While the heyday of the minivan has come and gone, families still seek the versatility and capacity of a minivan, but with a more sporty flare. Enter the 7-seat Chevy Traverse. It is the latest crossover utility vehicle to be built on GM's Lambda crossover platform, shared with the Saturn Outlook, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave.
The Traverse is longer than the Outlook and the Acadia, and possesses a tighter handling feel than the luxury-oriented Enclave. The Traverse's front-end styling is in line with Chevrolet's current design trends. The large two-piece grille is divided by a bar containing the Chevy bowtie emblem.
The Traverse is powered by a 3.6-liter direct-injected V6. Base output is 281 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque. Selecting dual exhaust raises the output to 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. Power is routed through a 6-speed automatic transmission to either front-wheel or all-wheel-drive.
Fuel economy for the Traverse ranges from 16 miles per gallon city up to 24 miles per gallon highway.
Available trims are LS, LT, and LTZ. We drove the LT model. It came equipped with power rear liftgate, steering wheel mounted audio controls, second row fold-flat captains chairs, and a 60/40 split-fold rear bench. Folded flat, the second and third rows give way to up to nearly 118 cubic feet of cargo space.
A welcomed option was the dual panel Skyscape sunroof. The front panel is a fully retractable sunroof, while the rear panel is fixed with a power-retractable sunshade.
Standard safety equipment includes 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, StabiliTrak stability control system and a full array of front and side impact airbags.
Base MSRP for the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse is $28,255. A fully loaded LTZ model can top out at $45,000. The Traverse is backed by a 5-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
With spacious, flexible interiors and SUV styling, the 2009 Chevy Traverse gives you all the look and feel of an SUV, without sacrificing minivan versatility.