After skipping the 2017 model year, the all-new 2018 Chevrolet Traverse debuts, launching the second-generation of this three-row crossover SUV. New this year is an available turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission, offering more proof that Chevrolet intends to win your business.

Best Value

The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse offers standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive. Customer have a choice of seven trims: L, LS, LT Cloth, LT Leather, RS, Premier, and High Country. A 3.6-liter V6 engine is standard; a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four cylinder is available. A nine-speed automatic transmission is the only gearbox available with either engine.

The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse LT Cloth with a starting price of $36,095 (including a $995 destination charge). We chose all-wheel drive, which offers enhanced handling on slippery roads and while towing. The LT Cloth trim, despite its name, is quite different from the LT Leather – aside from the leather upholstery, the LT Cloth misses out on navigation, a surround-view camera, blind-spot monitoring, 20-inch wheels, power liftgate, Bose audio system.

The LT Cloth does add fog lamps, power-operated and heated side mirrors, roof rails, and 18-inch aluminum wheels, a power-controlled driver’s seat with lumbar support, and seven-passenger seating with second-row captains chairs. That's in addition to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a rear-view camera, and HID headlights that already come standard on the Traverse.

A Convenience and Driver Confidence Package is included on the Traverse LT Cloth, but only with all-wheel drive – go with the standard front-wheel drive and this packages requires $1,795. We recommend getting it, though, because it introduces remote start, navigation, a rear power liftgate, an eight-inch touchscreen, heated front seats, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking sensors.

  • Model: 2018 Chevrolet Traverse LT Cloth
  • Engine: 3.6-liter V6 engine
  • Output: 310 hp/266 lb. ft
  • Transmission: 9-speed automatic transmission
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
  • MPG: 18 City / 27 Highway
  • Options: All-wheel drive ($3,800)
  • Base Price: $36,095 (plus $995 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $39,895

Performance

Chevy Traverse

We like the Traverse’s 3.6-liter V6 engine, which we found lively off the line and an adequate supplier of power as it picks up speed. You’ll find passing maneuvers wholly sufficient, whether navigating local roads or on highways. The transmission is just as good, shifting unnoticeably in lower gears and capably finding the right gear under hard acceleration.

But the Traverse’s steering is flat, even lifeless at times. What has improved over the first-generation model is the Traverse’s handling, thanks to MacPherson struts in the front for nimbler control. Stout brakes bring this crossover to a smooth and controlled stop, something you’ll appreciate with the gang onboard or when towing.

Chevrolet is offering the Traverse with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder, but under no circumstances should you consider it. Limited to the RS trim, the 257-hp 2.0-liter is less powerful, less efficient, more expensive than the LT Cloth, and is only available with front-wheel drive. Avoid at all costs.

Style

Chevrolet’s styling direction with the 2018 Traverse seems surprising — it is about as conservative as you’ll find in this segment. The Traverse’s front fascia isn’t especially aggressive, despite its gaping lower intake. It's all a bit bland, especially considering how expressive the last-generation was when it debuted (to be fair, it didn't age well).

Inside, the look is much more inviting, with ample room in the first two rows, although it is tight for the third row. An assortment of soft-touch materials, some plastics and brightwork trim grace most models. The center console seems pickup truck inspired, ported perhaps from the Silverado with its high, wide layout. This isn’t a bad thing as it meshes well with the Traverse and is designed to hold up under the abuse of youngsters who might escape their second-row car seats and fiddle with the controls (when the Traverse is parked, of course).

The Best and Worst Things

Chevrolet offers a generous suite of technologies, including standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility. You’ll also find six standard USB ports — with two in each row, and OnStar with built-in 4G LTE wifi.

On the other hand, the top safety technologies are reserved for the top-trim models only. This forces families to opt for pricier models to get the features they want or do without. This isn’t the sort of dilemma families should have to face.

Right For?

Chevy Traverse

Customers who visit yard sales. With nearly 100 cubic feet of available storage space, the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse can easily carry a dresser or most anything else that might fit in a truck bed.

Wrong For?

Families with teenagers, especially if you regularly tote soccer or baseball players. The third row is tight for tall passengers. You’re better off looking at the Suburban or even a Chrysler Pacifica instead.

The Bottom Line

Plain styling aside, the all-new Chevy Traverse is a clean and welcome departure from the first-generation model. Its strong V6 engine, advanced technologies and enormous cargo hold make this a strong contender in a highly competitive segment.