Jumping from the relatively athletic Equinox into the all-new 2018 Chevrolet Traverse is a big change, more seats, more space, more everything. It’s like going from a dainty French Bistro’s slice of quiche to Denny’s Philly Cheesesteak Omelette. Chevy’s family hauler is now bigger than before and avoids you having to buy a minivan, which these days are hard to find anyway. The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse is all-new with improvements to engine power, fuel efficiency, the aforementioned space, it’s now a stylish way to get 7 or 8 people from A to B.

I like the exterior design, it doesn’t look as big as it really is and the creases and overall lines make it look elegant. Our tester was a High-Country model so had almost every option checked, including cool looking Iridescent Pearl Tricoat paint.

Under the hood is a 3.6-liter V6 with 310 hp and 266 lb-ft mated to a smooth shifting 9-speed automatic transmission. Our tester was the AWD version switchable to 2-wheel drive if needed. This combination resulted in a 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds, a tad slower than the lighter Equinox, but swift nevertheless. This is all thanks to its massive weight loss over the outgoing model.

Soccer Practice or Mountaineering?

Both, since the Traverse has a well-tuned suspension that keeps all four wheels planted, a quick shifting transmission that doesn’t hunt for gears, all which make for controlled and rapid progress. The laws of physics still apply though, add too much speed into a corner and the car will under-steer, which is to be expected. Drive with less gusto and it musters a decent turn of speed on back roads, helped by decent steering and plenty of power. Ride comfort is pretty good, the suspension irons out most bumps and ruts and even on dirt truck trails everything is smooth and calm.

At the helm you have a commanding view of the road and when things get tight in parking lots, the under the door mirror cameras give you a bird’s eye view of the lines and the curb, making parking a breeze. The steering is light but precise and the brakes were effective in bringing the 4,300-lb. traverse to a stop, with no signs of fade.

The Traverse I had, came with a host of safety and driver-assistance features including Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, 360-degree surround bird’s-eye view, side blind zone and rear cross traffic alerts, and rear parking assistance with an audible warning. Our High-Country model also had automatic high beams, forward collision alert and following distance indicator, front pedestrian braking, and finally, lane keep assist with lane departure warning.

Spacious Interior

The new extended dimensions mean the Traverse has more passenger and cargo space than pretty much anything in the class, including the Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, and Mazda CX-9. It’s even out sizes the very large Volkswagen Atlas. Seated in the Traverse you’ll find the power adjustable seats comfortable, plenty of space in the second-row captain’s chairs and room for 3 smaller folks in the 3rd row and finally your black lab at the rear. The captain’s chairs are standard in the version I drove but on lesser models you can get a second-row bench and seat eight.

There’s plenty of tech here too, Wi-Fi, USB ports in every row, wireless charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It has more than 20 storage bins and a huge center console cubby as well as the secret compartment behind the 8-inch infotainment screen. Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system is still one of the best with touchscreen controls that are intuitive and easy to use.

Materials inside are good quality with some harder feel plastics reserved for the lower sections but all in all Chevy has a done a good job in making this feel like a quality product. In the High-Country seats are leather

Verdict – Room Room

Except for the 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 Ford Explorer Sport, the Traverse has more power than all its competitors, more room inside than any of its competitors and one of the best and smoothest stop/start systems out there. True our loaded High Country was $54,590 but they start at $29,930, which is a lot of car for the money. Combined with the fact that it handles itself very well proves you don’t have to sacrifice if you need and you really have a great a family hauler.

2018 Chevrolet Traverse Numbers

VEHICLE TYPE: Front-engine, FWD/AWD, 7-passenger, 4-door hatchback
BASE PRICE: $52,600
ENGINE TYPE: 3.6 liter, DOHC 24-valve V-6
POWER: 310 hp @ 6,800 rpm
TORQUE: 266 lb-ft @ 2,800 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 9-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
CARGO VOLUME: 23 ft³ behind 3rd row, 57.8 with 3rd row folded, 98.2 ft³ with 2nd and 3rd row folded
CURB WEIGHT: 4,362 lbs
ZERO TO 60 MPH: 6.5 seconds
TOP SPEED: 130 mph
OUR OBSERVED: 17.3 mpg
PROS Slick transmission, acres of interior room
CONS Somewhat thirsty when pressed