2018 Chevy Traverse First Drive: Go Big And Go Home

– Traverse City, Michigan

Let me assure you, that this Chevy Traverse road test takes place in Traverse City is only a coincidence. But considering the thousands of tourists and families that vacation in and around Traverse City every summer, the location is actually pretty apt. Three-row crossovers abound, I’m not the only one traversing Traverse in a Traverse this week.

Indeed, the seven-passenger crossover is the family car du jour these days – a big contrast from the fullsize sedans and small minivans that lined the beachfront parking lots of Traverse City two decades ago, when I spent my summers here as a kid. Chevy’s second-generation Traverse doesn’t shake up the three-row formula, but with more features and more space, it’s easier to use and just better to live with.

2018 Chevy Traverse: First Drive
2018 Chevy Traverse: First Drive
2018 Chevy Traverse: First Drive
2018 Chevy Traverse: First Drive
2018 Chevy Traverse: First Drive

With more features and more space, the second-generation Traverse is easier to use and just better to live with.

It’s a wonderful companion on my drive from Detroit to Traverse City, a 260-mile trek I’ve completed more times than I can count. The first 160 miles are nothing but flat, dull interstate as you make your way toward mid-Michigan. But once you connect with the tree-lined, two-lane M-115 highway just outside of Clare, things start to get really pretty, the hilly “Up North” splendor on full display.

On boring freeway or pretty backroad, the Traverse’s new 3.6-liter V6 has appropriate oomph: 310 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. It’s enough to get you around a slow-moving semi wit...