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2013 Chevrolet Traverse LTZ FWD Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Chevrolet, Featured, SUV, Test Drives


The decision for GM to utilize their Lambda SUV platform for the Chevrolet brand has paid off well as the new 2013 Chevrolet Traverse ventures into its 4th year to receive new front and rear end styling and interior refreshing to further refine their 8-passenger crossover utility vehicle.

The all-new 2013 Chevrolet Traverse gets a restyled front fascia that somewhat mimics the brand’s new language rolling out to many of the new 2014 Chevrolet models. Moreover, the inside of the new 2013 Traverse gets new interior materials and re-worked infotainment system. Sharing its Lambda platform with the well-perceived GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, the Traverse sets forth a great combination of a cavernous cabin with 116 cubic feet behind the first row of seats, a willing 288 horsepower V6 engine in the LTZ trim getting up to 24 mpg on the highway, and versatile seating arrangements for up to 8 adults.


The formula that remains in the Chevrolet Traverse ever since its introduction as a 2009 model, is a crossover utility vehicle that does not compromise interior room, fuel efficiency or desired pulling power. All of these entities find themselves working in harmony to offer the consumer an excellent alternative to large truck-based SUVs without the wallet-sapping costs that come with it.


The new 2013 Chevrolet Traverse, with a total of three trim levels (LS, LT and LTZ) gives you the versatility of configuring the large SUV to your specific needs. Front row passengers enjoy plenty of head and legroom while the second row get the option of captain chairs that slide forward and backwards with a reclining feature. Opting for the comfortable second row captains chairs brings the seating capacity down to 7 passengers. The easily accessible third row seats tend to be a bit low to the floor but still provide enough space for 3 adults.


Cargo space is plentiful and easy to access. Although the 2nd row seats do not fold into the floor, they can easily be folded out of the way or completely removed to open up the full 116 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front row seats. The 3rd row seats easily fold flat through rear latches. The power liftgate and relatively low loading surface is also an inviting aspect of the Traverse’s hauling abilities. Towing is rated at a maximum of 5,200 pounds while the payload rating is just over 6,400 pounds.

Adding an extra dash to the luxury equation when opting for the top-ranging LTZ trim, the new Chevrolet Traverse offers up eight-way power perforated leather heated and ventilated front seats, heated leather steering wheel, power-folding mirrors, power rear liftgate, tri-zone automatic climate control, and the MyLink infotainment interface featuring Bluetooth streaming audio, smartphone app integration and voice activation.


The new MyLink infotainment system in the Traverse now features upgraded graphics, new menu sets similar to those in other new GM vehicles with the MyLink system, and touch-sensitive buttons areas. The new touch-sensitive buttons clean up the dashboard a bit but sometimes warrant unintended button depressing, which can be a nuisance when you are trying to focus on the road ahead. Not only is the infotainment system together with the navigation unit lacking physical buttons, but some of the dashboard controls located in the center of the dash use touch-sensing buttons as well. However, the high-resolution 6.5-inch LCD touch-screen becomes a more inviting interface to use as the graphical buttons register in a precise manor without too much guessing if your finger will register the correct button. The redundancy of controls is a welcomed aspect of the system to give you a choice of what set of buttons to use. Not to mention, the voice activation control comes in handy to access features and settings, although it may take a bit longer than physically reaching for the button or on-screen option.


Powering the new 2013 Chevrolet Traverse is a 3.6-liter V6 engine with Direct Injection and 281 horsepower and 266 ft-lbs of torque. When opting for the LTZ trim, adding dual exhaust, the engine gets an additional 7 horsepower and 4 more ft-lbs. of torque for a total of 288 horsepower and 270 ft. lbs of torque. Front wheel drive is standard for all trim levels where an all-wheel-drive system is optional for any trim level. Adding the all-wheel-drive system slightly reduces fuel economy yielding 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. The front-wheel-drive Travers gets a respectable 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. During my week in the new front-wheel-drive 2013 Traverse LTZ I saw a consistent 22.5 mpg on the highway with about 6 passengers and several heavy bags in the back. Around the city the fuel consumption averaged a surprising 18 mpg.

Driving the new 2013 Traverse is an experience familiar to driving a full-sized sedan. Never do you feel as if you are driving a large SUV. The suspension and large 20-inch wheels and tires keep the ride smooth without any truck-like attributes, as one would expect from a vehicle of this size. One aspect of the suspension geometry that did not sit well was how much the body would roll into moderate to heavy braking. Aside from that, the new Traverse handles itself well for toting around 7 passengers and its curb weight of 4,647 pounds. Of course in the category of 7 passenger crossover utility vehicles the Traverse is slightly outdone in the athletic department by the new Mazda CX-9 and Hyundai SantaFe 6/7 passenger. Nevertheless, the new 2013 Chevy Traverse is hard to reckon with in terms of its unmatched interior space and cargo capacity for a vehicle that still drives like a car yet can seat up to 8 people.


Acceleration tends to be a mixed bag at times when you start loading up passengers and cargo. Although, the V6 engine never seems to be inadequate for whatever tasks you throw at a vehicle of this class. The 6-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and quickly adapts to your driving style. A selectable shift mode is available to toggle gears through buttons on the shifter. The placement and type of buttons for manual shifting are not inviting for any type of ‘fun’ or manual shifting mode, it is more of an option to select gears when you are towing heavy items or exploring light off-road trails.


At the forefront of safety and innovation in active safety features, the new Traverse offers side blind zone alert with rear-cross traffic alert, rearview camera and a new airbag system with a front center airbag.

The Chevrolet Traverse offers an excellent and economical alternative to the Tahoe when the need arises to seat up to 8 passengers or haul large items in comfort and style. A starting price of $29,010 for the base LS trim FWD Traverse really offers an attractive package for consumers seeking plentiful interior room with a little utility on the side. At the other end of the spectrum a fully-loaded Traverse LTZ, such as my test vehicle, can quickly reach a price point of about $44,410 – the as-tested price of my test vehicle including a rear seat entertainment DVD system, trailering equipment, color touch navigation system, Crystal Red Tintcoat paint and a $825 destination charge.

Copyright: 2013


  • Price: Base Traverse LS $29,010 As-Tested Traverse LTZ FWD $44,410
  • Engine: 3.6-liter 24-valve DOHC V6 288 horsepower @ 6300 rpm / 270 ft-lbs. torque @ 3400 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 118.9in.
  • Total length: 201.8in.
  • Total width: 78.5in.
  • Total height: 69.9in.
  • Track: f/r-67.3/67.1in.
  • Fuel tank: 22 gallons
  • Turning circle: 40.4ft.
  • Headroom: f/m-40.4in./39.4
  • Legroom: f/m-41.3/36.8in.
  • Max towing when properly equipped: 5,200 lbs.
  • Curb weight: 4,647lbs.
  • EPA mileage: 17 mpg/city, 24 mpg/highway (FWD)

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