Mountain Wheels: Refreshed Chevrolet Traverse offers extremes in cargo room |

Mountain Wheels: Refreshed Chevrolet Traverse offers extremes in cargo room

After being delayed almost an entire model year due to COVID-19 slowdowns, the 2022 Chevy Traverse features a revised grille, lights and new standard safety features.
Andy Stonehouse/Courtesy photo

I still have an unusual affinity for the Chevrolet Traverse, a largish but officially midsize crossover SUV that I last drove in its present configuration in 2019. I spent another week in the mildly updated 2022 model — a bright red, all-wheel-drive RS edition priced at $50,040 with that custom paint job, a dual sunroof and trailering package — and again found it largely appealing, for reasons that are very different than the similarly sized Pathfinder and Grand Cherokee.

Part of it was the sheer excitement of actually having another domestic test vehicle — after what ended up being an entire model-yearlong delay in the Traverse’s production cycle. Another part of it was seeing how the observations I made about Traverse and the new models of the one-size larger Tahoe and Suburban really did come true.

When it first arrived in 2009, it had that sort of amorphous roundness that made it, the Acadia and the Enclave a little hard to tell apart. The second-generation vehicles, which debuted in 2017, offered a more squared-off and frankly Ford Explorer-styled shape, which made them more distinctive and feel a little bit more connection to the full-sized models.

Things have come full circle as the new full-sized GM SUVs took that flat-sided, upright stance and pushed it enough to provide real third-row passenger space.

So maybe I liked Traverse because it was sort of cutting edge — in its own low-key Chevrolet kind of way. And now, for 2022, Traverse itself gets some minor updates in the form of a more aggressive grille that looks much like the Tahoe and Suburban.

The somewhat sportier RS edition gets a blacked-out grille and fascia, with thin LED headlamps and upside-down, L-shaped LED running lamps surrounding potted running lights. All of that is topped by Traverse’s multiridged, high-edged hood, whose tall corners flow into the window frames and unfortunately create really large reservoirs for snow to collect in overnight. Since it’s not actually a Tahoe, you can still reach over and brush stuff out.

In the back, there’s also new LED tail lamps, which stretch way out onto the side of the vehicle, plus a slightly old-fashioned but actually bumper-styled bumper, with trumpet-shaped exhausts underneath.

Other 2022 modifications include heated, power-folding side mirrors on the higher trims, a new roof rail design and a number of new wheel styles, including the dark aluminum 20-inch wheels on my test vehicle. And, like every other manufacturer, if you want everything dark, there’s a very blacked-out Midnight edition. Also, the available rear-seat entertainment system is no longer an option, but there are loads of USB power points for your family’s loads of devices and multiuser WiFi access.

Yes, it doesn’t quite have the flashy electronics of the new Grand Cherokee or all the bells and whistles of the luxury brand, but my feeling is that GM-dedicated buyers not quite ready to commit to the increasingly tall cash required for a full-sized SUV will find the Traverse an appealing choice.

A big part of that is the vehicle’s size, which is big enough to require a bit of planning in parking spots but not outrageous. The trade-off is an absolutely massive 98.2 cubic feet of cargo space if you drop both the second-row captain’s chairs and the third row.

That provided super-easy room for myself, two passengers and an entire load of ski gear, or can be configured to provide quite comfortable, sliding second-row seating and kid-sized third-row seating for seven total, with those widely spaced second-row seats. There’s also a large, self-contained storage tub under the rear deck.

I also remain pleased by what is apparently Traverse’s sole engine option, a 3.6-liter V-6 that produces a useful, Chevy-worthy 310 horsepower. Front-wheel-drive models can get as much as 27 mpg on the highway; my AWD machine wavered at 22-25 mpg, depending on my driving.

The switchable AWD system is controlled by a large knob on the lower console, with a standard 2WD mode and off-road setting, though I would keep it set for AWD on all but the driest roads.

I found that the nine-speed transmission shifts so accurately at times that it felt like a turbocharged vehicle, and a toggle on the shifter allowed manual downshifts going down the passes.

Seating is broad and flat and a little more flashily rendered on the RS model, with interior details highlighted with lots of glossy plasticated metal and chrome as well as oodles of gloss black underneath a very flat dash.

The comprehensive Chevy Safety Assist package now comes as a standard feature on all Traverse models, with lane keep assist, front emergency braking and pedestrian braking. A buzzing seat alert and adaptive cruise control are available on higher-level models.

Andy Stonehouse

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