Every week, wheels.ca selects a new vehicle and takes a good look at its entry-level trim. If we find it worthy of your consideration, we'll let you know. If not, we'll recommend one - or the required options - that earns a passing grade.
While more than a few staffers at this august publication prefer to daily the type of vehicle which prioritizes sport over utility, we recognize large swaths of Canadians simply need an affordable large box with which to run errands and get kids to the rink. Two decades ago, the default choice for those duties was a minivan – and two decades before that, a station wagon. Today, lots are filled with the ubiquitous crossover.
Occupying that role at Chevy is the Traverse. For 2022 in this market, it comes with standard all-wheel drive and just one choice of engine – a 3.6-litre V6 which makes a reasonable 310 horsepower. This is a mill which has been installed in umpteen GM products over the years, meaning any repairs and maintenance shouldn’t dent your wallet too badly. A nine-speed automatic transmission handles shifting duties.
As with most cars in the bowtie brigade, an LS trim serves as the base model. It slides under the $40,000 limbo bar by about five hundred bucks which is a long walk from the top-rung High Country examples which stretch their legs well into the $60,000 bracket. Only four colours are on tap for the LS, two of which – including the Northsky Blue shown here – are $495 options. Brightwork stands out around the windows and grille as it does on other trims, but the eagle-eyed will note the LS lacks turn signal repeaters on its side mirror caps and roof rack rails on its topside. Those are 18-inch aluminum wheels at each corner.
There’s no shortage of equipment inside a base Traverse, even if its basic touchpoints are less lavishly upholstered than its more expensive brothers. Base Camp’s best friend, economies of scale, are responsible for even the cheapest Traverse getting features like tri-zone climate control, wireless Apple CarPlay, and handy USB ports in all three rows. Speaking of, the LS has a 2-3-3 seating arrangement, with the front chairs featuring heater elements (assuming GM has enough microchips to turn the things on). Remote start, SiriusXM capability, and the ability to generate a Wi-Fi hotspot are notable features which are likely to keep the troops happy. It should be said the LS only offers a light-coloured interior, a shade which isn’t always family friendly.
LED head- and taillamps are on duty in the LS, lights which are a world away from old-school illuminators which weren’t much brighter than fireflies in jam jars. Typical driving aids like the federally mandated backup cam and stability controls are of course present, but there are also tools like lane keeping and automatic emergency braking to help keep the family safe should this summer’s road trip go all pear shaped.
What We'd Choose
It is always tough to recommend against the entry-level models of most GM crossovers since the company generally includes many of the creature comforts families like on its base trims. Spending an extra $4,300 on a next-level-up LT simply brings a few toys like wireless device charging and an HD surround vision system, though the power rear liftgate is worth a mention. An all-black interior also appears on the LT, though one could buy a lot of Lysol wipes for $4,200.
Still, when every single trim in a model line is powered by the same engine and transmission combo (not to mention shod with all-wheel drive), the frugalist in us naturally gravitates to the least expensive – but still very well equipped – option.