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2019 Chevrolet Traverse is a great family hauler

January 27, 2019

As the Traverse now enters its second year after a complete redesign for 2018, we were excited to see how the change from being a more egg-shaped vehicle to a larger truck-like SUV would affect the interior as it becomes one of the most spacious within its class.

The competition is fierce within the category, featuring the likes of newcomers Volkswagen Atlas and Subaru Ascent, along with longtime stalwarts Jeep Durango, Nissan Pathfinder and Ford Explorer. However, after increasing sales each year for the past five, it seems that Chevy has found the correct recipe for a great value and even better family hauler.

Having watched our children’s families grow over the past few years as they have left our nest, vehicles such as the Traverse have become more important in their lives. For instance, our oldest, Landon, now has two children after having a new baby last May, and is currently looking for a larger SUV for more room.

This has become the perfect category for him and his wife, Michelle, to get engaged with as they need room but don’t want the kind of room, price and overall size that comes with a full-sized SUV. Cargo space is one place the Traverse excels, with 23 cubic feet behind the third-row seat, 58 with the third row down and a total of 98 cubes with both rows down. It’s enough to get anything home from Ikea that a growing family might need.

With that in mind, it seemed that the perfect test for the Traverse would be to pick up the kids and the grandkids, along with all the stuff that comes with them, for an afternoon drive and dinner. We ended up putting the car seats in the second row, thus forcing Landon and Michelle to the rear seats for the drive. This really was part of our plan to see how two full-grown adults fit, especially with Landon at 6 feet, 3 inches tall.

With 33.4 inches of leg room in the rear seats, they felt it was more than any of the other third-row SUVs that they have looked at to date. There are also over 38 inches of space in the second row. Of course, the grandkids at 4 years old and 6 months old had no complaints about that. With all this space, we even had plenty of room for a stroller and other stuff that comes with a baby and a 4-year-old.

The great part was that the curbside, second-row captain’s chair would slide forward and tip some, allowing the rear occupants easy access and would do so with our new granddaughter Hayden still snugly strapped in her car seat. Having the captain’s chairs in the second row also allowed Michelle to easily check on the kids during the ride — a bonus for keeping them quiet.

However, with the adults in the front and rear, it did make for harder communication between us all. About the only thing that we could have asked for would have been a rear-seat entertainment system to help keep Jensen occupied during the 2.5-hour drive we took.

After starting around 2:30 p.m. on a Saturday, we decided to head up Provo Canyon, through Heber and into Park City. We figured that that would give us a good chance to work the Traverse to a good extent through the mountains along with encountering some freeway conditions.

With the redesign last year, there is only one engine currently offered. It’s a 3.6-liter V-6 producing 310 horsepower and 266 foot-pounds of torque, which is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

We only hit some wet roads along the way, but nothing that was snow-covered. It made us glad that the Traverse was equipped with all-wheel drive. However, engaging the function was more like putting a truck into four-wheel drive. We would have thought it would be an automatic function, just like much of the competition handles this engagement when needed.

We actually ended up taking the Traverse down Parley’s Canyon with a cutoff heading towards East Canyon and down into the Salt Lake Valley through Emigration Canyon just like the pioneers of old. We ended up at Trolley Square for a nice dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory, giving us yet another chance to get the kids and grownups in and out of the Traverse, and more importantly allowing Landon and Michelle the opportunity to see how it would be hauling a growing family in the SUV.

The Traverse interior, at this trim level, was nicely equipped with leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, a large 8-inch screen with navigation and 4G LTE Wi-Fi on board that allowed everyone to use their devices for the entire afternoon and kept Jensen entertained with his iPad.

We were surprised on the safety side that adaptive cruise control was only available on the highest trim level, High Country. Along with emergency braking, this has become a huge help for keeping families safe. We would have loved to have the cruise control along for the afternoon ride even though it was only 80 miles long.

What will the verdict end up being for Landon and Michelle? Only time will tell as they are still waiting for us to get a couple of the competitors’ SUVs so we can take some additional afternoon rides with the kids, making the comparison to see if they will be as family friendly as the Chevrolet Traverse is.

See the newly redesigned Traverse today at Doug Smith Chevrolet in Spanish Fork, 1341 N. Main St., 801-841-3131, Ken Garff Chevrolet in American Fork, 548 E. 1000 South, 801-756-3546, or Larry H. Miller Chevrolet in Provo, 2125 N. University Parkway, 801-709-9016.

Base Price: $41,000

Price as Driven: $45,090

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