$20,179 - $38,287

2018 Chevrolet Traverse Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse was new.


Performance: 8.2

The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse delivers exactly what most kid-hauling SUV owners are asking for: a proficient amount of power, a smooth, road-trip worthy ride quality, and a stable hold on the pavement. Spirited drivers will call it flavorless, but all others will say it's fabulous.  

  • "The sum total of the new Traverse's added power, reduced mass and low-ratio first gear makes for a noticeable jump in performance." -- New York Daily News
  • "Shifts feel, as the bard of Honolulu, Bruno Mars, put it, 'smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy.' There's never the sense of constant gear shuffling that we've noticed in many other nine-speeds, and I never detected a moment's indecision when a change of mind about throttle position can result in the gearbox clunking into a gear it belatedly determined was best." -- Motor Trend
  • Ride and handling, like the power, are average for the class. I was mostly comfortable, even after a few hundred miles of Michigan roads that occasionally resemble the cratered surface of the moon. The steering feel is as vacant as a dorm room in July. No one's home. Still, the suspension and steering did help the Traverse feel smaller than it actually is. It's big, but unlike the Ford Explorer, it doesn't feel like it." -- Autoblog

Acceleration and Power

The 2018 Traverse is currently available with only one powertrain option: a 3.6-liter V6 engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. This 310-horsepower setup moves this large vehicle with ease; just don't expect to win any sprints. A stop-start system is standard, and though it can't be turned off, it is more polished than most. For fuel economy, you can expect 18 mpg in the city (which is average) and 27 mpg on the highway (which is a little higher than average).

  • "While it's not necessarily quick, the V6 never feels like it's struggling or out of breath. It's adequate and should be good enough for most people. … The nine-speed transmission was pleasantly surprising. Unlike the nine-speed in the Honda Pilot or various Jeeps, this one never felt like it was hunting for the perfect gear. The auto stop/start system is one of the best around, with a very minimal delay. Still, I wish I could turn it off." -- Autoblog
  • "Start driving, and the 3.6-liter V6 is more than happy to provide 301 horsepower's worth of forward motion. It gets going in a hurry, but you might not even notice that the car is shifting gears. The Traverse's nine-speed automatic is butter-smooth, whether shifting up or down. The stop-start system performed admirably, with nary a shudder every time the car barked back to life at a stoplight." -- CNET
  • "There's no lack of power in the 2018 Traverse. Its 3.6-liter V6 engine smoothly puts 310 horsepower to the ground through the smooth shifting 9-speed automatic transmission. Unlike many other 8-, 9-, and 10-speed front-wheel-drive transmissions we've experienced lately, this one feels just right, downshifting quickly, getting to higher gears swiftly, and providing surprisingly good fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

Front-wheel drive is standard in the 2018 Traverse. All-wheel drive is available as an upgrade in almost every trim and comes standard in the Traverse High Country. The Traverse takes very little effort to drive, with easy steering and capable brakes. Its suspension soaks up most bumps in the road.

  • "It's probably the smoothest and most comfortable ride among SUVs in this segment, nicely soaking up the expansion strips and the crumbling bits of Michigan's I-96 and State Highway 127. The jounce control means that dive isn't bad when sudden brake lights ahead force a harder-than-usual stop. The steering is precise and light, offering good feedback, though the ratio isn't so quick as to feel too twitchy for such a big, tall sport/utility. This is a comfortable, well-balanced SUV that will suit a family with a sportier, more enthusiast-oriented car on the other side of the garage." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The suspension is equally adept at quelling bumps big and small, all while keeping the Traverse from leaning too far in corners. The sharp steering puts its electrical assist on the rack instead of the steering column, resulting in better feel, and the brakes not only provide sure stops but feel good doing it. We're not trying to oversell it, and the new Traverse isn't anybody's first choice for fun on a twisty mountain road, but neither is it intended to be. But on drives long and short, this SUV is surprisingly satisfying." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The steering effort is neither too stiff nor too light and the Traverse needs very little correction to keep it centered in a lane, so long stints behind the wheel are not tiring. Likewise, braking performance is reassuring with good top-of-pedal response despite low-drag calipers that pull the pistons away from the rotors to save fuel. Also engineered into the pedal geometry is a mechanical, self-energizing advantage that results in less effort-and sweat-required by the driver to bring the two-plus-ton SUV to a halt." -- New York Daily News

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