2013 Chevrolet Traverse
2013 Chevrolet Traverse
2013 Chevrolet Traverse. Click image to enlarge

Despite the improvements, some small ergonomic flaws are still present; the turn signal stalk also hosts the windshield wiper switch, and the driver must let go of the wheel to activate it. The rear window wiper/washer is still activated by a rocker switch mounted low on the centre stack.

Mechanically, not much has changed in the 2013 Chevrolet Traverse. Every version of the mid-size crossover is still equipped with a 3.6L V6 that benefits from variable valve timing and direct injection. While the top-shelf Traverse LTZ gets dual exhausts and 288 hp, the rest of the lineup makes do with a single exhaust, 281 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. No big deal.

Bolted to a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual mode, the V6 engine provides the 2,177-kg (4,800 lb.) Traverse with surprisingly quick acceleration times. It belches out a fairly nifty growl at wide-open throttle, and at a steady 100 km/h on the highway, it spins at only 1,700 rpm. In addition, the 3.6L is so smooth at idle that I accidently tried to start it twice, thinking it didn’t fire up at the first twist of the ignition key.

Why doesn’t GM offer a V8 in such a heavy vehicle? Actually, the V6 does the job and when equipped with the optional trailer tow package, the 2013 Chevrolet Traverse can pull up to 2,359 kg (5,200 lb.) On the other hand, my fuel economy average over the course of the snowy test week was unimpressive; the Traverse consumed 17.0 L/100 km while driving around town, and 12.2 L/100 km during a 500-km highway trip.

Maybe, just maybe, GM’s 5.3L V8 with cylinder deactivation wouldn’t be any worse on fuel than the V6, although judging by the small engine bay, a V8 might not even fit anyway.

On the highway, the 2013 Chevrolet Traverse is a solid performer. It tracks straight and true with excellent steering feel, even in the middle of a snowstorm. The all-wheel-drive system favours the front wheels under normal driving conditions, and when the electronic sensors detect wheel slippage, power is automatically sent to the rear wheels, maximizing traction. On city streets, the AWD system reacted quickly and the Traverse lunges forward with little delay, making good use of all four of its wheels, 18 inches in size on our 2LT trim tester, by the way.

2013 Chevrolet Traverse2013 Chevrolet Traverse2013 Chevrolet Traverse
2013 Chevrolet Traverse. Click image to enlarge

The Traverse’s safety features list grows for the 2013 model year. Obviously untested was the new front center airbag, which pops out of the side of the driver’s seat in the event of a crash in order to protect front-seat occupants. According to GM and to the best of my knowledge, this type of inflatable restraint is an industry first. A blind spot monitor is also available, but only on the LTZ.

The Traverse benefits from a decent turning circle radius, a blessing in shopping mall parking lots. This crossover is still a challenge to park into a tight spot because of its width and length. Fortunately, a rear-view camera is standard on every trim level and rear park sonar is included on all but the base LS.

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