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Chevrolet Traverse (2013)

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The traverse is one of Chevy’s true success stories. With seating for eight, an interior just inches smaller than the ever popular Tahoe, and great fuel economy, the Traverse was just what Chevy needed when gas prices went sky high. Buyers in need of three rows of seating without buying a gas guzzling SUV or a Soccer Mom Mini Van, the Traverse is a great choice.

For 2013, the Traverse receives some much needed refinement all around. Most noticeable is the aggressive new exterior design that includes a signature Chevy grille and Camero inspired LED taillights. I think overall, the look is dramatically better. Not that the 2012 version was bad, but some called it a little boring, and I agreed.

Inside, the Traverse receives some needed refinement. New dash, center console, new contrast stitching, new wood accents, more soft touch surfaces, and new silver trim are welcome upgrades. Controls have been made simpler and placed better. GM’s new My Link telematics system performed flawlessly and, coupled with the latest version of OnStar, is a big upgrade also. It will do almost anything you ask and is not hard to learn. It also links up with your smartphone and allows Bluetooth streaming of internet favorites Pandora and Stitcher.

The Traverse is powered by GM’s 3.6-liter 288hp V-6 and a six speed automatic transmission. For 2012, the powertrain has been reprogrammed for more performance without any change in fuel economy. After driving a 2012 and then a 2013 in succession, I found the difference significant. The 2013 modelfeels more powerful and is a lot more enjoyable to drive. When I said the new Traverse is more refined, this is one of the improvements I was talking about. To increase driveability this much without losing any fuel economy is a big win for Chevrolet engineers.

Available in AWD and FWD versions, the Traverse had plenty of power to tow up to 5200 pounds. Trim levels ate LS, LT and LTZ. Base price is $30,340 for the LS model.

The Traverse, together with its GM cousins, are pioneering the addition of a front center side airbag. Added to the drivers seat, the center airbag protects against driver/ passenger collisions during side impact events. (like a big catchers mitt between the occupants) This should decrease injuries and usher in copycat products in the competition. Other safety features include parking sensors, backup camera, lane divergence, crash alert, stability control, and crash alert.

With a very useable third row of seats and 12 cupholders, the Traverse is a great Family Truckster with a ton of room. With a great ride and quiet interior, the Traverse is great on a trip, and an EPA rating of 17 city and 24 highway means little stopping for fuel.

For those of you wanting to exchange your big SUV for something with a better ride and fuel economy without sacrificing capacity, perhaps a look at the 2013 Traverse is in order. I gave it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Mike Herzing

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