Test Drive: 2013 Chevrolet Traverse car test drives reviews chevrolet
Test Drive: 2013 Chevrolet Traverse car test drives reviews chevrolet
2013 Chevrolet Traverse. Click image to enlarge

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Manufacturer’s Website
Chevrolet Canada

Review and photos by Michel Deslauriers

Photo Gallery:
2013 Chevrolet Traverse

In my mind, there’s a difference between wants and needs. Most of us need a vehicle, but which vehicle we want is a whole different story. When I look at the 2013 Chevrolet Traverse, I wonder if the typical buyer needs such a big crossover, or wants it.

Kids? Frequent road trips with family and/or friends? Lots of stuff to haul around? The Traverse can handle just about any people or cargo carrying task you ask of it, and will barely break a sweat.

Back in the old days, we use to drive full-size station wagons such as the Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser, the Dodge Monaco and the Ford Country Squire. Our fondest memories of these road behemoths normally concern family vacation trips, at a time when gas and motels were cheap. The 2013 Chevrolet Traverse, like its GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave cousins, can easily be considered a spiritual successor to these wagons.

The Traverse is big on the outside, and even bigger on the inside. It actually boasts more interior volume than the bigger Chevy Tahoe as well as every other mid-size SUV/crossover, including the Ford Explorer, Dodge Durango, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and even the redesigned Nissan Pathfinder. You benefit from up to 3,293 L of cargo room; that’s a lot.

You can choose between seven- or eight-passenger seating configurations in the Traverse; our 2LT tester comes standard with two second-row captain’s chairs and a flat-folding, three-passenger, third-row bench. While all rear seats are fine for kids, adults won’t remain comfortable for very long, as the low cushion height means you’re sitting with your knees high up. The rearmost bench’s reduced width can accommodate two adults or three children.

Test Drive: 2013 Chevrolet Traverse car test drives reviews chevrolet
Test Drive: 2013 Chevrolet Traverse car test drives reviews chevrolet
Test Drive: 2013 Chevrolet Traverse car test drives reviews chevrolet
2013 Chevrolet Traverse. Click image to enlarge

For 2013, the Traverse gets a much-needed redesign of its dashboard. The new look is more upscale, with soft-touch materials but questionable turquoise contrast stitching that seeks to harmonize with the instrument panel backlighting. At night, ambient lighting seeps through the silver painted accents, a nice touch.

A new sound system interface, which still incorporates a good-sized touchscreen, also features touch-sensitive surfaces that act as buttons; unfortunately, they don’t react to finger pressure with gloves on. As for the touchscreen itself, it responds fairly well to finger input but some button zones are pretty small to aim for while driving. On the other hand, the stereo includes a USB port located in the dash-top storage compartment as well as Bluetooth streaming audio and satellite radio.

The revised heating and ventilation controls represent the biggest improvement, with rotary dials replacing the tiny old buttons and readouts in last year’s Traverse. Included in 2LT and LTZ trims, and optional in the 1LT, are separate automatic climate controls for rear-seat occupants.

Also optional is a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, which our 2013 Chevrolet Traverse was equipped with. It’s bundled with two wireless headphones and a remote control, while RCA jacks and a 115-volt power outlet make it possible to plug in a game console or another portable video device. Unlike during road trips in the good old days, parents might never hear the words “are we there yet?”