2010 Chevy Traverse: Clean Machine
June 23, 2010
After my first stint in our long-term 2010 Chevy Traverse, I'm digging it quite a bit more than I thought I would. My sentiment began even before stepping inside, as this is one cleanly styled SUV. I think Chevy is starting to get its mojo back with this minimalist, mid-west-sparse design language (the Impala is another revived example). Sure the logos are big, but like towering silos on a Nebraska plain, there's plenty of featureless space for them. This puppy is big, but hides most of it with smooth.
Easily the best looking of the Lambdas (topping even the purposeful GMC Acadia), the Traverse speaks to the shopper who actually needs the cargo space, three rows, and some towing capabilities, but wants none of the lux-SUV frippery of the chrome-happy Enclave. Sleeker than any minivan, the Traverse takes those same practical attributes and jacks up the floor. You lose cabin height, but the added ground clearance opens up a whole new avenues of soft-roading and you'll never fear that steep driveway approach again.
Like other Lambdas, the Traverse could probably shed four or five hundred pounds, but from behind the wheel, it feels far lighter than it looks. Low-effort steering helps, as does a compliant but not floppy suspension tune. The long wheelbase helps it track down the interstate like a freight car, and it manages to handle flowing pavement in a composed way at pace that makes you think, "Hmm, not bad...". You will miss the deep well of torque from GM's awesome push-rod V8's, but the Traverse makes up for most of it with the revvy D.I. V6 and a quick-witted tranny.
Slam the Traverse and you've got the Flex, which makes ingress/egress and cargo loading easier, and feels less liner-like around town. The Traverse provides better views however, and the worse the roads are where you live, the more you'll appreciate that added ride height. Either of the new trucksters avoids the minivan-shame stigma, with nearly the usefulness and now a smaller mpg penalty. The Traverse's tall, handsome, corn-fed styling seems to speak clearest to the ex-Tahoe/Expedition crowd, a market that would gain much from embracing it.
Paul Seredynski, Executive Editor @ 6,013 miles