The nice folks at GM lent me a Chevy Traverse (AWD LT-Z) to try out for a bit and asked me to share my impressions. After spending some time in the Traverse, the one word that kept coming to mind was comfortable.
I should preface this by pointing out that I currently drive a Honda CRV EX-L. It is an SUV but a small one (and before CRV’s, I used to drive a Civic). I was a bit concerned that the Traverse might feel too big for me to handle comfortably. I didn’t need to worry!
For one thing, a bigger vehicle means more leg room and J loved the fact that the passenger seat allowed him to stretch his legs out completely. At 6’2″, not all vehicles allow that! I also loved the fact that when LJ was sitting in the second row, his feet did not hit the back of the seat in front of him. More comfortable for both him and us. The ride was smooth and super quiet, even on the highways. In fact, it was so smooth, I had to make a special effort to keep my speed down as it was harder to judge how fast I was going with such an even glide.
The first time I parked the Traverse in a fairly cramped parking lot, I was a bit nervous about how I was going to back out. Between the back-up camera (located conveniently in the rear view mirror so that you don’t have to keep glancing down to see it!) and the ultrasonic rear parking assistant, I was very comfortable that I would not back into anything as I made my way out of the parking spot.
There are many little touches on the Traverse that set it apart as a comfortable vehicle. The heated and cooled seats, the power rear lift gate (so nice when you are carrying groceries!), the superior lumbar support in the adjustable seats, the tri-zone climate control, and the kick-butt sound system with Bose speakers.
Plus, there are so many features that do make you comfortable that you are being as safe as possible. Things like Bluetooth hands-free calling. You don’t even have to look away to see who is calling you since the phone number pops up on the dashboard. This is a feature that I hope all cars will soon have as a standard feature. I was able to see who was calling, answer the call, have a conversation and hang up all without ever taking a single finger off of the wheel. If that isn’t the safest way to talk on the phone while driving, I don’t know what is! The sound system was so good that the people I talked with had no idea I was using a hands-free system – there was no echo-y tin box sound on either end.
The OnStar service was one that I liked waaaay more than I expected to! Not only do you have the assurance that someone will know if you are in an accident and alert the authorities, you can also use the service to make hands-free calls and provide turn-by-turn directions. All of this with just the touch of a button!
Plus, of course LJ LOVED the built in DVD player with wireless headphones. This is a feature that wasn’t even available on my CRV (nor was the hands-free calling) and we would have happily paid for both!
The back left plenty of room for groceries or anything you might need to carry, even with all seven seats engaged.
If you should need to carry something larger, the back row of seats fold down very easily providing lots of extra haul space.
The only thing that might be a drawback for some is the fuel efficiency. Tooling around town, I averaged about 15.9 miles per gallon. Not having driven a vehicle of this size before, I have no idea what the typical gas usage is for a 7 or 8 passenger vehicle.
I guess it’s not hard to see that we love the Chevy Traverse! LJ has even named it (Travis) and seems to feel that it makes a nice addition to the family. I have also grown to love its versatility and comfort. They may have to wrestle the keys away from me when they come to take it to its next lucky driver. (If you see me sprinting down the road, keys in hand, with a group of GM folks chasing me – you’ll know why!)
Disclosure: GM and Chevy provided me with a Chevy Traverse to drive so that I could share my thoughts. They are exactly that – my thoughts – and are not influenced by any compensation (no matter how cool the vehicle they might offer me).