One of the most discombobulating phenomenons can be arriving in a city you don’t know real well, renting a vehicle you don’t know much about and then driving it through unfamiliar terrains—with the experience only being heightened by the fact that it’s not your ride so you don’t want to return it with a scratch on it.
And yet, when I found myself in Seattle and a borrowed 2020 Chevrolet Traverse, and on routes I have never covered before, everything felt so right.
Now, the one caveat was I had been in a Traverse two years before, in a similar out-of-town situation, although in that case I was 110 miles, as opposed to 1,177 miles, away from home.
With both the 2018 and 2020 versions, I was in the FWD Premier trim, which I know at least a dozen Washingtonians would tell me should be all-wheel drive given the elements of the Evergreen State.
But I encountered rain during my week there—I’m pretty sure you can’t go a week without rain there—and being in a front-wheel drive presented no problems, although I also did not cross any flooded channels.
The engagement did include sharp curves, steep hills, freeway traffic, nighttime runs and mountain driving, but the 3.6-liter V6 engine with spark ignition direct injection (SIDI), Variable Valve Timing (VVT) and a nine-speed automatic transmission got us everywhere we needed to go in safe, comfortable and plentiful power fashion.
More than that, it set up perfectly for the brood we carted around. On most trips, there were four adults and three children. Grandma did not have to be strapped to the roof because the adults sat in the front two rows’ bucket seats and the kids rode in the third row’s 60/40 folding bench seat.
All seats have leather trim and can be heated, while those in front can also be ventilated. The driver gets an eight-way power-adjusting seat, the front passenger’s seat is also power adjustable and both get lumbar control.
With comfort and roominess solved, you can better enjoy standard features, such as the Premium infotainment system with navigation, subscription OnStar services and SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple Carplay streaming through the 10-speaker Bose sound system that you control on the eight-inch color touchscreen with voice recognition.
Keyless open/start, wireless device charging, a 120-volt power outlet, tri-zone climate control, a universal home remote for automatic garage doors, leather wrapping the steering wheel that can also be heated, and a rear camera mirror that is getting less freaky with each Ride Me vehicle that I drive that has it—all of this is also standard.
Among the exterior features you don’t pay extra for are: roof rails; tinted glass, front fog lamps; LED, Intellibeam headlamps; hands-free power lift gate; and heated, auto-dimming, power adjustable outside mirrors with turn signal indicators.
And the standard features that help the Traverse achieve five stars in the Government 5-Star Safety Rating include: teen driver controls; HD surround vision; following distance indicator; front pedestrian and automatic emergency braking; rear-parking and lane-keep (with lane departure warning) assists; and forward collision, rear cross-traffic, lane change/side blind zone alerts.
For an SUV this size, the Traverse gets a combined 21 miles to the gallon (27 mpg highway, 18 mpg city), with annual fuel costs pegged at $1,950 or, over five years, $2,250 more than you’d spend on average compared to the average of all new vehicles. The Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Rating on a 1-10 scale (10 being best) is a 4, and it’s a 6 for the Smog Rating.
For everything described above, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is $45,800. The only add-on for my test Traverse was the $995 Iridescent Pearl Tricoat exterior paint job, which along with the destination charge brought the total MSRP up to $47,990.
Chevy offers a 3 year/36,000 mile (whichever comes first) bumper-to-bumper limited warranty and 5 years or 50,000 miles for the powertrain warranty and roadside assistance with courtesy transportation for your first service appointment.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.