Rented a Chevrolet Traverse
After 900 miles in a Chevrolet Traverse, and halfway through my rental, I thought I'd share my impressions.
We currently own a 2001 Yukon XL K1500 (4x4) and have long been fans of Chevy trucks.
Overall, the Traverse does not disappoint. The kids (3) and wife really like the interior of the Traverse, and we all found it to have decent room.
The compartment under the rear floor was very handy when going into national parks, using that to sequester our valuables and hide them from view.
Our longest single ride was about 200 miles, and the seats are very comfortable though the steering requires constant correction on the highway. I normally drive with my left arm on the arm rest and my right hand on the shifter (bad, bad habit, I know, but after about 800K miles, all I can say is it works). After several days of trips, my left hand is a bit tired from keeping the wheel a smidge to the right. It's a rental, so a previous renter could have tagged something, sure.
On the road, we regularly pushed around 9 over the limit, which is 70mph through most of areas in Kentucky and Tennessee we've been driving through. At that rate, we're seeing high 17s to low 18s, much lower than the EPA-rated 24mpg a front-wheel-drive Traverse is suggested to get. It's not far off from our non-cylinder-deactivating V8 Yukon (rated at nearly the same HP, by the way).
The OBC reported gas mileage matches the numbers we're seeing when comparing gallons to miles.
The speedometer reads 1mph low at 80 according to our GPS. 80 indicated is 81, just enough to get you that ticket.
The stereo is quite reasonable for a factory effort and no one had many complaints about the seats. My 14yo girl did raise concerns that the center-belts dug into her hips after that much seat time. Center seats are a bit narrow. Many formal reviews indicate 3 adults can sit int he middle row, I would disagree given the feedback from several people in the rear middle seat. I would say two adults and a pre-teen would fit.
My very fit tri-athalon-winninng sister spent 2 hours in the middle today and did shared my 14 year-old's concerns about the middle seat of the middle row.
The rear seat access is very good, and the kids frequently argued over who got to sit in the back (at first it was the hot spot to be, later the less-desirable spot. Kid politics!).
The rear seat folds in 2 parts. With luggage, the truck could seat 6. With luggage for a family of 5, junk food, iPods, video games, and other road-trip must-haves, 5 was just right.
In the rain, the handling and performance was unchanged. It felt sure-footed and the wipers worked well, front and rear.
My wife is probably a good representation of an average car buyer. I, on the other hand, am not - I'm pretty picky and a bit assertive driving my cars. I'm more at home in a taut sports-sedan or a healthy SUV than in a cushy Cadillac or Buick.
In the curves of 54 in Tennessee, which would be a great motorcycle road, the Traverse did well for a crossover. A bit more body roll than I would have liked, but acceptable for this class of vehicle.
The transmission and I, however, are having a love-hate relationship. I love that it's a 6 speed, I hate that it's clueless.
Add in cylinder deactivation and you have vehicle that can't seem to make up its mind as it turns off or turns on cylinders or unlocks or locks the torque converter. To my family, these shifts are imperceptible. To me, someone who's highly in tune with my ride, it's fingers on a chalkboard. After 150 miles, I stuck it in L, manually selected "5" and left it there for a while so I could get some respite from the constant changes. It feels like the transmission is hunting.
Again, no one else in the car really seemed to realize this was happening, and I'm pretty sure most drivers won't either. After all, how many drivers can tell one of the tires is low from driving the car?
Two things my family did notice - when we go to pass someone on a 2-lane highway, the transmission will frequently shift from 6th to 4th, or worse, 3rd. The power is welcome, the lurch and neck snap from the shift to 3rd, not so much. It's hard to drive this car smoothly when applying power, tip-in is aggressive.
Additionally, when accelerating to pass someone, the car slows down when you hit the gas as it shifts into a lower gear, then accelerates, further exacerbating the neck-snapping sensation. I'm guessing it's friendlier to the transmission overall, but it's incredibly annoying to the passengers - and to the driver's who's expecting to go faster when the gas is depressed, not slower first.
It's also taken me nearly 4 days to be able to leave a stop assertively without squealing the tires. Like when jumping into traffic. Try getting into traffic with an officer parked near you and see if your heart doesn't get pumping.
Add in that the drive-by-wire gas pedal changes its calibration when in reverse (the pedal becomes less responsive), and the Traverse requires some relearning and new skills.
Overall, it's a nice vehicle. Gas mileage is really not much better than what we see in our Suburban, which is much better than many people expect.
All I can say is sure you drive it through some city, and also check its highway manners on at least a 10 mile loop after its warmed up.
If you like it there, you'll like it.