2018 Chevrolet Traverse
General Motors pretty much kicked off the large 3-row crossover movement with their 2007 Saturn Outlook. but, it didn’t take long for rivals to one-up the general with slightly smaller and nimbler competition. Since 2009, the Chevrolet Traverse has been the lambda platform’s volume leader. and, while clearly a sales success, it really hasn’t changed much over the years. until now that is. For 2018, what’s old is new again.
Indeed, GM has plenty of experience building 3-row utilities; both in the old school SUV fashion, as well as in today’s more popular crossover style. This 2018 Chevrolet Traverse shares the new global C1XX…or “Chi” platform…with the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave as before, but thankfully GM continues to increase separation between brands.
On that note, the Traverse is on the long wheelbase version, same as Enclave, while Acadia is on the standard “Chi”.
At 204.3-inches, that gives Traverse about a foot more overall length than its GMC kin. Also, Traverse is the only one of the trio setup for 8-passenger seating.
Styling is always personal, but sleeker is a word we’ll use. While it’s slightly longer, the new Traverse looks leaner and less bloated, especially on profile, which we think favors the rival Ford Explorer.
Base engine is still a 3.6-liter V6. Now with automatic stop/start, it also adds a tiny bit more displacement thanks to a larger cylinder bore, and ekes out a few more horsepower, at 310. Torque stays the same at 266 lb-ft.
It’s also helped by a new 9-speed automatic transmission.
Believe it or not, a 2.0-liter turbo-4 is the engine upgrade. It features less horsepower, at 255, but more torque at 295 lb-ft. Currently available only in sporty RS trim, and only in front-wheel-drive. All other trims except for the base L, can be equipped with all-wheel-drive; while top level High Country models get a more advanced twin-clutch traction system.
Our time with a front-wheel-drive 3.6-liter, revealed that it remains totally adequate for performing family hauling and commuting duties, but never feels overly powerful. Max. towing is actually down 200-lbs. from last year to an even 5,000.
The 9-speed certainly helps fuel economy, as the Government Ratings are up across the board; now at 18-City, 27-Highway, and 21-Combined. We averaged a good 22.9 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
For a reasonable, for an SUV, Energy Impact Score of 15.7-barrels of yearly oil use and 6.9 tons of CO2 emissions. 2.0-liter fuel economy ratings are 20-City, 26-Highway, and 22-Combined.
Better news than all of that, is that the new Traverse fully feels nimbler behind the wheel; on the street at least, which is certainly where the Traverse behaves best. But with that, comes a sense that it’s not quite as solid feeling as some in the segment.
And, on our handling course, we still fought plenty of understeer; steering feel has noticeably improved, but we’d still consider it slow to respond to inputs.
Grunty low-end torque makes for an efficient leap off the line. The quick-revving 6 delivers power stoically throughout the range. We hit 60 more than a second quicker than in our last Traverse test at 6.9-seconds; with the full ¼-mile taking 15.3-seconds at 93 miles-per-hour.
With fade-free, consistent stops from 60 of just 118-feet; we give it very high marks for braking too.
Don’t know if it’s an early software issue or not; but away from the track, the new 9-speed transmission seemed a little clumsy at times; something we didn’t notice with the more refined driving experience of the new Buick Enclave.
“Large and in charge” is the theme inside, with more than adequate room in all seating positions, including the 3rd row…and cargo capacity that’s among class best at 23.0 cubic-ft. behind the 3rd row, 58.1 behind the 2nd, and 98.2 with all seats folded.
Our tester was sensibly equipped in LT trim, which some found a little disappointing. But, High-dollar High Country and RS trims are available if maxing out the bling factor is important to you.
There’s plenty of tech to go around, including GM’s rear camera mirror, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, Apple Car Play and Android Auto, along with lane keep assist and automatic braking.
Traverse pricing is on par with the segment, starting at a reasonable $30,925 and escalating to the very cushy High Country at $53,095.
It’s no secret that GM’s big 3-row crossovers were long overdue for a complete update. And there’s no argument that the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse is now fully improved and modernized. However, we do wonder if GM went far enough. Just being bigger and a bit better doesn’t really cut it in a class where options are many. Still, we do think Chevrolet did enough to be solidly competitive, and the new Traverse will certainly be plenty appealing to all those that prefer their family ride have a domestic name.
- Engine: 3.6 liter / 2.0 liter
- Horsepower: 310 / 255
- Torque: 266 lb-ft. / 295 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 6.9 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 15.3 seconds @ 93 mph
- EPA: 18 mpg city / 27 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 15.7 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 6.9 tons/yr
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined