As for the 2013 model’s facelift, well, it’s an effort that might go unnoticed in the eyes of the average car shopper. The taillights have been revised for the sake of being different, and that’s it. Still, it’s a clean design that won’t offend anybody, and potential buyers are probably more interested in function over form. It’s a personal opinion, but I think the 2013 GMC Acadia looks better.

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2013 Chevrolet Traverse. Click image to enlarge

The Chevrolet Traverse starts out at an affordable $32,995, which is less than the 2012 model. However, the price climbs quickly once you start adding AWD as well as comfort and convenience features. Our $43,125 Traverse 2LT AWD tester comes standard with amenities such as a remote engine starter, a power liftgate, three-zone automatic climate control and heated front seats. Adding leather upholstery, a dual-pane sunroof, a tow package and the aforementioned DVD entertainment system jacks the MSRP up to $49,485. For that sum, you still don’t get heated second-row seats, a navigation system, adaptive cruise control or an intelligent key system. An auto-up feature for the power windows would also be nice.

Similarly equipped seven- and eight-passenger rivals include the Dodge Durango Crew Plus ($50,340), the Ford Explorer XLT 4WD ($45,449), the Honda Pilot EX-L RES ($45,265), the Nissan Pathfinder SL 4×4 ($40,798) and the Toyota Highlander 4WD V6 Limited ($45,100). The three Japanese models don’t feel and drive as big as the Chevy; however, as previously mentioned, none of these can match the Traverse’s interior volume.

By sacrificing some features such as the leather seating, the power liftgate and the climate control system, you can get a nicely equipped Traverse 1LT AWD with a second-row bench for less than 40 grand before taxes and freight charges, which isn’t bad; you’ll just have to settle for a third-party rear-seat DVD player.

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2013 Chevrolet Traverse. Click image to enlarge

Now, about your needs and your wants: like the great American family wagons of yesteryear, the 2013 Chevrolet Traverse has room for the kids, the pooch – and then some – to fulfill your road tripping needs. If a big utility vehicle is what you want, its towing capacity is sufficient for you and you’re not too concerned with its fuel consumption, the Traverse makes GM’s current full-size SUVs seem like dinosaurs.

2013 Chevrolet Traverse 2LT AWD
Base price (2LT AWD): $43,125
Options: $6,360 (rear-seat DVD entertainment system – $2,255; leather seating surfaces – $1,870; Dual SkyScape Sunroof – $1,685; trailer tow package – $550)
Freight: $1,500
PDI: $250
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $51,335

Competitors
Ford Explorer
Ford Flex
Dodge Durango
Nissan Pathfinder
Honda Pilot
Toyota Highlander
Mazda CX-9
GMC Acadia
Hyundai Veracruz
Subaru Tribeca

Crash test ratings
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety