Chevrolet has given the Traverse, its midsize sport-utility vehicle, a major redesign for the 2018 model year to make it more competitive in what has become a crowded segment of the U.S. auto industry.
The General Motors division unveiled the 2018 Traverse at the North American International Auto Show on Monday.
The three-row model is something of an after-thought in a crowded mid-sized SUV market. Sales fell about 3 percent last year to a little more than 116,000 vehicles. It lags behind such players as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander, which all have annual sales of about 200,000 or higher.
That’s prompted Chevrolet to take a number of steps to improve the appeal of its crossover.
The 2018 Traverse will be seven inches longer that the current model. The larger size provides notable improvements in passenger and cargo space, giving it what Chevrolet claims is a segment leading 98.5 cubic feet of luggage and cargo room. Nonetheless, it’s also about 362 pounds lighter than the outgoing Traverse. The diet will translate into a smoother, nimble ride – and improved fuel economy.
Performance is also getting a bump for 2018. The new Traverse cuts as much as a full second off its 0 to 60 time to just 7.0 seconds. The crossover will be powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine will make 305 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque – enough to pull a 5,000-pound trailer. Preliminary figures indicate a fuel economy rating of 18 mpg for city driving and 25 mpg for highway driving.
Chevrolet will offer an optional new turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four-cylinder engine making 255 horsepower and 295 pound feet of torque. Its preliminary mileage numbers are 20 mpg for city driving, and 23 mpg on the highway. Like the V-6, the turbo package is paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission.
New features for the 2018 Traverse include a hands-free liftgate. Chevrolet also adds a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, USB charge ports for all three seat rows, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the MyLink infotainment system and a choice of 7- and 8-inch touchscreen displays. And there are new advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS, technologies including forward collision alert with automatic braking, lane keeping assist and front pedestrian braking.
Chevrolet will provide price information later this year, closer to the vehicle’s sales date.
Along with pickup trucks, SUVs and crossover-utility vehicle sales are booming, accounting for about 60 percent of the industry’s record 17.5 million auto sales in 2016. Chevrolet wants the Traverse to give it a bigger slice of that pie.
“We’re going to ask Traverse to do a lot more us in 2017 and beyond,” said Steve Majoros, the Chevrolet’s marketing director.