Skip to main content

The 2018 Chevy Traverse is Peak Crossover SUV

2018 Chevy Traverse
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Anyone who has watched any television lately knows by the glut of SUV commercials that there’s no shortage of models on the market. Luckily, you only have to care about one: the 2018 Chevy Traverse. Lighter, quicker, and more handsome than before, the 2018 Chevy Traverse might just be peak crossover SUV. With stellar engineering, all the bells and whistles you actually want, and supremely easy driving, this crossover SUV might just be the perfect everyday and road-tripping vehicle.

In early August, my old friend Laura Copelly and I were graciously allowed to take a 2018 Chevy Traverse AWD Premier for a three-day test-run from Detroit, Michigan to Traverse City in the north of the state. During the trip we used and, while I won’t say “abused,” I will say “trialed” the Traverse in every way we could imagine–and this vehicle never failed to be anything but excellent all-around.

Styling

Sleek, streamline, and much less curvaceous than its previous iteration, with a bigger, wider, more masculine grill and 20-inch machined-face Argent Metallic aluminum wheels, the 2018 Chevy Traverse no longer looks like a mini-van and a full-sized SUV had a baby. The Traverse is a family-friendly crossover with the cargo space, head space, and the passenger space of a bigger class with the looks of a luxury SUV any man would be proud to be seen in.

2018 Chevy Traverse
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Driving

Michigan, by nature, is a state built for cars and trucks. Its multiple highways criss-cross the state both East/West and North/South and, because Detroit is home to the Big Three Automakers (GM, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler), a car-culture was inculcated early on, and that cannot be escaped. Because of this, people drive really fast. Everywhere.

As a lover of a speed-driving myself, I felt right at home on Interstate 75, but was skeptical that the Traverse would have enough kick to pass adequately on a road that feels more akin to the Autobahn than the highway. But, thanks to the 3.6 L V6 SIDI VVT engine, an engineering redesign that trimmed 350 pounds from the vehicle, and 310 hp with 266 lb-ft of torque, when passing (or starting for that matter) the tiniest tap of the accelerator engages the nine-speed automatic transmission, pushing the Traverse smoothly through the gears and easily outstripping any competitor car in the right lane.

Even better than the Traverse’s pick-up and speed off the start is its handling. This vehicle definitely drives like something in a much smaller class. It takes sharp curves and tight turns easily without that feeling you sometimes get in an SUV where you feel like the car might just tip over with you and your dog or children in it, along with all your groceries and community lacrosse gear. We took the Traverse through several winding highways along the lake, as well as through a few state and national forests, and never felt like the vehicle was unwieldy or unstable.

Backing up in the Traverse is also a breeze thanks to its rear camera views and rear park assist, which in Chevy’s words: “Senses stationary objects and warns you if an object is too close. Guiding lines on the rear vision camera screen help when backing up.” Along with these fairly standard back-up technologies, the Traverse also has “surround vision,” which is a fancy way of saying that, through the use of cameras and sensors and a computer, you can view a bird’s eye view of the vehicle in the local environment–pretty useful for people who are terrible at parallel parking, but that’s not you…definitely not you.

Over the course of our 700 miles in the Traverse, our fuel economy clocked in a tiny bit below the advertised average of 25 mpg on the highway; we consistently averaged 24.5. As far as city driving goes, we exceeded the estimated mpg of 17 with an average of about 18 mpg. Those numbers, which are pretty damn good for a vehicle of this size and engineering, come both from that 350 weight loss and the start/stop technology employed, which shuts off the engine when stopped at red lights or bumper to bumper traffic and starts again seamlessly once the light turns green. Annual fuel cost for the 2018 Chevy Traverse is approximately $1,800.

2018 Chevy Traverse
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Interior and Connectivity

With smart styling, optional leather seats (with heating and ventilation), room for seven, captain’s chairs in the second row, a third row of seating, and nearly 93 cubic feet of cargo space, the Traverse has got interior design down to an art. Along with hidden storage compartments, a center console big enough to store a puppy in (we do not recommend this), the interior also sports over-sized windows allowing for panoramic viewing and the convenience of charging ports in each row. To top that all off, the second row has “smart slide” seating, allowing passengers in the third row to simply slide the second row seating away and at an angle from them, allowing for much easier entry and egress. The smart slide seating is also functional while holding an empty rear-facing child’s seat. For fathers with small kids, you know the hell of having to remove and replace child seats–this handy mechanism eliminates all that.

As for connectivity, the Traverse has all your new favorites including an 8-inch, diagonal color touchscreen with Chevrolet Mylink audio system, Bluetooth streaming, Apple Carplay and Android Auto capability, OnStar, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot with limited data trial, and an option for XM radio. Like most vehicles now, the Traverse’s connectivity capabilities were extremely functional and easy to use for both driver and passenger. The navigation system worked flawlessly, even through the winding roads of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and we had a blast playing random songs from our phones by simply plugging them into a USB port on the dash and hitting play. The automatic connectivity feature for smartphones was really the shining star of all the new tech. The overall easy of use and accessibility when it comes to tech in the Traverse makes this vehicle perfect for travelling both shorter and longer distances. I imagine a cross-country road-trip in this vehicle would be rather peaceful, with all the kids silently on their tablets and phones with no one arguing over the other’s monopolization of the only charging port and no one complaining of being too hot or too cold (thank you individual climate control).

Safety

For many people who don’t care about speed or style when it comes to a vehicle, their number one priority is safety. The 2018 Chevy Traverse has it all, including: forward collision alert, front pedestrian breaking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, forward automatic braking, rear cross traffic alert, rear park assist, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, teen driver tech, all the airbags you could want, and a rear seat reminder–possibly the best child-saving invention the auto industry has ever developed–which alerts you when you’ve left something in the back seat, whether that’s a briefcase, a pet, or, you know, a living human baby.

2018 Chevy Traverse
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Price

The 2018 Traverse AWD Premier version that we drove (excluding the duel Skyscape sunroof) has a price tag of $47,350. The lowest trim with AWD, the LS model, comes in at a respectable $34,995, and the top of the line trip, the High Country, will set you back $53,000.

Takeaway

For a man with a family, the 2018 Chevy Traverse is the perfect all-around SUV. With plenty storage, tech, and pep, it meets all the requirements for a handsome looking ride that can double as the traditional family car. And, even if you’re flying solo, the Traverse is great for guys who like to camp, fish, or just hit the road with the boys.

Chase McPeak
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Chase McPeak is the former Lifestyle Editor. Chase regularly appeared on Beards, Booze, and Bacon: The Manual Podcast where…
Report: The car brands that cost the least (and most) to maintain
Turns out Teslas aren't just cheap on fuel
Red Tesla Model 3 Performance facing straight on parked on dark metal plates with a dark wall in the background.

Buying a car can be expensive, but the costs don’t stop when you drive one off the lot. You also need to spend a significant amount keeping that vehicle in good working order. However, some brands cost less to maintain than others, and it turns out that Tesla produces some of the cheapest vehicles on the road as far as long term expenditure is concerned.

A study by Consumer Reports discovered that Teslas only cost the average owner just over $4,000 in maintenance over a ten-year period. In the first year, maintenance costs are expected to set owners back around $580, while they can expect to have spent around $3,455 keeping their vehicle in good condition after five years. You’re also unlikely to be hit with a heavy repair bill early on as Tesla, like most other manufacturers, has a warranty covering the first few years of a vehicle’s life.

Read more
The Ineos Fusilier: What you need to know
This BEV offroader has a gas-powered safety net
Ineos Fusilier in Yellow

U.K.-based off-roader manufacturer Ineos has a third vehicle on the way in the form of the Fusilier -- which looks a lot like a Mercedes G-Wagon. The Fusilier carries on from the likes of the Grenadier, which itself was heavily inspired by classic Land Rover Defenders.

It’s unknown if British manufacturer Ineos is primarily focused on providing modern takes on classic European offroaders, or if it is setting its sights globally. However, there are few who wouldn’t welcome another take on the Toyota Land Cruiser into the world. Ineos’ other confirmed line continues with the military role naming theme. The “Quartermaster” is the company’s take on the pickup truck.

Read more
What we know about Toyota’s new MR2 so far
The new MR2 is not for you
Second generation Toyota MR2

While it may be known for its pickup trucks and hybrids, Toyota also produces world-leading sports cars like the Supra. In 2026, it’s set to revive one of its best-loved mid-engine sports coupes after nearly 20 years. The MR2 was last manufactured in 2007, but a new version will be on sale in Japan in the near future. Here’s what we know about it.

Japanese motoring website Best Car seems to be the main source of information on the upcoming MR2 as things stand. It seems to believe that the coupe will pack 316 horsepower and 304 lb-ft of torque courtesy of the same 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-three engine you’ll find in both the GR Yaris and the GR Corolla. In terms of transmission choices, purists will undoubtedly be pleased that there is a six-speed manual option available. For those uncomfortable with a stick shift, you can still opt for an eight-speed automatic.

Read more