(Edited from AP) The Chevrolet Traverse is helping people forget about minivans.

The seven-to-eight-passenger Traverse crossover sport utility vehicle with a car-like ride, SUV styling and high ride height offers the seating capacity and cargo-hauling capability of a minivan. But it looks more attractive than a boxy van and can tow up to 5,200 pounds, way more than a typical minivan can.

The Traverse even has a higher government fuel economy rating, 17 miles per gallon in city driving and 24 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive, than the last Chevy minivan, the Uplander.

(Edited from AP) The Chevrolet Traverse is helping people forget about minivans.

The seven-to-eight-passenger Traverse crossover sport utility vehicle with a car-like ride, SUV styling and high ride height offers the seating capacity and cargo-hauling capability of a minivan. But it looks more attractive than a boxy van and can tow up to 5,200 pounds, way more than a typical minivan can.

The Traverse even has a higher government fuel economy rating, 17 miles per gallon in city driving and 24 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive, than the last Chevy minivan, the Uplander.

In addition, the Traverse earned five out of five stars in federal government frontal and side crash tests, and unlike the Uplander, the Traverse is a recommended buy of Consumer Reports magazine.

The 2010 Traverse has a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $29,999 as a front-wheel drive LS model with 281-horsepower V-6, automatic transmission and eight seats. An all-wheel drive Traverse starts at $31,999. It comes with one engine choice: A 3.6-liter, double overhead cam V-6 with direct injection and variable valve timing.

The engine develops 281 horsepower in base mode, which is with a single exhaust pipe. An uplevel version has two exhaust pipes, which allow less restricted engine “breathing” and 288 horsepower.

Torque in the Traverse peaks at either 266 foot-pounds at 3,600 rpm or 270 foot-pounds at 3,400 rpm, depending on the exhaust system installed.

The tester was a base Traverse with the base performance numbers, and it didn’t feel as if it lacked power, even uphill. The Traverse LS with front-wheel drive powered along easily with traffic and around it.

But the workings of the six-speed automatic transmission were unimpressive as the tranny often seemed to be hunting for the proper gear during strenuous driving. Shift points also were noticeable.

At 22 gallons, the tank allowed to travel some 400 city and highway miles combined before stopping for a fillup of regular gasoline. The Traverse managed just over 19 miles per gallon during the test drive, mostly on highways.

The interior of the Traverse LS had well-arranged controls and good-sized buttons and knobs. In nearly all-day driving, the Traverse’s fabric seats provided comfortable and fatigue-free comfort.

Cargo capacity is exceptional. There’s a maximum 116.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats, which compares with 87 cubic feet in the Honda Pilot and 83.2 cubic feet in the Flex.

The Traverse is a big, heavy vehicle, and it travels like one.

2010 Chevrolet Traverse FWD LS
BASE PRICE: $29,244.
AS TESTED: $30,114.
TYPE: Front-engine, front-wheel drive, eight-passenger, crossover sport utility vehicle.
ENGINE: 3.6-liter, double overhead cam, V-6 with direct injection and VVT.
MILEAGE: 17 mpg (city), 24 mpg (highway).
TOP SPEED: NA.
LENGTH: 205 inches.
WHEELBASE: 118.9 inches.
CURB WEIGHT: 4,720 pounds.
BUILT AT: Lansing, Mich.
OPTIONS: Spare tire and wheel $100; front license plate bracket $15.
DESTINATION CHARGE: $775.

 

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