Chevrolet has been on a roll taking ho-hum products and reincarnating them as something better. The Silverado High Country finally has an interior worth its price tag, the Equinox EV is positively refreshing, and the Trax, once a guaranteed losing hand in rental car roulette, has been reborn into a surprisingly lovely tall hatchback. So, what’s next? Well, we found out today. The 2024 Chevrolet Traverse has been unveiled, and it’s surprisingly nice. Alright, I shouldn’t be surprised anymore, but come on. I lived through the days of the 2004 Malibu and that was some rough ish, so it’s delightful to see Chevrolet doing well again. What’s more, Chevrolet has announced LS, LT, Z71, and RS trims of this new Traverse. Hang on, Z71?
Yes, Chevrolet’s family hauler is taking up the soft-road gauntlet with a ruggedized trim of its own. It was only good business sense, seeing as how just about every manufacturer is hopping on the butched-up crossover trend. However, Chevrolet’s alterations go a little bit further than most. We’re talking about a one-inch lift in ride height and specially-tuned dampers, although Chevrolet’s damper descriptor of “hydraulic rebound control” raises a few eyebrows. Don’t most dampers offer hydraulic rebound control? Answers on a postcard.
Anyway, the big party piece is a twin-clutch rear differential for enhanced off-road traction, and a meaty set of all-terrains actually puts everything to the ground. Speaking of the ground, Chevrolet has fitted the Traverse Z71 with a real aluminum skid plate to mitigate the effects of any negative altitude events, along with recovery hooks, in case you find yourself beached. We aren’t looking at a rig with crazy approach and departure angles here, but instead a credible competitor to the Honda Pilot TrailSport, Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek, and Ford Explorer Timberline offering tough looks and moderately enhanced capability.
Speaking of looks, check out the squared-off, well, everything. The era of rotund crossovers is firmly dead, and the new Traverse is here to dance on its grave. Sharp new LED daytime running lights are paired with standard LED headlamps, which is nice since seeing in the dark is generally considered important. A flat hood adds heft to the front end, while a shark fin-like C-pillar scythes through the floating greenhouse in an interesting way.
While Z71 models want you to know they do CrossFit, RS models aim for more street-focused appeal, with 22-inch wheels, unique street-oriented suspension tuning, blacked-out trim, and a flat-bottom steering wheel. Walk-up lighting completes the visual package, while the trim level overall makes more sense than the outgoing range-topping Premier model. Leave luxury to GMC, go deep on value and appearance bits.
Around back, horizontally-split tail lamps get funky, as a quad-tipped exhaust beats the Traverse’s chest in a display of exaggerated, bellowing machismo. Does a mass-market three-row crossover actually need quad exhaust tips? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that under the hood is a snoozefest.
There’s no V6 on tap anymore, just a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that sounds a little bit larger than the 2.4-liter turbo four in the Toyota Grand Highlander and about the same size as Mazda’s 2.5-liter turbo motor in the CX-9. However, the new Chevy unit blows Toyota’s and Mazda’s engines out of the water at the top end with 315 horsepower, all preceded by a 317 lb.-ft. slug of torque. Yeah, I’d call that stout. As with before, the transmission is an eight-speed automatic unit, and General Motors automatic transmission calibration is typically double cream smooth, so I have high hopes here. Speaking of numbers, the new Traverse can tow up to 5,000 pounds, which is solidly inline with much of the segment.
Slide behind the wheel of the 2024 Traverse and the first thing you’ll probably notice is a nice set of physical controls. Despite the enormous 17.7-inch touchscreen occupying significant real estate, Chevrolet’s made space for actual knobs for volume and temperature. Speaking of normal controls, a column-mounted shifter feels like the right move here. Not only does it keep the dashboard sleek, it frees up room in the center console for two flyover state road trip-spec cupholders, ready to receive a large Gatorade with the nipple top/Double Gulp/goddamn liter of cola.
While we’re on the subject of road trips, the Traverse can be optioned with Super Cruise for a hands-free Level 2 ADAS freeway driving experience. Oh, and that’s far from the only bit of neat tech available. This family hauler can be optioned with an 11-inch digital cluster, heated first- and second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, and a hands-free power liftgate. All stuff that normal people who buy crossovers actually want, which is good. Chevrolet seems to be listening to its target market on this one.
Speaking of appealing to parents, the new Traverse can be had as an eight-seater with dual benches or a seven-seater with captain’s chairs. Pop all the rear seats down and you’re looking at 98 cu.-ft. of maximum cargo space, which is more than some New York apartments can offer. If you want to get really fancy, the third row can be made power-folding, although you’ll need to step up to the RS trim for that. Bringing things down to earth a bit, all seven-seat models get captain’s chairs that slide for third-row access without crushing a latched-in child seat. Smart stuff.
Look, the 2024 Chevrolet Traverse likely won’t set anyone’s world alight, but it seems like a smart and surprisingly nice mix of what the people need right now. More space, more pace, more style, yet still a great deal of sensibility. Would a minivan be more practical? Sure, but that van life isn’t for everyone. Plus, enthusiasts buy normal vehicles too. We can’t all ferry the family around in R63 AMGs, so reliable three-row crossovers still matter from a daily driver perspective. Expect the 2024 Chevrolet Traverse to arrive early next year, rolling out of GM’s Lansing, Mich. plant just in time for America’s annual romance holiday. How’s that for timing?
(Photo credits: Chevrolet)
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