Once I had a specific time-frame that I knew I would have the Chevy Traverse on loan, I brainstormed several different types of scenarios and road conditions that I wanted to put the Traverse through. Since my audience is mostly women (yes, there are a few men here!) and of those women many mothers with families, I decided to test the Traverse’s ability to handle two common scenarios that families most likely will encounter in one capacity or another. However, I believe anyone in the market for a 7-8 passenger crossover can appreciate this review.
1.) Grocery shopping with three young children. In other words, will the Traverse be able to comfortably seat three young children all of whom have to legally be restrained through either car seats and/or booster seats, plus groceries to feed the family for two weeks? Answer: Yes, and then some. Not only does the Chevy Traverse easily fit three children all restrained, but it also will fit depending on the package option of LS, LT or LTZ seven to eight total persons. That’s more available seating than both the Toyota Highlander or the Ford Flex which are two of the Traverse’s competition. The Traverse also features Smart Slide (R) second row seats that allow passengers, such as rowdy little boys, to easily enter and exit the third row of seating.
For holding those two weeks of groceries–that we bought for our vacation–the Chevy Traverse held those easily. There was plenty of space for our groceries. When it came time to pack up the groceries, cooler, tent, sleeping bags, too many clothes, blankets, dog carrier, games, et cetera, the Chevy Traverse was able to hold it all with its split third row seat that folded down partially as an option. Personally, I thought there was no way we were going to get any more items into the Traverse. But just when I thought it was impossible, my husband’s grandparents loaded us up with a box of canning supplies and jars, several old books, and a pressure canner to take home to Texas. How’s that for space. If you’re still unconvinced, you should note that the 2010 Chevy Traverse has more cargo space than any of its competitors in the crossover segment, even 30% more than the Honda Pilot. How about behind that third row? More room than both the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot.
2.) Road trips with young children or even just running errands around town. For the Chevy Traverse to pass this test, it had to provide thoughtful features that keep children and teens entertained and provide some sort of navigation feature to keep me not lost. Let’s start with keeping those kiddos entertained, because we all know that if Junior is screaming and whining “are we there yet?” one hundred times per day, then most likely you’ll be storing your kid in the hidden storage compartment in the back for the remainder of your road trip which is absolutely unacceptable (albeit tempting). For starters, the 2010 Chevy Traverse has an entertainment system that includes a DVD player with screens for those in the backseats. We utilized this feature almost constantly. I now know Monsters vs. Aliens among other children’s movies by heart. The Traverse also has a standard outlet with audio/video plug-ins that allow for gaming via an Xbox, PlayStation, or even Wii. If bowling in your car seems rambunctious, think of it as extra entertainment while camping or RVing.
Other thoughtful features include Bluetooth technology that allows you to connect your cell phone to make and receive phone calls hands-free. The Traverse also has a new USB port which connects your mp3 player or flash drive loaded with music to play through the vehicle’s audio system. An XM Radio subscription is also included for three months which allows you to listen to commercial free music and more. The Traverse also has available 115-volt three pronged outlets which make it great for charging laptops and camera batteries.
Other criteria I tested on the 2010 Chevy Traverse
The 2010 Chevy Traverse felt very comfortable and the placement of features felt intuitive. Chevy had me in the LTZ package which has heated and cooled front bucket seats as well as leather which makes for easier cleaning. Other trim packages, including the LTZ, can also include dual-zone climate control, remote vehicle starter system handy for hot days or cold winters when you want the Traverse at the proper temperature before you get in, available driver seat memory positions for comfortable seating (like when someone who has long legs leaves the seat all the way back), and plenty of leg room in the second and third rows.
If you were to ask most Chevy salespersons about the safety of the 2010 Chevy Traverse, I can almost bet you they’d tout to you the StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control System with traction control and available AWD to help you stay on the road and in control. They would probably also tell you about how the Chevy Traverse has earned the highest possible crash safety rating–5 stars–for both frontal and side impact collisions. They’d mention the six standard air bags. They’d even tell you all about Automatic Crash Response through OnStar which is standard for the first year and automatically notifies an OnStar adviser when you’ve been in a crash and can request emergency help be sent to your exact GPS location–even if you’re unable to respond.
Now all of these features are very important and I would not take one away, but how about those every day situations where you find yourself driving to and from soccer practice, church, shopping, over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house…will you feel safe driving the Traverse even then? I mean, if the vehicle doesn’t feel safe then all of the standard features noted above will be little assurance to the owner. When I drove the Chevy Traverse I felt very safe–I could feel the road so as to gauge my speed, the vehicle shifted very smoothly (something even my Ford/Toyota-loving cousin was impressed with), it accelerated quickly and braked smoothly. The rearview camera system added to the Traverse’s feel of a safe family vehicle that I felt catered to my safety-conscience sensibilities.
As for over the river and through the woods, well we did both. Really. Somewhere in New Mexico on a powdery state highway (who doesn’t pave state highways?) we experienced the Chevy Traverse’s handling. We braked hard, we accelerated fast, we drove on a steep mountain gravel road in Utah with just two feet from falling off the side into an abyss and the Traverse handled all these and more. Potholes? No problem. Slick, wet roads? Boring. Powder? Couldn’t even tell. Gravel? Complete traction. Mountain summits? Felt like flat plains.
As mentioned above, there was plenty of seating in the Chevy Traverse with 7 or 8 available seats depending on the package, Smart Slide (R) second-row seats for easy access to the third row, a third row that folds down fully or partially optionally, four storage compartments including a locking glove compartment in the front seat area, power remote lift-gate (you know, so you don’t have to put down your groceries to open the gate or go back outside to close it), in-steering wheel buttons for changing radio stations and operating the cruise control, gas gauge that automatically senses how many more miles to the next fill up, oil life monitoring system, four automatic windows with child locks, and rear seat audio controls. Under the hood, everything is easy to get to. Even Grandpa was impressed with how accessible it was. Basically, the only two things this vehicle lacks are 1.) refrigeration, and 2.) toilets.
The Bad, aka My Beefs:
1.) Although the 2010 Chevy Traverse gets 24 mpg highway, the best fuel economy of any eight passenger vehicle, I think 24 highway/18 city is far too low for any vehicle in our day and age. Now this isn’t a problem with the Chevy Traverse per se, however I think minimally this vehicle and any other seven to eight passenger vehicle no matter which company makes it should get 28 miles per gallon city. I should note that compared with our current vehicle which is a van from 2004 we saved two tanks of gas driving to and from Utah from Texas in the Traverse which equates to nearly 800 miles or around 40 gallons of gasoline saved. It should be said that most drivers are expected to range between 19 and 27 mpg per EPA estimates in the 2010 Chevy Traverse LTZ.
2.) Although I had no problem with it, two men that sat in the driver’s seat mentioned that their knees felt uncomfortable with how they touched the sides near the console. I do not find this a deal breaker, then again I am not a man.
3.) I could not find a way to play a DVD and listen to the radio concurrently. I have no idea if this is even possible. Memorizing Monsters vs. Aliens was not an accomplishment I am proud of. However, the DVDs kept the kids mouths shut and their eyes glazed over so it was not a deal breaker.
4.) The way the driver’s dash is designed, it is difficult for the front-seat passenger to see how fast the driver is traveling. This makes for difficult nagging.
For more information on the Chevy Traverse.
For more information on OnStar services.
For a printable version of my 2010 Chevy Traverse review.
Disclosure: I was not paid to write this review, however I did receive a 2010 Chevy Traverse for two weeks at no charge to test drive.