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2009 Chevrolet Traverse Review by Mark Fulmer

by Mark Fulmer & family


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Here's a bit of AutoChannel straight-ahead logic for you. A family car should be reviewed by a family. And so we shall, all seven of us in our extended Fulmer family, which includes soccer players and soccer moms, a college student, and a teenager among others.

First of all, we are not going to use the word crossover because that sounds strangely spiritual and is not as informative as the term station wagon.

Secondly, (take a deep breath, sit down, and steady yourself) the Traverse is a GM product and it is a very good car.

EXTERIOR

There is a unanimous nodding of heads when commenting on the styling. The Traverse is "sleek" and "cool" and no one mentions that harshest of adjectives: boring. No one is asking to be dropped off at school a block away and safely beyond eyesight of judgmental peers. Perhaps it is because there are bits of its cousin, Malibu, in its mesh front grille, and circular taillights.


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INTERIOR

Special props are dished out for the remote rear hatch, specifically from all those who load and unload grocery bags, lawn chairs, and ice chests.

There are also kind words for the leg room and comfortable seating for all those in rows 2 and 3.

A sustained round of applause is heard from the youngest of the group about the DVD screen and wireless headsets.

When a wagon can seat up to eight and even normal sized folks are comfortable in row 3, you are doing a good job in design.

Yours truly always appreciates an instrument panel with gauges featuring well-fonted white numbers on a darker background which are easily readable.

Fold down rows 2 and 3 and you get 117 cubic feet for youe stuff. Even with seats up, there is 24 cubic feet of luggage space.

There are at least 5 trim levels, and I say at least because you can mix and match features from different levels to suit your needs.

The feature with the highest rating from we who live in a busy California city was the navigation system with real-time traffic.

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First, the Nav voice alerts you to traffic problems and provides a list
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Then it shows you where the problem is on the map view...
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And charts you a detour.

PERFORMANCE

Traverse is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 coupled with a six-speed automatic with manual shift control. EPA fuel economy estimates for the Traverse are 17 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg combined. All-wheel-drive Traverse models are 16/23/19 mpg. Loaded with safety features, it has earned five-star rating for front and side collisions.

The driving experience is quite car-like - no heavy truck-like sluggishness, the Traverse has a light feel and good cruising stance. Even loaded with family folk, it responds quickly and with above average verve. And conversely when you need to stop, the braking system clamps down quite well.

The Fulmer family (and assorted guests and wanna-be boyfriends) all give the Traverse a definite thumbs up.