My Experience Driving a Chevrolet Traverse

Recently we took a vacation to Yellowstone Park, Glacier Park, and other points of interest in Montana and Wyoming. We flew to Montana and rented a
car. I asked for a Nissan Xterra, but Hertz rented me a Chevrolet Traverse instead (apparently GM is dumping them to the fleets since they had at least 10 of them at the Helena airport and we constantly saw them in Yellowstone). We wanted the Xterra so we would have room far a couple of bikes inside. Fortunately the Traverse did have enough room for two bikes (with some maneuvering of the bikes and luggage).
The Traverse was probably the most loaded up car I have ever driven. It had just about every possible option (sun roof, heated and cooled power seats, with power recline, multi CD player, rear seat entertainment, AWD, 3.6L V6, power lift gate, etc, etc).
The good stuff - very comfortable seats, decent power even at high altitude and with the lower octane gas they sell in Montana, quiet (except in cross winds), stable, OK gas mileage (averaged around 20 mpg for 2000 miles), decent ergonomics (although they are falling into the Toyota practice of scattering similar looking controls all over the place), smooth transmission, zero problems during the trip.
The bad stuff - horrible sight lines (it felt like riding around in a cave but it did have a back-up camera and the ultrasonic rear parking aide to somewhat compensate), numb handling (which was uncomfortable on some of the narrow winding mountain roads we drove on), somewhat sensitive to winds (which again was uncomfortable on some mountain roads), poor rear access for loading the bikes, mediocre plasticky interior (except for the seats which were nice), mediocre ride.
I don't have much experience with current crossover vehicles. My only other experience has been with my parent's recent vehicles - a Ford Freestyle (totaled in an accident) and a Toyota Highlander (the replacement for the Freestyle).
Of the three, I preferred the Freestyle. It had the best handling, ergonomics, and was the quietest and cheapest (but was also under powered - it was the original 3.0L V6 version). It was also the most car like. The Traverse is the most SUV like, with the Highlander somewhere in between.
It is difficult to fairly compare the loaded up top of the line Traverse to my Mother's base Highlander. For sure the V6 in the Traverse was much quieter, smoother and more powerful than the big four cylinder in my Mother's Highlander. But, the Highlander was likely much less expensive and gets better gas mileage. The passenger room is a wash, although I am sure loading the bike's into the Highlander would have been even more difficult than loading them into the Traverse. The interior quality was similar, with the Traverse maybe having a slight edge. The Traverse's handling and stability was better than the Highlander, but the ride was much worse (but then the Traverse is AWD, the Highlander Front Wheel Drive Only). The vision out of the Highlander is much better than out of the Traverse (a result of GM's preference for appearance over function??). I think the Highlander looks better than the Traverse, but I think if you buy one of these vehicles, looks is not high on your list of requirements. I have no idea regarding reliability. My Mom's Highlander has been flawless after 6 months, the Traverse was flawless for 2000+ miles (It had 7500 on the odometer when we dropped it off).
I am not really in the market for a Crossover myself. If I was I doubt I'd buy either the Traverse or the Highlander. I'd more likely be attracted to a Honda Pilot or the new Explorer (the new "Crossover" version coming soon). If I am going to buy a truckoid, I want it to look like a truck, not some muscled up mini-van or a station wagon.
I was disappointed we did not get the Xterra. I only saw one rental Xterra on the trip (none were in the lot at the Helena airport). I think it is somewhat dishonest for Hertz to show you the Xterra as the mid-sized SUV choice and then rent you a beefed up mini-van instead, but I guess all was well in the end.
Ed
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Nice SPAM!
--
We have met the enemy and he is us-- Pogo

Anyolmouse
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Did you ever lay the hammer down in the Freestyle? It has a cone and belt CVT and I have heard reports that it feels slow when it really isn't. A friend of mine has one and she hasn't mentioned anything.
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Not all of the Freestyles had CVT transmissions. They offered a 6 speed automatic as well in the Front Wheel Drive models. Has it happens, my Mother's Freestyle did have the CVT. The CVT helped the performance, but the performance was still not as strong as the Traverse. I assume the later Freestyles (aka Taurus X) with the larger V6 and conventional automaitcs had performance similar to the Traverse.
Ed
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The problem with CVT tranny is the average driver does not know how to drive them. Unlike a conventional automatic the CVT will not start in the lowest drive range unless the throttle is fully depressed. The proper way to start a CVT is to floor the throttle until one reaches the desired speed then moderate the throttle as needed.

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drive
lowest
to
speed
Haven't found that to be true with my CVT equipped Cube. Looks like it would be hard on the mpg also.
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Anyolmouse
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On 9/9/2010 9:57 AM, Mike wrote:

I would be picked up daily in my 2008 3.5 Maxima if I drove it that way.
Don

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Seem like more bad advice.
With electronic throttle control, the Powertrain Controller actaully handles the throttle opening for you. In the case of my Mom's Freestyle (and the CVT equipped Saturn Vue I owned a few years back), you pressed on the accelerator pedal to achieve a desired rate of acceleration. The engine speed was not directly realted to the throttle position. Following your bad advice would only be appropriate if you were going for the maximum rate of acceleration (like if you were in a drag race). For day to day driving only an idiot would floor the accelerator everytime....
Ed
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Speaking as one who has owned 3 cars with CVTs, 2 Altimas and a Rogue, granted they're Nissans, not Chevys, I can say unequivocally that you are full of it. The proper way to drive a CVT is identical to the proper way to drive any automatic. The only car I have ever driven that needed the throttle to the floor when starting out, was the 48 horsepower '79 diesel Rabbit.
On 9/9/10 9:57 AM, in article xvydnaltiuNsaBXRnZ2dnUVZ snipped-for-privacy@ptd.net,

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On Tue, 07 Sep 2010 09:34:01 -0400, C. E. White wrote:

Ed's got guts. He *admitted* driving a Chevy!
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What the Hell, at least it was only for a week or so. Can you imagine actually BUYING one of those tin boxes and being stuck, for its life..probably all of 5 years, with it?
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I would not buy one, but it seemed solid enough. I know plenty of people with 10 and 15 year old Chevys that have many miles on them. I feel certain that the Traverse would last just fine. My SO, who is a commited Toyota owner, claimed she liked the Traverse. I merely thought it was OK.
Ed
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