The 2011 Chevrolet Traverse is a crossover utility vehicle. It’s a convincing design blend of a minivan and sport utility vehicle. The Traverse tends to lean more toward the minivan category and is perfectly suitable for a family with older kids, such as teenagers.
The Traverse has four doors — not sliding doors — plus a rear liftgate. It’s cavernous and spacious inside with three-row seating that can accommodate eight adults. The Traverse’s second row can be optioned at purchase as a three-person bench seat or with two captain’s chairs. Smart Slide is a sliding rail system in the second row that smartly maneuvers fore and aft to give third row passengers more legroom, as well as allow for flexible cargo carrying.
A departure from the bulbous family minivans of the past, the new appearance of Chevrolet’s family hauler is taut with minimal overhangs, giving the Traverse an attractive streamlined look. A couple of specific design elements show the finely honed attention to detail that Chevrolet stylists incorporated into the Traverse, such as a rear spoiler integrated over the liftgate window, turn signals integrated into the sideview mirrors, deep-set chrome-ringed grille, plus a family of large wheels and tires (17-, 18-, 20-inch). Sporty looking projector-beam headlamps are optional.
On the inside, interior stylists followed the hallmark of Chevrolet heritage by designing a dual-cockpit-inspired instrument panel. The dashboard is mounted low and away, giving the driver enormous visibility over the hood and body sides.
The Traverse does have a ground clearance of 7.2 inches, but it’s clearly not an SUV. This large crossover utility vehicle has an independent front and rear suspension, a low center of gravity to deliver smooth and stable handling and rides on a 118.9-inch wheelbase. StabiliTrak with rollover mitigation, ABS and six airbags are standard safety features.
Available in three trims, the Traverse starts at $29,224 with models offered in the LS, LT and LTZ. Our tester was the LTZ equipped with the optional all-wheel drive system starting at a base price of $39,975.
The top-of-the-line LTZ model demonstrates just how premium and capable the Chevy Traverse is as both a people hauler and cargo carrier. The maximum towing capacity is rated at 5,200 pounds. Our seven-passenger vehicle had the leather-appointed captain’s chairs in both the first and second rows, including heated and cooled front row seating and an eight-way power driver’s seat. An added charge of $1,445 was tacked on for the optional DVD rear entertainment Bose surround sound system with second-row controls and wireless headphones.
Powering the 4,925-pound tester is a smooth and quiet 3.6-liter V-6 engine with Direct Injection coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. With a dual-exhaust system the tester’s engine has a horsepower rating of 288 at 6,300 rpm along with 270 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,400 rpm.
EPA fuel economy ratings are 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway on our AWD tester. The FWD model has an EPA rating of 17/24 mpg and the Traverse’s cruising range on 22-gallon tank of regular gasoline is 500 miles.
The Traverse is a sophisticated type of minivan. And for the family driver who demands more comprehensive amenities, Chevy delivers. Other premium features available on the Traverse are a rear ultrasonic backup system, rearview camera, power liftgate and power-folding sideview mirrors with blind spot mirrors. — Connie Keane, Motor Matters
Manufacturer photo: The expressively styled Traverse is a seven to eight passenger crossover vehicle that offers ample people and cargo-carrying capability. The 2011 Chevrolet Traverse is offered in LS, LT and LTZ trims with a starting price of $29,224.
2011 CHEVROLET TRAVERSE LTZ
VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 7/8-passenger large AWD CUV
BASE PRICE___________________ $39,975 (as tested: $42,665)
MOTOR TYPE___________________ 24-valve DOHC V-6
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 288 at 6300 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)_____________ 270 at 3400 rpm
TRANSMISSION_________________ 6-speed automatic
WHEELBASE____________________ 118.9 in.
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 205 in.
TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb) 40.4 ft.
FUEL CAPACITY________________ 22 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway
Copyright, AutoWriters Associates Inc., 2011