It used to be that American cars were made in America, and foreign cars were made overseas and imported. In that environment, it wasn’t a surprise that many people tried their best to “buy American” to support the local economy, American workers, etc. That simple vision has long since become obsolete, with “foreign” cars manufactured in factories based in the United States while “American” cars are manufactured in another country, often Mexico, and then shipped in for sale. The Chevrolet I’m reviewing is similar, with less than 50% of its components manufactured in the United States or Canada, while 27% of the components are from various states in Mexico. In fact, the engine is from Mexico, but the final assembly point is Lansing, Michigan.
Old habits die hard, however, so when I get behind the wheel of a Chevrolet, a Ford, a Dodge, a Chrysler, I still envision it as an American car, made in America. When Chevrolet offered me the chance to drive the 2022 Chevy Traverse AWD RS, I was quite interested and looked forward to it showing up in my driveway, particularly on the tail of a week driving the lovely 2022 Infiniti QX55 [read my review here]. It may be all in my head, but the Traverse did feel different, a bit more solid, a bit heavier, and definitely more rugged:
While the Infiniti had the edge on sheer luxury (with a considerably higher price tag) the Traverse definitely felt tougher, more ready to handle whatever horrible driving conditions our erratic Colorado winter wanted to throw at it. The weather during my loaner period for the Traverse started out pretty miserable, with about 8-inches of snow dumped during the first night I had the vehicle. Days later, there was still a blanket of frost on the vehicle and plenty of road dirt splashed up on the grill, doors, and wheel wells too.
This model has a Cherry Red Tintcoat exterior and Jet Black / Spice Red interior and featured a big 3.6L V6 with SIDI, VVT, and an 8-speed automatic. SIDI is a Spark-Ignition Direct-Injection engine technology that offers better transient response, improved thermal efficiency, and greater power. VVT is Variable Valve Timing and offers smoother idling, better power delivery, improved fuel efficiency, and lower emissions. Combined, they’re some of the latest Chevrolet engine technologies and offer a really excellent driving experience, with lots of power when needed and a generally smooth acceleration experience in all situations. Car manufacturers aren’t just moving towards hybrid and EV technologies, they’ve also been completely rethinking how those classic internal combustion engines work too.
In fact, the 2022 Chevrolet Traverse RS AWD has decent fuel economy for a big SUV with three rows of seats and good towing capacity: I saw an average in the low 20s and its EPA rating is 17/25. The Traverse has a rated tow capacity of 1,500 pounds stock, and up to 5,000 pounds with the full trailering equipment add-on (which this vehicle had installed). Plenty enough for those two Harleys you need to get to the track or that cute “Tab” teardrop trailer you acquired so you can visit all the National Parks this year.
The 2022 Traverse has a pretty typical Chevy control layout, featuring a modest, but entirely functional 8-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system, featuring wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto:
I may be old school, but I like the classic shifter and particularly its location on the center console. No cognitive load at all. Because the Traverse is relatively wide as a larger SUV that center armrest was delightfully wide too, plenty wide enough that both the driver and passenger could rest their arms on it simultaneously, without any arguments or jabs involved. Why yes, my teenage daughter is often my front seat passenger with these vehicles. 🙂
Like so many General Motors cars, the Traverse also had next/prev track and volume up/down as toggle switches behind the visible steering wheel controls, which I absolutely hate. How do you know which one is which? I listen to a lot of audio books and accidentally pressing next track when you mean to increase the volume is definitely problematic. I suspect I will always dislike this particular feature and wonder if that’s a common reaction to such an obscure control.
Under the infotainment system are the climate controls, with a digital temperature display embedded in the control knob for driver and passenger (in the above, they both display “71”). Very nice. Below that is a Qi wireless charging spot and both a USB-A and USB-C plug for wired connections. If the volume and track controls are awful, these compensate for it with their intuitive location and easy access.
The main gauge display is bright and easy to read, with the usual puzzling inclusion of a tachometer on an automatic transmission vehicle. Does the engine RPM ever matter if you’re driving an automatic?
Notice here that my average fuel economy on this particular jaunt was 27.9 mpg and that my best instantaneous fuel efficiency was an impressive 31.3 mpg. If only it was always that fuel-efficient…
Speaking of the interior, the Traverse has a long interior and a weirdly small rear view mirror which I didn’t like. It felt like there was very little rear visibility and that it was a long way away, down the “tunnel” of the vehicle interior:
You’ll definitely want to rely on your side mirrors if you drive this vehicle, or upgrade to one of the modern large rear view mirror screens with rear cameras that would completely mitigate this problem, turning too little visibility into amazing visibility. Maybe Delco has it as a retrofit, but as is, this was one of the few weak points in the Traverse.
Because it had individual seats in the second row rather than a bench, it offered a feeling of tremendous interior space and room, even though the actual leg room was mediocre if the front seat was pushed back for a tall driver or front passenger:
Similarly, with the third row seats available, there wasn’t much rear cargo room, as you can see in this photo:
The rear cargo space proved quite sufficient for three suitcases and a backpack when I took my kids to the airport, however, even with the third row seats up. I surmise that many families will have the back split, either with “60” down (as above) or “40” down depending on the child’s age. That then offers tons of room. Again, notice the width of the vehicle and the comfortable spacing between the seats in the above photo.
There’s a lot to like with the classic Chevrolet styling of the 2022 Traverse exterior too:
The 2022 Chevy Traverse RS AWD drives really well, it has lots of smart engine technology to ensure a safe drive, it’s very user configurable (you can switch between adaptive cruise control and classic speed-set cruise control, for example), and has plenty of room for a family, comfortably seating six, with luggage and groceries. I quite liked it, and it felt like a step down to get back into my little Mazda CX-5, for sure.
2022 Chevrolet Traverse RS AWD with 3.6L V6 engine, 8-speed automatic transmission, in Cherry Red Tintcoat and Jet Black/Spice Red interior. MSRP: $48,200.00. OPTIONS: Dual Skyscape Sunroof, Trailering Equipment, Cherry Red Tintcoat. AS DRIVEN: $50,040.00
Disclosure: Chevrolet loaned me the Traverse for a week in return for this writeup. Thanks, Chevy!