Thursday, October 24, 2013

2014 Chevrolet Traverse LTZ test drive review. Better than drugs

Last Friday night, I was dealing with a kidney stone.  If you’ve never had one, it’s sort of like trying to pass a large cocklebur through a swizzle stick.  Your back hurts.  A lot.  It is very hard to calm things down.  So I ended up climbing out of bed and heading to the emergency room for some pain medicine.  And as I was driving, a soothing sense of calm came over me.  And then I realized, it was because of the vehicle I was driving: a 2014 Chevrolet Traverse LTZ.

It was a combination of mood lighting, driving position, and the excellent heated seat that was treating my condition so effectively.  I felt better than I did in my own bed.  Who knew that a $45,000 crossover would be better than a bottle of oxycodone for dealing with one of life’s most unpleasant ailments.  I was almost disappointed when I got to the hospital, because I knew that an hour in the waiting room, having my blood drawn, and peeing in a cup wouldn’t be nearly as relaxing.

The Traverse is more than just a plush seat for the driver, though.  You can actually fit six more people with almost the same amount of comfort.  I only have one ten-year-old kid, but he thought riding in the third-row seat was the greatest thing of all time.  It also played DVDs via a flat screen that came down from the roof, and it had separate heating and air conditioning controls in the back as well.  You can’t blame him for wanting to take a long road trip back there.  Would have been like sitting in the living room watching movies, and then—bam—Silver Dollar City.

Under the hood resides a direct-injected 3.6-liter V6 connected to a six-speed automatic transmission.  This combo can be found in everything from Cadillacs to Camaros, and it is good in everything it comes in.  Here, we’re looking at 288-hp, which is more than enough to scoot the big Traverse at a reasonable clip.  I honestly never noticed how big this vehicle was unless I was backing up, and even then the backup camera in the 6.5-inch touch screen made than an easy task as well.

When you’re driving something that is meant to haul kids around, you’re probably concerned about safety.  This Traverse LTZ had so many safety features, you would have to be trying pretty hard to get hurt in a wreck with it.  It has a five-star governmental safety rating, thanks in part to airbags literally everywhere in the interior.  The collision alert system flashes red lights on the windshield and vibrates your butt if it things you’re going to hit the guy in front of you.  More vibrations and lights on the mirrors help you out when you’re changing lanes.  And GM’s StabiliTrak system keeps things under control when you may otherwise be out of it.

For 2014, Chevy redesigned the front fascia to look more like the new Impala, and the taillights and rear deck were also changed.  As far as I’m concerned, this was the best thing they ever did.  I can’t say that I was ever in love with the looks of the previous Traverse, but I really liked this looks of this one.  Combined with the Champaign Silver Metallic paint, and a set of sharp-looking 20-inch wheels, this was one upscale, classy looking ride.

That attractiveness carried on inside, where a combination of Light Titanium and Dark Titanium leather and trim was more Cadillac than Chevrolet.  Most of the stuff that you would touch, like the steering wheel and shift knob, was either covered in leather or some kind of soft vinyl material.  And the grey striped, fancy fake wood gave it a warm vibe.  Also, there was what looked like a strip of aluminum trim that spanned across the instrument panel.  But at night, it had a fiber-optic tube light in it.  It was like a magic trick.

I really didn’t think I was going to like the new Traverse this much before I got it, but I was pleasantly surprised.  For a comfortable driver that also has a ton of utility, it would be hard to beat.  And if you have a tendency to get kidney stones, I could not recommend anything better.  Check it out in the slideshow below, or click this link for a nicer version.

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