In recent years, General Motors has been aggressively updating its inventory of SUVs, optimizing them for the needs of today’s increasingly discerning customers. The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse is one of the first of these new designs to reach the market. A complete rethink of the old model, the new Traverse is smaller, lighter and more agile, while at the same time getting more aggressive styling and a more extensive set of standard and optional features.
While the outside of the 2018 Traverse has become more truck-like, with big body features and sharp angles, the inside has borrowed from crossovers and minivans to deliver a very comfortable and roomy cabin with attractive decoration.
The new Chevrolet Traverse features a similar selection of trim levels to the last-generation model, and they cover a fairly wide range, including two high-end near-luxury trims and a special turbocharged one, with seven trims in total. Combined with two different engine options, two drivetrains, and a choice of several optional packages for each trim, selecting the right Traverse can quickly become complicated.
Compare the 2018 Traverse L vs LS Trims. What is the difference?
If you don’t mind being limited solely to the front-wheel drive model of the Traverse, the entry-level Traverse L can be a very good value. It falls roughly around the median of the mid-size crossover SUV price range, but comes loaded with some very nice technology.
A major component of Chevrolet’s current upgrade cycle for its models has been the infotainment, and the Traverse L comes with a very nice MyLink system running on a 7-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth audio and phone functionality, as well as smartphone app support through Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Other standard features include an automatic three-zone climate control, high intensity headlights with LED running lights, a rearview camera, six USB ports, a digital driver information display, power locks and windows, and heated side mirrors. The Traverse L comes standard with the V-6 engine and a 9-speed automatic transmission, and has no major optional packages.
The basic LS model is fairly underwhelming when considered simply as an upgrade to the L. Its sole feature is the addition of tinting for the rear windows. However, unlike the L, it comes with some options as well. It is the first model that can be outfitted with all-wheel drive. It can also be equipped with a rear-seat entertainment system, and offers a couple of different floor mat and appearance customization options. Aside from those differences, the LS is much the same as the lower L trim level.
Despite offering almost no additional equipment, the LS is a fair bit pricier than the L. The choice between these two models primarily comes down to how important all-wheel drive is. Buyers who do not mind a front-wheel drive vehicle should opt for the L due to its much lower price and good selection of comfort and connectivity features.
Compare the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse LS vs LT Cloth Trim Levels. What is the difference?
The two LT trims are the mid-range versions of the Traverse, with the LT Cloth being the lower one. Its major distinguishing characteristic are the captain’s chairs for the second row. While reducing the seating capacity down to seven compared to the middle row bench, it does significantly improve second-row passenger comfort.
Other features included on this model are a power driver’s seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, satellite radio, roof rails, fog lights, and side mirror turn indicators. The same appearance and convenience packages are available as on the LS, as well as the LT-exclusive Convenience and Driver Confidence Package. That includes a larger 8-inch touchscreen, heated front seats, power liftgate, remote start, and a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross traffic alert.The two LTs are the mass-market models of the Traverse, and the LT Cloth offers a fairly significant upgrade over the LS. For most buyers shopping in this price range, the LT Cloth is going to have many of the key features they are looking for, especially when coupled with the Convenience and Driver Confidence Package. That package offers a fairly strong amount of features for its price, adding to the value of the model as well.
Compare the Traverse LT Cloth vs LT Leather Trims. What is the difference?
It is not hard to guess the major difference between the LT Cloth and the LT Leather trim, though the leather upholstery for the first and second row seats is far from the only thing that the LT Leather adds. The rest of the interior also gets some attention, with more soft plastics and some additional leather trim around the cabin.
It comes standard with all of the LT Cloth features, as well as the contents of the Convenience and Driver Confidence Package. Navigation and a 10-speaker Bose sound system are also standard on the LT Leather. Both of the front seats are heated and powered, and the rearview camera is supported by a set of surround-view cameras.
The LT Leather also rides on larger 20-inch wheels, and offers the same packages as the LT Cloth and LS, aside from the Convenience and Driver Confidence Package that it includes as standard equipment.
Despite pushing the price of the Traverse well into the $40,000s, the LT Leather trim comes very nicely equipped. While its interior is not really up to the level of some near-luxury vehicles, it can easily match many mid-range luxury SUVs in terms of equipment. Some features, such as the navigation system, are first available on this model, as is the leather upholstery, so it can be a good choice if those are must-haves for you.
Compare the Traverse LT Leather vs RS Trim Levels. What is the difference?
The Traverse RS is a specialty trim level based on the LT Leather that uses the optional turbocharged four-cylinder engine instead of the V-6 that is standard on the rest of the Traverse models. It produces less horsepower - 255 compared to 310 for the other models - but gets more torque and slightly better fuel economy. It can only be paired with the front-wheel drive option.
It also comes with its own appearance package, including trim-exclusive 20-inch wheels and a set of blacked out exterior elements. Otherwise, it is identical to the LT Leather trim.
The Traverse RS is a rather unusual trim level. While its smaller engine does get slightly better fuel economy, the difference is not very significant, especially in highway driving. It is also paired up with sporty styling, which is a strange stylistic choice given that it is the weaker model in terms of horsepower. The RS also does not include any kind of other performance upgrades such as upgraded brakes or suspension.In general, only fans of the GM turbo engines are likely to see the appeal of that model. However, it is priced almost the same as the regular LT Leather model, so if you do prefer that option you will not pay too much extra for the privilege. That said, it is only available in front-wheel drive, further limiting its utility.
Compare the 2018 Traverse LT Leather vs Premier Trims. What is the difference?
The Premier is the highest trim level of the regular Traverse lineup, only superseded by the luxury High Country imprint. Most of the added features on the Premier are cosmetic or convenience ones, though there are some comfort options included as well.
The leather upholstery is upgraded to a perforated pattern, which makes the car feel more upscale. The front seats are ventilated as well as heated, and the second-row captain’s chairs get their own heating. Other features added by the Premier are upgraded LED headlights, a hands-free liftgate, power steering wheel adjustment, driving position memory setting, a heated steering wheel, and wireless device charging.
Also standard on all Premier models is the Driver Confidence II package, which includes a forward collision alert with low-speed automatic braking, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, pedestrian detection, and smart headlights. The only other major option for the model is the Redline Edition package, which gives the Traverse a unique appearance and adds a panoramic moonroof.
Compare the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Premier vs High Country Trim Levels. What is the difference?
High Country is a premium sub-brand that Chevrolet has been rolling out among their SUVs and pickup trucks. Designed for luxury, it has a very high-end appearance. The leather covering the seats and serving as interior accents is of much higher quality than on the LT Leather and Premier models, and the interior is further accented by polished wood trim pieces.
The High Country also comes with a panoramic moonroof, automatic high beams, dynamic cruise control and full-speed automatic braking. The rear seats are power-folding, and the High Country also has a better all-wheel drive system with a dual-clutch rear differential. It is the only Traverse model not available in front-wheel drive. There are no additional packages unique to the High Country.The Chevrolet Traverse High Country has some very impressive styling, and is among the most attractive mass-market crossovers, easily on par with some luxury competitors. It can also come pretty close to matching them in terms of price, making for a difficult choice. For those who want a very upscale mid-size crossover, the High Country is perfect, but in terms of features for the money, both the LT Leather and Premier offer better alternatives. However, the High Country is also the only trim level with the full range of Traverse active safety features.
Which Trim Level to Choose?
The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse comes in a number of attractive versions, including many that offer great value. The base L model is perfect if all-wheel drive is not a priority, as it comes with both great equipment and a low price. The two LT models - LT Cloth and LT Leather - are likewise very good options thanks to their nice balance of features and a relatively good price point.
The Premier and the High Country trims are both very stylish, and feature some nice exclusive technologies, but are generally too expensive to just buy for the features alone. However, if you are also after their upscale styling, then these two trim levels can be a good choice in the price range.
• Why buy a 2018 Chevrolet Traverse? w/ pros vs cons