headlights and upside-down L-shaped LED running lights surrounding potted running lights. All of this is topped by Traverse’s multi-ridged, high-edge hood, the high corners of which flow into the window frames and unfortunately create very large reservoirs for snow to accumulate overnight. Since it’s not really a Tahoe, you can always reach out and brush things off.
At the rear there are also new LED taillights, which extend to the side of the vehicle, as well as a slightly old-fashioned but actually bumper-shaped bumper, with shaped exhausts trumpet below.
Other changes for 2022 include heated and power-folding side mirrors on the upper trims, a new roof rail design and a number of new wheel styles, including the 20-inch dark aluminum wheels on my vehicle. test. And, like every other manufacturer, if you want everything dark, there’s a very black Midnight Edition. Additionally, the available rear entertainment system is no longer an option, but there are plenty of USB power points for charging your family’s devices and multi-user WiFi access.
Yes, it doesn’t quite have the flashy electronics of the new Grand Cherokee or all the bells and whistles of the luxury brand, but my guess is that dedicated GM buyers aren’t quite ready to go. Committing to the increasingly high cash needed for a full midsize SUV will find the Traverse an attractive choice.
A big part of that is the size of the vehicle, which is large enough to require a bit of planning in parking spots but not outrageous. The tradeoff is an absolutely massive 98.2 cubic feet of cargo space if you drop both the second-row and third-row captain’s chairs.
This provided super easy space for me, two passengers and a whole load of ski gear, or can be configured to provide quite comfortable sliding second row seats and third row seats for seven children in total, with those second rows widely spaced -row seats. There is also a large self-contained storage tank below the aft deck.
I also remain satisfied with what is apparently Traverse’s only engine option, a 3.6-liter V6 that produces a useful 310 horsepower worthy of a Chevy. Front-drive models can get up to 27 mpg on the highway; my AWD machine hovered at 22-25 mpg, depending on my driving.
The switchable AWD system is controlled by a large button on the lower console, with a standard 2WD mode and an off-road setting, though I keep it set for AWD on all but the driest roads.
I found the nine-speed transmission shifted so precisely at times that it felt like a turbocharged vehicle, and a toggle on the shifter allowed manual downshifts in cols.
The seats are wide and flat and a little flashier on the RS model, with interior detailing highlighted with lots of shiny plastic-coated metal and chrome as well as heaps of gloss black under a very flat dash.
Chevy’s comprehensive Safety Assist package is now standard on all Traverse models, including lane-keep assist, forward emergency braking and pedestrian braking. Buzzing seat alert and adaptive cruise control are available on higher-level models.
Andy Stonehouse’s “Mountain Wheels” column is published Saturday in the Summit Daily News. Stonehouse has worked as an editor and writer in Colorado since 1998, focusing on automotive coverage since 2004. He lives in Golden. Contact him at [email protected].