Subcompact and compact crossover/utility vehicles may be all the rage these days, but if you follow the money, you need to take notice of what Chevrolet says is the fifth-largest segment in the auto biz: midsize sport/utilities like the all-new 2018 Traverse that made its debut at the 2017 Detroit auto show, which gets a truckier look even as it becomes more car-like under the sheetmetal.
The new Traverse will feature a number of updated power plant options.
GM North America president Alan Batey, also Chevy's global brand chief, said the mid-size SUV segment is worth a million vehicles a year, "so it's a huge opportunity for us".
Built for style and goal - inside and out, the completely redesigned 2018 Traverse offers technologies to help keep passengers of all ages and lifestyles comfortable and connected. In addition, the Traverse will tow up to 2,268 kilograms.
A new 3.6-liter V6 with an estimated 305 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque connected to a nine-speed automatic will serve as the standard drivetrain, and be capable of towing an estimated 5,000 pounds.
The truck will show up at Chevy dealers this fall.
The Traverse's new RS trim level is also perplexing, as the purportedly sporty version of the Traverse comes only with front-wheel drive and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 255 horsepower.
"Look at what we've done with the Chevy Volt, look at what we've just announced with the Bolt EV, look at what we've done with the Malibu Hybrid", he said. Both engines feature new intelligent stop/start technology. Although these two haulers continue to share the same platform, the Traverse makes use of a longer version of the Acadia's chassis in order to improve legroom for those riding in the eight-passenger crossover's third row (which the company now claims offers best-in-class space). Such a makeover echoes what Mazda has done with its new CX-9, another competitor, and while it's easy to imagine the Traverse High Country with sticker prices in the $40s, the ATPs still ought to be south of the Buick Enclave's, whose replacement is expected late this year. All three seating rows are fitted with USB charge points, and wireless phone charging is available for up front.
On models with all-wheel drive, the system is capable of disconnecting the rear axle when conditions allow to boost fuel efficiency.
As for active safety, the new Traverse is equipped with a 360-degree camera system, more powerful LED headlights, blind spot and lane departure warning, pedestrian detection and precollision warning.
The Chevrolet Traverse has always been a bright spot in GM's crossover line-up.
The writer was a guest of the auto maker.
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