Chevy’s largest crossover is family-friendly and versatile
Most three-row crossovers tend to be less versatile than minivans. They lack the same level of interior flexibility, the third row is usually cramped, and they lose a good amount of cargo capacity when all seats are occupied. However, modern consumers find minivans uncool, so they go for midsize crossovers like the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse. Sure, they might have less interior space, but to the average buyer, the rugged looks are a bigger draw. Fortunately, through some clever packaging, the Traverse offers plenty of space and flexibility for your family to go with those rugged looks.
Black = Sporty
If you opt for the Traverse RS like one of our test cars, you’re opting for the sporty-looking family crossover. So in order to reinforce that fact, the Traverse RS gets black leather with contrasting bright bronze stitching, and it’s the only interior color available for that model. Silver metallic plastic trim gives the interior a little more brightness.
Should you want a little more color, the Traverse Premier is available with two-tone brown and gray leather. This gives the cabin a nice splash of color. Those looking for an even more premium vibe and a brighter cabin should consider the range-topping High Country trim with its Loft Brown and black scheme (shown below).
Seven Fit Comfortably
Not all midsize three-row crossovers are created equally. A number have tight third row seats. The Traverse is one of the few in the class to offer a usable third row, even with the standard second-row captain’s chairs found in the LT Leather and higher trims. Getting in and out of the third row is a breeze because you can either slide the Smart Slide second-row seats forward via the latch on the side of the seat or walk between the two captain’s chairs.
Tall adults will find the third row comfortable; there’s a generous amount of legroom, which you can increase via the sliding second row. The car is wide enough that few will feel too cramped back there.
Yes, It Can Haul
The Traverse’s massive exterior dimensions translate into a sizable interior, so you can haul your family’s gear with ease. Even with all three rows in place, there’s a healthy 23.0 cubic feet of cargo space, which is enough for strollers and a couple medium-sized bags. Should you need more space, you can knock the third row down to increase cargo capacity to 57.8 cubic feet, making it plenty usable for long family road trips or when you’re carrying a bunch of large bags. The range-topping High Country model comes with power-folding third-row seats, so all you need to do is press a button.
For those who frequent Costco or Ikea, folding the second and third rows yields you 98.2 cubic feet of cargo space. It’s not as big as a minivan, but because of the Traverse’s boxy exterior, there’s a lot of space to work with, allowing you to haul flat-pack furniture without having to put it on the roof or enlist a delivery truck.
I’ve Got a Secret Stash! (Or Two)
Got all three rows occupied but need extra cargo space? Not to worry. A hidden storage bin under the cargo floor is large enough to fit a medium-sized duffel bag or two small bags with all your kids’ odds and ends. Additionally, the underfloor storage in the Traverse doesn’t come at the cost of a spare tire; it’s right under said storage area.
For those who carry way too many trinkets, there’s another hidden storage cubby behind the main touchscreen. It’s accessible by pressing a button on the center stack and big enough for your wallet and charging cables. There’s also a USB port in there to charge up your devices or to play music from a flash drive.
No, It Doesn’t Feel Cheap
A couple of Chevrolet vehicles we recently tested had a few too many hard plastics in the interiors. The Traverse, on the other hand, bucks the trend with plenty of squishy plastics in areas such as the armrest, center console storage cover, and parts of the door panels.
Although the top parts of the Traverse’s door panels still have hard plastics, they don’t feel brittle and have a smoother, less grainy texture that reduces the cheap feeling. Additionally, the leather used in the Traverse is soft and, when combined with the super cushy seats, gives the crossover a nice comforting feel befitting of a family crossover.
User-Friendliness Is the Key
Minimal complication defines the Traverse’s cabin experience, and it’s most evident in the interior. Folding down the third row takes only a few seconds with a pull of a strap, and on the High Country trim level, all you need to do is push a button. The second-row captain’s chairs, on the other hand, recline or fold with one pull of a lever on the right side, and a lever up front easily moves them forward and back.
The infotainment system is refreshingly easy to use, as well, thanks to its quick touchscreen and a logical center stack layout. All of the main functions are in the home menu, so you don’t have to dig through submenus to play music, call someone, or use the navigation system. Additionally, the touchscreen works similar to a tablet or smartphone, so you it has familiar functions such as the ability to pinch to zoom in and out.
Hello, Google and Siri! (Play Nicely!)
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are along for the ride on all variants of the 2018 Traverse, so you can plug your phone in to take over multimedia duties. Android users will enjoy Google Assistant enabling nearly everything via voice commands. The benefits of Android Auto don’t stop there. You also get access to a number of apps, including Waze and Spotify. Apple users will, of course, have Siri as their main multimedia director. You can tell Siri to do many things, including getting directions to your next destination and even reading you text messages.
Everything is in View
Boxy exterior designs might not always be the most attractive, but when done right they can look good and give you all the benefits of an upright greenhouse. Case and point: The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse has presence, space, and good outward visibility despite somewhat large C- and D-pillars. On the LT Leather and higher grades, a 360-degree camera view comes standard, so there’s no excuse in not being able to easily move the car around.
No More Dead Mobile Devices
In the age when USB ports are in nearly every new vehicle, there’s no excuse to find a dead mobile device during long drives. The 2018 Traverse has nearly the same number of USB ports as it has seats for passengers (depending on the configuration). With up to seven USB ports, the Traverse has connectivity well covered. Additionally, all seven USB ports in the Traverse are fast chargers, so you can juice up to 100 percent in about an hour from nearly empty.