By KBB.com Editors
Despite a drop off in full-size SUV sales, American families are not getting any smaller. They still need the room and power of a big SUV, but with better fuel economy and handling. Keenly aware that many Americans have an inescapable need for seven-passenger transportation, Chevrolet created the Traverse, a crossover SUV offering maximum interior space, mid-level towing ability and fuel economy numbers that reach into the mid twenties. The Traverse combines contemporary styling, one of the best accident avoidance system in the business and an interior worthy of a high-end luxury car – all at a Chevrolet price.You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a big family vehicle with excellent safety ratings, the ability to tow 5,400 pounds and reasonably good fuel economy for its size, the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse may be the best game in town.You May Not Like This Car If...
Those who absolutely must have a V8 won't find one offered on the Traverse. Styling is a bit more contemporary than its stable mates at Buick and GMC, but resale values fall slightly below those held by the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot.What's New for 2011
Changes for 2011 are limited to some new paint colors, a relocated USB port and the availability of heated cloth seats on LT models.Driving It Driving Impressions
The 2011 Chevrolet Traverse delivers a surprisingly smooth ride, has adept handling and offers strong acceleration with very respectable gas mileage. To push the envelope, we tested our Traverse on an enclosed track running a series of obstacle avoidance tests. Driven back-to-back against the Toyota Highlander, the Traverse exhibited superior skills in almost every situation. In one test, we accelerated to 45 miles per hour and without braking executed a quick left-right maneuver on wet pavement around an orange pylon strategically placed to represent a sudden obstacle in the road. To our great surprise (and relief) the StabiliTrak stability control system worked so efficiently it made small work of the test, allowing us to return immediately to our lane without any loss of control.Favorite Features
StabiliTrak Stability Control with Rollover Mitigation Technology
Although you'll never know it until you have to use it, this technology could very well save your life. It drastically improves the Traverse's ability to remain composed in even the most radical emergency maneuvers.
Smart Slide Second Row Seat
This easy and convenient feature allows the second row seat bottom to flip up and the seat to slide forward, creating a wide pathway to the third-row seat.
Tasteful design, high-quality materials and one of the most accommodating interiors in the class are the hallmarks of Chevrolet's largest crossover SUV. Second-row seats that slide fore and aft improve leg room while permitting easy entry in to the third-row seat. And unlike many third-row seats, the Traverse's can actually accommodate two adults in comfort while affording them full side-curtain airbag protection. Storage bins and cup holders abound, and there is enough room behind the third row seat to accommodate two golf bags. Chevrolet has also gone to great lengths to silence the Traverse's cabin which remains remarkable quiet, even at highway speeds.Exterior
The most noticeable difference between the Traverse and its sister vehicles, the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia, can be found up front, where Chevrolet's recently introduced Malibu-inspired split-grille face is prominently displayed. The rear quarter window is also different, sharply angled upwards at its bottom edge. With its big wheels pushed to the outer edges of the chassis, the Traverse presents an image of size and stability. Wide rear door openings make it easy for passengers to enter and exit the third-row seat, and an electrically-powered rear hatch aids access to the cargo area. Available convex insets built into the upper corner of each side mirror help expose objects ordinarily masked by blind spots.Notable Standard Equipment
Every Traverse comes standard with six airbags, including full-length side curtain airbags, front side-impact airbags and front passenger airbags. Also standard are StabiliTrak stability control with roll mitigation technology, one year subscription to OnStar with Turn-by-turn navigation, AM/FM stereo with CD and XM Satellite Radio, power windows, mirrors and door locks, rear wiper washer, cruise control, 17-inch wheels, Smart Slide second row seat and flush-folding third-row seat.Notable Optional Equipment
Options vary by trim, which includes 1LT, 2LT and LTZ. Available features on most trims include remote start, a power rear liftgate (standard on 2LT and LTZ), Bose 10-speaker Surround Sound Audio system, DVD navigation, rear seat DVD entertainment system, all-wheel drive, second-row captain's chair seating, 115-volt three-prong outlet, two different rearview backup cameras (one for use with navigation, the other for vehicles without), Ultrasonic Rear Park Assist, heated windshield wiper fluid, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, dual-zone climate control, HID headlamps, heated front seats (heated and cooled front seats standard on LTZ) and a dual panel glass moonroof.Under the Hood
The 2011 Chevrolet Traverse is powered by a sophisticated 3.6-liter V6 engine with variable valve timing and direct injection technology for improved performance and fuel economy. While most owners will be just fine with the 281 horsepower found on the LS and LT trims, the LTZ features a dual exhaust which bumps the horsepower to 288. All trims feature a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode and can be equipped with Chevrolet's excellent Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system. Unlike many of GM's other engines, however, the Traverse is not E85 compatible.}
281 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
288 horsepower @ 6300 rpm (dual exhaust)
266 lb.-ft of torque @ 3400 rpm
270 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3400 rpm (dual exhaust)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (FWD), 16/23 (AWD)
The 2011 Chevrolet Traverse LS has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $30,000. All-wheel drive adds about another $2,000 to the bottom line. 1LT and 2LT trim push the price into the mid-$30,000 range, while a fully-loaded LTZ with all-wheel drive is expected to top out around just over $45,000. Our Fair Purchase Price reflects real-world transaction prices, so be sure to check and see what others are paying before you begin negotiations. Competitors such as the Toyota Highlander and Ford Flex are priced similarly, while the Hyundai Veracruz generally lists for less. We expect the Traverse to hold better values than its sister-vehicle the Buick Enclave, as well as the Ford Flex, but below those of the Honda Pilot, GMC Acadia and Toyota Highlander.