The Chevrolet Traverse is a large crossover SUV which quickly earned high praise following its debut for the 2009 model year. And the newest version has an awful lot going for it, including its carlike drive, top safety ratings, stylish design, roomy interior, adult-friendly third-row, respectable gas mileage and huge cargo capacity.
In addition to its up to 8-passenger accommodations and significant cargo transporting abilities, the Traverse also hosts an impressive number of uplevel features on the higher trims. And while the Traverse isn't intended to compete with traditional truck-based SUVs built to haul around formidable trailer-loads, it represents a solid choice for families who value the usefulness of an SUV as well as a smooth, quiet and comfortable drive.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2011 Chevy Traverse is available in three trims: LS, LT and LTZ.
Standard features on the already well-equipped base LS model include power windows, power mirrors, power doorlocks, 17-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, OnStar, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, split-folding second- and third-row bench seats, 8-passenger seating and a 6-speaker audio system with a CD/MP3 player, satillite radio and auxiliary audio jack.
The LT model actually consists of two sub-trims: 1LT and 2LT. Standard features on the 2LT include all of the above plus an 8-way power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear parking sensors, heated sideview mirrors, 18-inch alloy wheels and a trip computer.
On top of this, the 2LT then adds a rearview camera (displayed in the rearview mirror), second-row captain's chairs (this model is 7-passenger), tri-zone automatic climate control, a power liftgate and a 10-speaker Bose audio system with a USB port and rear audio controls.
The top-of-the-line Traverse LTZ then chips in with leather upholstery, heated and ventilated power front seats, driver memory functions, remote ignition, 20-inch wheels and Bluetooth connectivity.
Most features from the upper trims are available on the lower trims through various optional packages. Also available are dual sunroofs, a rear DVD entertainment system with a USB port, a trailer-towing package and navigation with real-time traffic, a rearview camera and a USB port.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering all 2011 Chevy Traverse models is a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 281 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque in the LS and LT models. And due to a dual-outlet exhaust, it delivers 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet in the LTZ. It's paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control in all models.
All Traverses are also offered with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. And when properly equipped, the Traverse has a towing capacity of 5,200 pounds.
The EPA-estimated gas mileage for a front-wheel-drive Traverse is a respectable 17 mpg city and 24 mpg on the highway. And all-wheel-drive lowers these numbers only slightly to 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.
Standard safety features on all 2011 Traverse models include stability control, traction control, antilock disc brakes (ABS), front seat side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags for all three rows and one year of OnStar which includes turn-by-turn navigation and hands-free phone connectivity.
The 2011 Chevy Traverse also excelled in government crash tests, earning perfect five star ratings across the board in all frontal-impact and side-impact occupant protection categories.
The Traverse's cabin is another of its top attributes. It's attractive, has an appealing two-tone color scheme and is generally user-friendly. While there are some areas with lower-quality plastics, overall it gets high grades for looks, construction quality and practicality.
Depending on the model, the cabin seats either seven passengers with second-row captain's chairs or eight with a 60/40-split-folding second-row bench seat. With either, there's ample first- and second-row passenger room and the seating is comfortable and supportive. In addition, the third-row is actually capable of accommodating adults, a fairly rare benefit.
Cargo room is also at a premium, with 24.4 cubic feet available behind the third-row. And by folding down the second and third-rows, the resulting flat load floor expands this capacity to a whopping 116.4 cubic feet.
The Traverse's 3.6-liter V6 engine is capable and confident, while its steering is fairly responsive for a vehicle of this size. Of course, there's no avoiding the fact that this is a large SUV, and as such has some inherent performance limitations. But it clearly provides a better handling and smoother driving experience than most traditional SUVs.
That said, those considering the LTZ should note that its larger 20-inch wheels create a firmer and somewhat less comfortable ride.
How To Get The Lowest Price:
Best Negotiating Tactic: Well, there's definitely a 'best way' when it comes to new car buying. If you want to get the best bottomline, out-the-door price you need to know exactly who to talk to at the dealership, how to make the contact and how to make this person eager to quickly drop prices as low as possible to get your sale.
Those of you in the market for a used car may want to check out this article about how to buy a used car at the lowest price. It details a super effective buying method, one that often beats down prices to wholesale levels.
And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.
In addition, you can also try Open-To-The-Public Repo And Government Car Auctions in your own geographic area. While there can be a lot of junk vehicles at these auctions, there are often absolute gems sprinkled in as well. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them in your own area.
Prices: 2011 Chevrolet Traverse
LS FWD: list price: $29,224, invoice price: $27,763
LS AWD: list price: $31,224, invoice price: $29,663
LT1 FWD: list price: $31,865, invoice price: $30,272
LT1 AWD: list price: $33,865, invoice price: $32,172
LT2 FWD: list price: $34,445, invoice price: $32,723
LT2 AWD: list price: $36,445, invoice price: $34,623
LTZ FWD: list price: $37,975, invoice price: $36,076
LTZ AWD: list price: $39,975, invoice price: $37,976