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 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
Crossed Up Corolla Gets More Efficient
Toyota offers a hybrid powertrain in just about everything they make, so it did seem odd that last year, when they debuted an all-new SUV version of their long-time best-selling Corolla, a hybrid was nowhere to be found. Well, it didn’t take long for Toyota to correct that situation, delivering this Corolla Cross Hybrid for 2023.
With prices for everything seemingly going up daily, we can all use a little more cost efficiency in our lives. That’s a mission that Toyota has been undertaking for some time now and continues to do it with this 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid.
The Alabama-built Corolla Cross arrived just last year as Toyota’s attempt to bring their best-selling nameplate into the SUV era, and give them an additional entry into the most popular automotive segment going right now, small crossovers.
There are some RAV4 styling cues here, but the Corolla Cross is mostly its own deal, and the Hybrid is more than just a fuel efficient option, it has added performance too. So, it’s offered only in Toyota’s S line of trims S, SE, and XSE, where the standard Corolla Cross is available in base L, LE, and XLE.
There are some differences outside, most notably unique front and rear fasicas; the front with a much more aggressive look, with larger grille and blacked-out trim.
Black trim and logos in back too, along with a redesigned bumper; plus, you can optionally go 2-tone by adding black paint to the roof.
Great packaging has it feeling roomier inside than most small 5-seat utes, straddling the line between subcompact and compact. And seats are way more comfortable than your typical urban-minded utility.
In fact, the entire interior feels quite upscale, and the layout will be very familiar to those stepping up from an actual Corolla.
Those who put off buying a Corolla Cross until now will be rewarded with upgraded infotainment, as all Hybrid’s will come with Toyota’s latest 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system standard.
The Hybrid’s small battery is located under the rear seat, so there’s minimal loss of rom, with a good 21.5 cubic-ft. of cargo space available; expanding to 61.8 with rear seatbacks folded.
Getting to the heart of the matter, the Corolla Cross Hybrid’s fuel-sipping ways are courtesy of the 5th generation of Toyota’s Hybrid System which outputs a combined 196-horsepower through its trio of electric motors and naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine. One of those motors operating strictly the rear axle for standard all-wheel-drive.
At our test track, there was a nice little chirp of the tires off the line, but that’s where the excitement ended.
So while a 7.5-second trip to 60 may not raise your blood pressure, it’s a full 3-seconds quicker than the standard Corolla Cross we tested last year. We’ll take that!
CVT automatic means engine revs and engine noise both hang relatively high throughout the whole ¼-mile, which took us 15.6-seconds to complete, finishing at a reasonable 90 miles-per-hour.
The Hybrid also gets a “sport-tuned” suspension, and indeed it felt light and nimble through our cone course, very neutral too, with no noticeable understeer or oversteer. Steering was light but still provided good feedback. With some grippier tires, this would certainly give the best handlers in the segment a run for their money.
But the real reward comes in Government Fuel Economy Ratings which are 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined. We averaged a great 43.3 miles-per-gallon of Regular; that’s a 40% increase over the 30.9 miles-per-gallon we averaged in the standard Corolla Cross last year.
But, that does come at a cost, though it’s difficult to make direct comparisons with separate trim families, but pricing starts at $29,320 for the Hybrid, about 3-grand over a base all-wheel-drive non-hybrid. Top XSE comes in at $32,400.
As influential as Toyota is in spreading the hybrid doctrine, it was indeed odd that the Corolla Cross arrived last year without a hybrid option. Smartly, it didn’t take them long to right that wrong, as it was always part of the plan, and the Corolla Cross has benefitted from it greatly. The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is not just more efficient, it’s more capable, and a much better small utility all around.
- Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
- Horsepower: 196
- 0-60 mph: 7.5-seconds
- MW Fuel Economy: 43.3 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: e-CVT
- Torque: 139 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 90 mph
- EPA: 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined