In connection with American cars, everyone remembers the turning point of the 1970s, when after the oil crisis fuel was stopped and powerful bubbling eight-cylinders with megalomaniacal volume and ridiculously disproportionate power suddenly went out of fashion. At that time, car companies also realized that it was necessary to move on, which gave rise to a number of new and economical models.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

In Europe, six-cylinders are rather a rarity, in America they are still standard.

Domestic manufacturers took a long time to adapt to this trend, which allowed the Japanese to enter the market, who still have a strong position in the United States today. And as time progressed, six-cylinder and four-cylinder engines came into play, many times equipped with a turbo.

Unlike Europe, however, North American manufacturers have kept those powerful six-cylinders, only modernizing them so that they emit less emissions and are not so thirsty. On our continent, we went (with some exceptions) on the path of four-cylinders, hybrids, or the many controversial three-cylinders.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

The giant Chevrolet Traverse is considered a mid-size SUV in the United States.

So what does such a typical family SUV look like behind a big puddle? You’re looking at it right now, and in American scale, you’re looking at a mid-sized model. The car measures “only” 5,189 mm in length, 1,996 mm in width, 1,795 mm in height and has a 3,071 mm long wheelbase. It is therefore a similarly designed car as the Mercedes-Benz GLS, so it is a really big car for our continent, but a common standard in the USA.

Nor should it, when a GMC Yukon with a length of 5.33 meters or 5.72 meters in the XL version is considered a full-fat SUV here. And the same applies to the Cadillac Escalade-V or the longer Escalade-V ESV. And do you know what they call a Lexus RX like that in America? Crossover…

Photo: Jiří Cermák

The car is approximately 5.2 meters long. It thus reaches the proportions of the Mercedes GLS.

Reveling in space

In short, they like space in America, and this is reflected in their cars, but not only from the outside. Both he and a look at the tested 2019 Traverse suggest that it’s “larger than usual” inside. Due to the width of the model, in the first row, we find proper leather chairs and also a wide armrest, which can also fit a lot of things. The size of that elbow is almost three times the European standard.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

Sitting in the second row is not a punishment, the seats here are considered comfortable.

And it is no different in the second row, where in the tested specification we find two captain’s chairs, each equipped with an elbow rest. What about the third row? In a regular European car seats for children or as punishment, in Traverse a full-sized seat for adults. And what about the trunk? The basic volume (from floor to ceiling) behind the third row of seats is 651 liters, however, fold the third row and you have 1,645 liters at once, or a respectable 2,781 liters of volume appears after folding the second row as well.

If we go back to the front, specifically to the leather-upholstered dashboard, we find that the model looks quite ordinary here. Some elements such as the button, the light controller, the gear lever, the font and pictograms, or the graphics of the multimedia system will noticeably remind you of Opel cars. Why not, when the owner of Chevrolet, the General Motors concern, also owned Opel for a long time.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

The layout of the dashboard is reminiscent of Opel cars.

However, this interface also appeals to Europeans, because they are used to Opel, so even new users can find their way around it quite quickly. The control of most functions here is handled by buttons, so you can use the touch screen for initial settings or for regular Apple CarPlay / Android Auto mirroring.

Inside, we also found five practical gadgets that we really enjoy. The tested piece has a 4 × 4 drive, however, you can use the round selector to choose whether the four-wheeler should be involved in the action (and thus increase consumption), or whether the rear axle should take care of everything. You will also find a mode for winter and for towing trailers.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

The basic volume of the trunk up to the roof is 651 liters.

The second element is the camera for the central rear-view mirror, because it is calculated that you will be riding in a large family SUV in several people. And so that the driver can comfortably see behind, he can use a digital image instead of the classic glass reflection. Great helper at night by the way.

Thirdly, we have a separate round selector to suit the opening of the fifth door, which offers a position fully open, open to ¾ or power opening off. This is useful when parking in underground garages or other lower spaces.

It is also worth mentioning the ventilation control for the second heated row with the function of automatically maintaining the set temperature, a 230V electrical socket and two USB ports. Finally, we have a secure storage box behind the vehicle’s info system, where you can store smaller items.

The overall impression of the interior is decent even after 130,000 km, there is practically no noticeable wear. Some of the plastic cracked occasionally while driving, but that’s all. The seats were not pushed in, the leather was not worn, the plastics were still fresh.

Trouble with an automatic

An aluminum 3.6-liter naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine works under the hood of the tested unit, which was seconded by a turbocharged four-cylinder two-liter engine in the model range at the time. But few people here would buy this car with a four-cup, when they can have a velvety-sounding six, which is not even thirsty.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

The aluminum six-cylinder 3.6 liter DOHC can drive under nine liters per hundred.

If you were expecting ten liters of gasoline for a hundred or more, we will lead you astray. Unlike the indirect injection Pentastar V6 working for example in the MPV Pacifica, this six-piston piece from GM has a much lower appetite thanks to direct injection. In a mode without a large proportion of highways, using inertial driving and a rather defensive driving style, you will reach 8.4 liters like us. And we certainly weren’t behind snails in traffic, but they used more brains than brake-gas.

If you were to drive the car more on the highways, then the 10 liters per hundred will definitely show up there. After all, it is a two-ton heavy and bulky mass on 20-inch aluminum wheels with 255/55 tires.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

Even on 20-inch wheels, the car does not lose comfort.

The Hydra-Matic 9T65 nine-speed automatic transmission also has its share of consumption, which fits in the same package as the original automatic six, but the weight of the case has increased by only 10 kg! GM applied 60 patents on this transmission and produced approximately 800 prototypes. The perfect automaton? Not quite.

Early production Hydra-Matic 9T65 transmissions can experience significant deceleration when cold when shifting (even slipping) from 1st to 2nd gear, even in manual mode. Trable can also occur after warming up to operating temperature when shifting from two to three and then to four, when the transmission can momentarily go into neutral, which the control unit can evaluate as an error and indicates it by lighting up the emission control system indicator light (chicken, helicopter , check engine light vernacular).

Photo: Jiří Cermák

A potential scarecrow is the Hydra-Matic 9T65 automatic. So drive the car sufficiently when buying a used one.

The cause of these problems is an undersized spacer washer/plate opening between the valve box and the housing itself.

However, there were other glitches as well. For example, the fifth to ninth gear occasionally locked, excessive noise sometimes appeared during deceleration, or oil leaked from the gearbox or the letter D (drive) flashed on the instrument panel.

In addition to the Traverse (model year 2018-2021), the affected cars included the 2018-2021 Buick Enclave, 2020-2021 Cadillac XT5, 2020-2021 Cadillac XT6, 2019-2021 Chevrolet Blazer, 2020-2021 GMC Acadia.

Foto: Cadillac

Potentially affected vehicles also include the 2020 and 2021 Cadillac XT5 and XT6.

Because of this problem, the GM concern even created a pilot program in 2020 where problematic transmissions were repaired. However, it only applied to cars sold in the United States that were less than 18 months old and had less than 18,000 miles (28,968 km).

On a second note, however, we must add that during our test the machine did not get angry even once. However, if you are considering the Travers as a used car, we recommend a long enough test drive to test the automatic both when cold and after it has warmed up. After all, not every cabinet was problematic, only some users complained about these problems, however, in the number of reported pieces, it is definitely a potential defect that is worth a thorough investigation.

The path to the Czech customer

The tested Chevrolet with the above-mentioned mileage of 130,000 km behaved on the road like a cruise ship on the ocean. Although the car wore large wheels, thanks to the higher profile of the tires and the overall high lift similar to off-road vehicles, the model successfully ironed out all the bumps. And it had worn rear arms, which the importer replaced after our test.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

You can’t complain about the ride comfort, the chassis irons out unevenness well.

You can’t complain about the power output of 314 hp and the torque of 360 Nm. These are adequate values ​​for large and heavy family SUVs. This Chevrolet is certainly not lacking in dynamics, as well as the beautiful sound of the fork six traveling up to the limit of 7,000 revolutions per minute. Put simply, when you step on it, the car goes. And yes, if you overdo it with the gas when starting off, e.g. at an intersection, there is no problem spinning the rear wheels in 4 × 2 mode.

However, the biggest attraction for this model is the living space, which will seriously excite you. Few European/Japanese/Korean cars offer this much space. The quality of the car is also comparable, with no major issues (probably) apart from potential problems with the automatic. That is, assuming that the car is serviced regularly, it was not driven only for short distances around the city and it was not filled with low-quality fuel.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

Two adults can comfortably fit in the back and won’t be short on space at all.

A certain scare may be the limited number of service points, or the fact that you will have to wait for some spare parts. The prices of the parts correspond to the category of the car, for example, a diode lamp costs almost 35,000 CZK. So the service won’t be cheap, but you won’t get ripped off like with unnamed German premium brands either.

Another factor is the limited choice of models, because both the used Chevrolet Traverse SUV and the new one are still finding their way to the Czech customer. After all, who among you readers knew that you can buy this Traverse both first-hand and second-hand without any problems…

In any case, the price for a second-generation second-hand car similar to the one we drove at the company Tucar Tuklaty (importer) is between CZK 850,000 and CZK 968,000 including VAT. If you would like a new model (second generation facelift) in 4 × 4, with a V6 engine, warranty and nice equipment, then prepare 1.55 million crowns.

Specifications Chevrolet Traverse 3.6L AWD
Motor naturally aspirated DOHC six-cylinder
Fuel petrol
Displacement volume 3,564 cm3
Performance 231 kW (314 hp) at 6,800 rpm.
Torque 360 Nm at 2,800 rpm.
Transmission automatic, 9 degrees
Tree attachable 4×4
Standby weight 1 997 kg
Front/rear axle MacPherson/five-link independent
Turning radius 11,9 m
Consumption (city/highway) 13.84/9.41 l per 100 km
Fuel tank volume 82 l
Wheels and tires 255/55 R20
Dimensions (length/width/height) 5 189/1 996/1 795 mm
Wheelbase 3 071 mm
Volume of the luggage compartment 651/1 645/ 2781 l (after roof)