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Home » Auto Bytes, Our Trips

Back to the Future: 2011 Chevrolet Traverse

Submitted by on September 3, 2010 – 7:27 pm9 Comments
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Valuable Cargo

Chevrolet Traverse is an expressively styled, well-equipped crossover that offers the people-hauling and cargo-carrying capacity typically found in larger SUVs—all delivered with more efficiency.” Yep. The marketing department at GM pretty much nailed that one right on the head.

With 9025 logged road trip miles this year alone, we recently spent 2340 of them in a brand new 2011 Chevrolet Traverse. One last Hail Mary attempt to maximize the last official week of summer vacation, we hit the road. Two adults, three kids, eight days, seven states, and enough luggage to make a Griswold proud, all we needed was a granny for the roof. Farm land, traffic jams, mountain ranges, and eventually the beach, I like to think it as the world’s longest test drive.

Smokin the Smokies

First of all, if you’re interested in this mom’s opinion of the 3.6L engine’s direct injection technology and how it’s similar to many V-8 engines or how it’s mated to the Hydra-Matic 6T75 six-speed automatic transmission, this is not the review for you. What does that mean anyway? Is the transmission dating the engine or is it more than that? All I know is our glue horse of a minivan was in no shape or form for the Smokey Mountains, let alone 5 o’clock in Chicago.

Groovier than our minivan, we played a bit of luggage Tetris in the cargo area until we discovered a magic compartment for road flairs, flash lights, beach towels, and (eventually) bags of dirty laundry. A rearview camera in the rear undercarriage (hee hee), both my husband and I about did something in our own undercarriages the first time we put the Traverse into R. Get this…not only does the Traverse give an audible warning before impact with a parking garage column, you have visual confirmation of your path on screen as well as your own vantage point. As a mother of still-short kids, I wish all vehicles had this technology. Parking lots stress me out.

Drag Racing the Belle of Louisville

With 60/40 split seating in both the second- and third-row benches, we easily moved kids and their belongings as arguments erupted. Cleverly named the second-row “Smart Slide” seat feature we managed in-and-out just fine. Smart Slide works even in the path of a Milk Dud. Let’s face it, kids are messy and almost always messier in a moving vehicle (I imagine Murphy himself on a road trip while writing his Law.).

If you are a book worm like me, you’ll appreciate listening to your audio CD on headphones while the kids tune into Radio Disney on XM Satellite Radio (thank you rear-seat entertainment system). I can’t remember the last time I’ve listened to an entire 7-CD book on a road trip without full mutiny. Honestly, this was the best “alone time,” I could have asked for on the entire trip. Okay, okay, a masseuse would have been nice too. Maybe GM can include one with the next model? Speaking of comfort, did I mention the leather seats both heat and cool?

Technology you sweet thing. Gadget junkies with a battery problem, we had phones and cameras and laptops charging all in USB ports and power points. According to the user manual (hey, it was a long drive), some models even come with an AC power plug. According to the show off instrument panel, the half life of our oil and fuel economy was always available at the push of a button (for what it’s worth, our trip hovered around 19 mpg). Does anyone even have golf pencils and mini notepads in their glove boxes any more?

Beach Bum

Overall, we were happy with the performance of the Chevrolet Traverse. Looking to downsize from the minivan once it goes to the junk yard in the sky, we found the interior spacious enough for a family of  four or five. Clearly safety and comfort were key considerations in the ability to market to a younger (wired) group of consumers with growing families. Other reviews I read on the Chevrolet Traverse gave the vehicle anywhere between a seven- and  nine-star rating. Our vote is a generous 8.5.

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