With minivans having fallen from favour, there is still a demand for three-row family-friendly vehicles. The replacement has proven to be mid-size and larger crossovers.
The mid-size three-row crossover segment is crowded, to say the least. Virtually all major industry players have an entry.
It’s a shopper’s playground with prices ranging from around $30,000 to as much as $200,000. Audi, BMW, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Stellantis, Subaru, Volkswagen and Volvo all have players in the game.
The heart of the three-row crossover class is the $35,000 – $50,000 range – minivan prices.
Chevrolet’s main player in this field is the Traverse – a V6-powered, seven passenger (eight in lower trim levels) crossover.
The second-generation Traverse came along in 2018. Refreshed after a delay due to coronavirus, the 2022 Traverse gets a new look front and rear, new seating options, and a larger slate of standard safety features.
There are six trim levels — LS, $39,500; LT, $43,800; True North, $42,300; RS, $50,400; Premier, $55,300; High Country, $60,300. A 3.6-litre V6 engine and nine-speed automatic are standard across the line.
Our neighbours to the south can choose a front-wheel-drive Traverse. Here in the Great White North, where at least one season involves cold and slippery roads, the Traverse is only available with all-wheel-drive.
The test vehicle was an RS trim with very few options. There really is no sound reason to move further up the price ladder.
Standard equipment at this level includes automatic climate control, power windows, locks, liftgate and heated folding mirrors; tilt & telescope steering wheel, handsome 20-inch dark aluminum wheels, heated front seats and steering wheel, Universal Home Remote, Remote Start, Rear Camera Mirror, HD Surround Vision, and a 120-volt power outlet.
Cavernous cargo capability plus cool connectivity
The Chevrolet Traverse makes an especially suitable replacement for a minivan in that it offers more interior space than most in the class, especially in the cargo area.
With second and third row seats folded down, the resultant space is cavernous.
Both first and second row bucket seats are comfortable and supportive. The third row is relatively accessible, but best left to smaller and more agile passengers.
The new and intuitive infotainment system includes a high-mounted 20-centimetre screen with great graphics, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. There are numerous USB ports scattered through the interior. Adding to the tech factor is a standard Wi-Fi hotspot.
The engine is smooth, responsive and goes about its job with little fanfare.
With 310 horses in the corral, acceleration is more than adequate and passing or climbing steep grades a breeze. The nine-speed automatic is nicely programmed and mated to this engine. Fuel economy is quite reasonable for a vehicle of this weight and performance. The fuel-saving, and standard stop/start system is as seamless and I have come across.
I had the Traverse during one of the many winter storms we encountered this year. Thanks to AWD and a set of quality winter tires, it proved more than capable of dealing with the adverse conditions.
The ride is smooth and supple over all but the worst surfaces.
The Traverse is not a sports car, nor does it have any pretensions in that respect. Go into a turn too quickly and understeer and body roll quickly surface. There is very little feel or feedback from the steering wheel, but the response exactly matches the input so aiming the big vehicle in tight quarters is easy.
Chevrolet has endowed the Traverse with a full slate of safety features.
Automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist and lane departure warning, automatic high beams, front pedestrian detection and forward collision alert are standard on all trim levels. The four upper levels – True North, RS, Premier and High Country also come with rear passenger alert and adaptive cruise control.
The Chevrolet Traverse offers excellent people and cargo space, a smooth and powerful drivetrain and all-season capability. It also makes a great substitute or replacement for a minivan.
FACTS & FIGURES – 2022 Chevrolet Traverse RS AWD
As tested: $53,423 including freight
Automatic LED headlights, Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Following Distance Indicator, Forward Collision Alert and IntelliBeam, Adaptive Cruise Control, Enhanced Automatic Emergency Braking, rear pedestrian alert
Bose premium 10-speaker system, Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Plus system with connected Navigation, 20-cm HD colour touchscreen, Bluetooth audio streaming for two active devices, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capable, enhanced voice recognition, in -vehicle apps, cloud connected personalization for select infotainment and vehicle settings. Subscription required for enhanced and connected services after trial period (STD)
20-inch dark aluminum wheels, heated front seats, Universal Home Remote, Remote Start, power liftgate, Rear Camera Mirror, HD Surround Vision, heated power-folding body-colour mirrors with turn signal indicators, 120-volt power outlet, power windows, locks and mirrors.
Cherry red paint, $595; engine block heater, $195; black lug nut and wheel lock kit, $360;
3.6-litre V6, 310-horsepower, 266 lb.-ft. of torque, regular fuel. Nine speed automatic transmission, all-wheel-drive. NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 13.6/9.6
Length, 5,230 mm; width, 1,996 mm; wheelbase, 3,072 mm; weight, x kg.
Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota Highlander