Intro: While the heyday of the minivan has come and gone, families still seek the versatility and capacity of a traditional minivan but with a sportier, contemporary flare. Enter the 7-seat Chevy Traverse. Built on GM's Lambda crossover platform, the Traverse shares its underpinnings with the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave.
The Traverse is longer than the Acadia, and possesses a tighter handling feel than the luxury-oriented Enclave. With styling in line with Chevrolet's current design trends, the Traverse's features a large two-piece grille divided by a bar that hosts the familiar Chevy bowtie emblem.
Performance: The Traverse is powered by a 3.6-liter direct-injected V6. Base output is 281 horsepower and 266 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: Here are the highest and lowest EPA estimates for fuel economy:
Features: Available trims are LS, LT, and LTZ. We drove an LT model that came equipped with power rear liftgate; steering wheel mounted audio controls, second row fold-flat captain's chairs, and a 60/40 split-fold rear bench. Folded flat, the second and third rows give way to nearly 118 cubic feet of cargo space.
An attractive option is the dual panel Skyscape sunroof. The front panel is a fully retractable sunroof, while the rear panel is fixed with a power-retractable sunshade.
Safety: Standard safety equipment includes GM's on-star service, 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, StabiliTrak stability control system and a full array of front and side impact airbags.
Pricing/Warranty: Initial base MSRP for the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse is $29,224. A range-topping all wheel drive LTZ model starts at $39,975. The Traverse is backed by a 5-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Summary: With spacious, flexible interiors and SUV styling, the 2011 Chevy Traverse offers the look and feel of a sport utility vehicle, coupled with time tested minivan versatility.