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2009 Chevrolet Traverse FWD LTZ Review

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2009 Chevrolet Traverse

SEE ALSO: Chevrolet Specs, Pics and Prices-Chevrolet Buyers Guide

John Heilig
The Auto Channel


Model: 2009 Chevrolet Traverse FWD LTZ
Engine: 3.6-liter V6
Horsepower/Torque: 281 hp @ 6400 rpm/253 lb.-ft. @ 5500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 118.9 in.
Length/Width/Height: 205.0 x 78.4 x 72.8 in.
Tires: P255/55R20
Cargo volume: 24.4/68.8/117.9 cu. ft. (behind 3rd row/behind 2nd row/maximum)
Fuel economy: 17/24/16.3 mpg (city/highway/test)
Fuel capacity: 22.0 gal.
Sticker: $41,285 (includes $735 destination charge and $1,475 in total options)

The Bottom Line: Chevrolet promotes the new Traverse crossover as the “ultimate family vehicle” that should compete with the Ford Flex, Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot. In reality, the Traverse and Flex seem more like decent competitors, with the practicality edge going to the Flex and the looks edge to the Traverse.
The Traverse is a very good family vehicle – at a price. Because to be a good family vehicle, you shouldn’t price a $25,000-$30,000 vehicle at well over $40,000. Is this GM’s problem?

The all-new 2009 Chevrolet Traverse is the latest entry in the crossover wars. As such it’s a very nice vehicle with all the attributes one would want from a vehicle that has versatility and practicality with decent power and handling and plenty of room.

What’s wrong with the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse is its price. Chevy wants to compete with the Ford Edge and Honda Pilot, among others, yet it has priced the Traverse more than $10,000 higher than either of these. Sadly, this will take it right out of the market it hopes to compete in.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse is a heck of a vehicle. It has very good power from the standard 3.6-liter V6. I would have liked better fuel economy than the 16.3 mpg we achieved in our test, but that could have been due to my heavy foot. It shares its platform with the Saturn Outlook and is built in Saturn’s Spring Hill, TN plant.

The front seats in our 2009 Chevrolet Traverse tester were upholstered in an interesting black and tan that made me want a beer all the time. Seriously, the seats were comfortable with the added advantage of their being heated and cooled. The front seats didn’t offer exceptional side support, but, oddly, the side support in the second row bucket seats was better. The third row seating is a bench that is good for three passengers thanks to a flat floor.

Access to the third row is good with a sliding second-row seat.

To eliminate that closed-in feeling, the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse has two sunroofs, one over the driving compartment and one over the second row. My granddaughter enjoyed the second-row sunroof because she could see the trees overhead. In addition, the third row offers an decent-sized side window, which also helps to eliminate the closed-in feeling.

Speaking of granddaughters (and child seats), the LATCH connection on the second row seats is easy to connect, but it must be made from the third row. Fortunately, most families won’t be changing the child seats that frequently, so it isn’t a major problem.

Our 2009 Chevrolet Traverse tester was the LYTZ, which has a base price more than $10,000 in excess of the20base LS. For this 10 grand you get a 115V three-prong outlet, touch-screen navigation, rear camera system to aid in backing up, XM Nav traffic, a heated windshield, the heated and cooled front seats, dual exhausts and 20-inch wheels. This is over the LT trim, which offers remote start (which is great in winter weather), a power remote liftgate (which we found handy), and enhanced visibility side-view mirrors.

A word or two about the mirrors. These are standard oversize (bigger than a car, smaller than a truck0 mirrors with a smaller large convex mirror at the top outer edge. When you learn how to use it (it takes more than a week), these smaller mirrors give you an idea of what may be in your blind spot on either side. They aren’t perfect, but if you take the time to test them in a driveway or parking lot, you’ll find that you can see two lanes over. Unlike Saab’s two-curve convex mirrors, these little mirrors can be ignored, but you’re better off if you learn how to use them.

I found the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse to be frustrating. I liked it and found that it would have been an excellent vehicle when our family was growing. Personally, although I liked the gadgets and extra features, the base LS (at $28,990) would probably suit my family’s needs as well as the much more expensive LTZ.

2009 The Auto Page Syndicate