CHEVY BUILDS A PORTABLE BERMUDA TRIANGLE ON WHEELS
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Tue, Jul 19, 2011
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
That giant sucking sound is coming from the vast interior of the Chevrolet Traverse crossover vehicle. With a cabin so cavernous, it can fit the entire Costa Rican army and their luggage. Small aircraft have been known to enter the back door, never to be seen again. It’s the automotive equivalent of The Bermuda Triangle. It’s the Chevrolet Traverse, and John-Fredrik Wright reports. By John-Fredrik Wright I don’t like the fact that the back-up lights of the Traverse come on when I unlock the doors. These lights are to tell other drivers what I’m doing, and will confuse drivers who don’t see that I have yet to get into the car in the first place, i.e. in a parking lot. This goes for all the GMs I’ve driven lately, not just the Traverse. There, I just had to say that. (Editor’s note: Many GM cars also do this when you turn the car off. This caused one police officer to draw his gun when he thought the Cadillac http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-forum/t-228888.html he pulled over was trying to back the car up against him. Fear not, consumers. You program the car so it doesn’t do that anymore.)
Now, the Traverse. Aah, what a transportation beauty. What agility. Just like I loved the Traverse’s maiden aunt, the Buick Enclave, the Traverse also tickles my senses. The Traverse is a little nicer to your wallet, which of course means that a couple features disappear because of that. The Traverse will, however, do most everything the Enclave does—and with almost the same amount of style (yeah, I like the Enclave’s exterior a little more… but only a little). Inside the vehicle is where you find the marvelous details that make this a great ride, so lets not get all bogged down with the exterior. The Traverse has the usual GM touches, such as OnStar, but this is not where my focus lies. There are some pretty neat features that make this a great car for the family on the go—like seven seats, for starters. And when I say seats, I mean those that can actually be used by adults, not only children. Sure, you might not put your best friend in that third row for long drives, but my brother-in-law sat there for a one-hour ride just fine.
Now, when we pick up our compatriots at the airport, there aren’t just bodies that need transporting, there is luggage too. So, for those keeping track, we now have five adults as well as three large suitcases and three carry-on sized suitcases. We easily folded two of the three seats in the third row to make room for the luggage, and still I had visibility to the rear and the passengers never complained about lack of spaciousness. For those times when you need even more room—like if you’re hauling something large from Home Depot—the third row disappears into itself (where does it all go?) and the second row, consisting of two captain chairs, folds down to make a flat surface throughout the entire loading area. Now you have room for a small boat in there if you pack it right. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but I’m nevertheless very impressed at how easily the seats fold and how much stuff the Traverse can swallow.
To continue the roominess-rant, I would like to propose that the Traverse is better at hauling stuff than the Tahoe (which I drove the week after the Traverse). The reason is simple: While you might get bigger things into the Tahoe (although I’m not completely convinced), a prerequisite is that you remove the third row. Well, that means you have to store that somewhere while you haul stuff in the Tahoe, while the Traverse driver can convert to a hauler without removing anything. So if you’re not allowed to remove anything from the car, the Traverse will beat the Tahoe any day. The Traverse is a great stuff-mover, but it does an even greater job at moving people. Comfortable seats—all four of the captain seats qualify as road-trip seats—and all the amenities you might need when driving to that far-away retreat. The movie screen for the rear passengers is, of course, great. But why the driver has to do the inserting of the DVD, I have never understood. There are a couple of smart autos where the entire DVD player is easily accessible from the rear seats. Sure I can see the fights as kids can’t agree on what to watch, but I sure think that that beats the driver having to fiddle with the DVD disk and enter it into the player. Anyhow, the Bluetooth headphones are a nice touch, and once it’s all up and running, the player does a great job.
The Chevroleers who thought of putting an extra little mirror on the Traverse should get a medal. Yes, it does look like a truck’s outside rearview mirror, and by truck I mean semi, but that little extra piece of mirror pretty much cancels out the blind spot all together. Many new and flashy cars have installed a radar system that warns the driver of cars in the blind spot. This is a much cheaper solution, and it gets the job done. Speaking of mirrors, the rear-view camera is located on/in the inside rear-view mirror. Confusing? Well, you can’t see it until you put the car in reverse, at which time a part of the mirror becomes a screen and shows you what is located behind you. The good news is that you can see both what the camera is seeing as well as what you would normally see through the mirror. The bad news is that the screen is too small to see details (such as exactly where that curb is), and there are no guiding lines like those found when using larger screens such as the one in the dashboard. Now don’t get me wrong, since there was no multimedia/GPS screen in this particular car, the mini-screen in the mirror was a great solution.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT The Traverse is a great family hauler—perfect for a road-trip, but also very flexible to whatever life throws your way. An extra kid? No problem. Picked up a dog from the pound? No problem. This car will adapt to your and your family’s life, so you don’t have to get a new car for each new happening in your life. If you think a station wagon is too small, an SUV too truck-like, and a minivan just doesn’t cut it; this car will do all those jobs without the respective downsides. For more information on Chevrolet products, go to chevrolet.com SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2011 Chevrolet Traverse AWD LTZ Price: $39,975 (base) $42,665 (and as tested including rear seat entertainment) EPA fuel economy rating: 16 MPG (city) 23 MPG (highway) Engine size and type: 3.6L VVT DOHC V6 engine with 24 valves and direct injection Horsepower: 288 @ 6300 Torque: 270 pound-feet @ 3400 Transmission type: 6-speed shiftable automatic Drive configuration: All Wheel Drive Steering (type): Variable-assist power steering Suspension (front and rear): Four-wheel independent suspension MacPherson strut front suspension Multi-link rear suspension Front and rear stabilizer bar Brakes and tires: 4-Wheel ABS P255/55R H all season tires Dimensions: Length: 205.0 in Width: 78.4 in Height: 70.4 in Curb weight: 5066 lbs