First Look: 2013 Chevrolet Traverse

Despite debuting just four short years ago, Chevrolet has seen fit to give the Traverse an extensive exterior and interior update for 2013. The 2013 Traverse will be making its debut at the 2012 New York auto show in April, alongside its 2013 Buick Enclave platform-mate.

An all-new cabin

The biggest news for the Traverse lies beneath its refreshed sheetmetal — for 2013, Chevy bestows the eight-person people-mover with an all-new interior. The new digs eliminate hard, poorly-grained plastics that plagued the old interior. Now, buyers will find the Traverse’s cabin abounding with soft-touch materials on almost every surface, premium cloth and leather coverings, and tasteful wood and chrome trim. The instrument panel and front door uppers are now decked out in contrasting stitching and cool blue ambient interior lighting is available as an option. Cloth seat coverings are standard, while leather is optional — with either covering, there are three new interior color choices: Ebony and Mojave (black and tan), Light Titanium and Dark Titanium (grey), and Ebony (all black).

The 2013 Traverse also gets updated gauges and a new center stack. The center stack now houses more straightforward climate controls and a standard 6.5-inch color touchscreen with backup camera, which can be optioned with Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system. Adding a premium touch to the Traverse’s dashboard is all-new wood trim that cascades down the center stack onto the console, which is standard on LT and LTZ trim levels.

Standard on all Traverse models is seating for up to eight passengers in three rows; seven-passenger seating with second-row captain’s chairs is available, a second-row bench is standard. The Traverse also includes the SmartSlide feature on the second row that allows access to the third row and is easily operated by children. There is also room for almost every passenger to have two drinks — scattered around the cabin are a dozen cup holders. For kids who want more to be entertained by more than just a juice box, Chevrolet offers an optional rear-seat entertainment system with a flip-down screen.

Chevy’s new face

The 2013 Traverse wraps the new interior in updated front and rear sheetmetal. Prominently adorning the front of the updated crossover is Chevrolet’s new down-the-road graphic — a large, five-sided, three-bar grille with the golden bowtie logo mounted right in the center and a smaller two-bar lower grille. Bolder head- and taillights, a new front fascia with integrated turn signals and new projector fog lights, and a revised tailgate differentiate the 2013 model from past Traverses.

Powering the 2013 Traverse is the same 3.6-liter V-6 found in last year’s model, coupled to a six-speed automatic. Output is unchanged at 281 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque in single exhaust-equipped models (LS and LT) and 288 hp and 270 lb-ft for the LTZ with dual exhaust. The transmission has been recalibrated for improved shift feel for 2013, and the new shock valving has been used to create a smoother ride around town. Chevrolet expects the Traverse to maintain its 2012 fuel economy ratings of 17/24 mpg city/highway for front-wheel drive models and 16/23 for all-wheel drive models. The Traverse continues to be able to tow up to 5200 lbs.

Updated safety tech

Aside from the now-standard backup camera, Chevy has is now including a front center airbag. The airbag — which is also available on the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave — deploys from the inboard side of the driver’s seat to cushion front-seat occupants in the case of a side collision. Also standard is General Motors’ OnStar system, which comes with six months of complimentary service and use of the OnStar Mobile App to lock, unlock, remotely start, and view vehicle information from a smartphone. Blind spot assist and a rear cross traffic alert are standard on the Traverse LTZ and optional elsewhere.

The 2013 Chevrolet Traverse will go on sale later this year in LS, LT, and LTZ trim levels. Chevy has yet to announce pricing, but the 2012 Traverse started at $32,335 including destination charges.

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