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First Drive: 2019 Chevrolet Traverse RS

The 2019 Traverse is the Roomiest 7-Passenger Crossover SUV on the Market

Overview

Chevy has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. My first car was a 1971 green Chevy Impala convertible, my uncle drove an endless procession of Chevy pickups to his construction jobs his entire life and just last year I had to part ways with our family favorite, Big Red, a 2001 Chevy Suburban with over 210,000 miles.

I was intrigued to have a chance to spend a few days with the 2019 Chevy Traverse RS. While not the behemoth my Suburban was, the Traverse is easily the largest and roomiest mid-sized SUV on the market. It actually has more interior and cargo space than the full-size Chevrolet Tahoe SUV while maintaining a decent fuel economy rating in its class.

Powertrain

Powered by a 3.6L V-6 married to a 9-speed automatic transmission, the powertrain won’t blow you away, but it does exactly what it’s designed to do, give you a smooth, quiet ride. The V-6 version provides 5,000 pounds of towing capacity and is rated at 20mpg fuel economy, just under the middle of the pack.  It’s disappointing that the RS version is only available with FWD with AWD available as an option for the rest of the Traverse lineup and standard on the top-of-the-line High Country version.

Interior

Standard equipment is generous and includes 20-inch alloy wheels, black leather seating surfaces, tri-zone automatic climate control, powered tailgate, a sweet Bose 10-speaker audio system, navigation, wi-fi, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, heated front seats, and several advanced safety features like blind spot monitoring. A huge plus in the family-first crossover is the inclusion of USB charging ports available at every seat. I also appreciated the fact that the Traverse didn’t include complicated powered rear seats. The manual second and third-row seats operated easily and intuitively. And the massive underfloor storage area is a huge bonus. A negative is the lack of standard active cruise control.  In my mind, this is the most significant convenience/safety option available from automakers over the past decade and should be standard on all but the base models.

Exterior

The Traverse includes a blacked-out grille, black-finished wheels, and the option of choosing premium finishes such as Black Currant Metallic, Iridescent Pearl Tricoat, and Cajun Red Tintcoat which is featured in the model I tested. I’m a big fan of the look of this crossover.

Ride

The Traverse handles itself well on the road; it’s not lumbering and bouncy as some 3rd row SUVs tend to be. The ride is soft but still inspires confident handling. The inclusion of Continental CrossContact tires adds a nice touch of confidence when dealing with inclement weather.

Safety

One negative is that rearview mirror visibility is poor. The collision alert system, blind-spot monitoring and surround vision camera giving you a virtual bird’s-eye view of the vehicle help mitigate this, but I would have been a little more comfortable having a wider field of view.

Conclusion

The 2019 Traverse RS base price is $45,500 and mine came in at $46,890, with the only option being the above-mentioned Cajun Red Tintcoat. With it’s confident, comfortable ride; best-in-class interior space; and the technology and gadgets we men love, the 2019 Chevrolet Traverse RS should be on your shortlist if you are in the market for a family crossover.

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