I took a quick road trip from Los Angeles up to Northern Calif in the 2010 Chevy Traverse. It's basically the same car under the skin as the Buick Enclave and other large GM crossovers so I expected to like it and I did. This version is a mid trim LT and has the 2LT package - that means a nicely equipped SUV including such features as leather seats, Bose stereo and OnStar - no nav screen in the dash, no sunroof and no rear seat video system.
Like the Enclave, the Chevy Traverse has an excellent highway ride, plenty of power and comfortable seats. The main difference between the Buick and the Chevrolet is interior appointments - the Buick is clearly nicer with more chrome trim, faux wood and more interesting textures. The Traverse looks a few cuts above basic with a nice two tone dash, leather steering wheel and shift knob and black rubber and plastic for the center console. Although the front seats are comfortable -after three hours in the driver's seat with no break, the seat bottom started to feel a little hard.
Since there's no nav screen, Chevy moved the rear parking monitor to the rear view mirror and that takes some getting used to. Still, a cost effective solution for those that don't want or need a nav system. Besides, OnStar can give you turn by turn instructions and the radio display shows arrows and street names when navigation is active.
Because this is an all-wheel drive version, fuel economy isn't great. On the highway I was getting better than 22 mpg but around town I could almost see the gas gauge move as the 3.6 liter V6 had to move the big SUV from a dead stop through left turn arrow heavy El Dorado Hills, Calif. In LS and LT models, the V6 makes 281 hp, in LTZ trim it's good for 288. Still, the engine is fine even at the lower hp rating and provides more than enough power for everyday use.
Here's the bottom line, if you really want a Chevy Tahoe, drive the Traverse first. They feel similar in size but the Traverse has more useable interior room and feels less like a truck than the body on frame Tahoe. In the end, anyone who doesn't need to tow or go off-road may be wasting money on the V8 powered Tahoe.
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