2009 Chevrolet Traverse LTZ Review
He said, she said – we don’t usually get the opportunity to hear the always different male/female perspective on the same vehicle, but we have that exact opportunity this month with the Chevrolet Traverse. Our writer Roger Boylan and our guest writer Victoria Mason both drive the Traverse for a week and report the results. Follow the link at the end of this review to read Roger’s take on the same vehicle.
By Victoria Mason
Within minutes of having the Chevy Traverse LTZ dropped off in my driveway my neighbors began to ask questions and prowl around it. I drove the Traverse, Chevy’s newest crossover vehicle, for a week. This vehicle turned heads and that was just sitting in park. I was quite surprised; from the chrome trim on the outside, to the impressively stylized cockpit inside, everyone on my block wanted to take peek at something on this vehicle.
Chevy designed the Traverse to be the ultimate family vehicle and to compete with the Honda Pilot, Ford Flex and Toyota Highlander. I have driven all but the Ford Flex and can safely say that the Traverse is just as smooth a ride as those other two crossovers. It handles corners remarkably well for its bulk and you barely hear or feel the engine whether you are idling at a light or cruising down the highway. The Traverse is a large vehicle that drives like a small one. There are tight tolerances between body components, the results of which are enhanced by the Traverse’s rigid body structure. The aerodynamic look of the Traverse is actually functional as it reduces wind noise, too.
The Traverse has a 3.6L V-6 engine and it gets 17 mpg city and 24 highway in FWD and 16 mph city/23 highway on the AWD. It took me a week of preschool runs and local errands to go through a tank of gas. I will freely admit that I loved being behind the wheel of this vehicle despite not being in love with the look of the Traverse. It just screamed station wagon to me, and for this Mom, that is not going to sell me.
There were a few other points that I did not like about the Traverse. The LTZ model contains a rear camera to make backing up and parking easier. It completely threw me off. I expected to hear beeping each time I backed up and I could never get used to it. I found the navigation system (OnStar with Turn-by-Turn navigation and Direction Download and eNav) to be clunky, incredibly confusing and hard to use. When I talked with other women who had test driven this model they all agreed with me on this point too.
The interior of the Traverse, while roomy, had too much plastic. My husband thought it looked like the inside of a Kia. While he liked the exterior, the interior paneling left him cold. If I am going to spend $40k on a car for my family, I want quality and that amount of plastic never exudes that.
I also did not like how, while it seats eight comfortably (no, really it does!), the bucket seats do not work for car seat installation especially if you want to place an infant in the safer middle seat. However, the option of a second row bench is available. The heating and cooling buttons took some time to figure out, and with no owner’s manual in my glove box, I never could get the inside temperature where I wanted it. That part of the dash was not intuitive or logical in any way and a big disappointment.
Now here is what I loved about the Chevy Traverse. Despite looking like a station wagon, it is a pretty sleek design. I was the only one on my street and in my family who did not immediately love the external look of the Traverse. People instantly wanted to know what type of car it was and they liked the distinct design that synchs up with Chevy’s redesigned Malibu. While the interior has too much plastic for my taste, the LTZ does have leather seats, each containing its own seat heaters and coolers. That is a nice touch. The middle row seats are Smart Slide, which gives passengers easy access to the third row. My own SUV does not possess this and it can be rather difficult to use the third row. XM radio comes standard with the Traverse as well.
There are also numerous storage compartments in this vehicle. The two that stand out are the one in the middle console between the two front seats and another in the middle seat that can turn into a table, which is great for long car trips. Both compartments are large enough to hold the headphones that accompany the back seat DVD players. Did I mention that the navigation system also plays DVDs? It does. The LTZ has lots of extras including a panoramic sunroof, heated and adjustable outside mirrors and a power lift gate just to name a few. That last one is a lifesaver for the mother of two children. The Traverse also has six standard air bags, and the head curtain side air bags are some of the longest air bags in any vehicle in production. The LTZ has more than enough room for a family and cargo. That is probably the vehicle’s biggest selling point.
Overall, I liked the Chevy Traverse LTZ for its roominess in the seating, cargo space, fun amenities and smooth ride. However, despite the aerodynamic exterior design, the car did not move me and neither did its price tag. I want more style and fuel economy and less plastic for my money.
Victoria Mason is a freelance writer and product reviewer based in the DC Metro area. She writes frequently for DC Metros Moms, Moms Speak Up and the blogs Mummy’s Product Reviews and The Mummy Chronicles.
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