Chevy’s 2022 Traverse RS AWD is the quintessential family hauler 

The first long road trip with your first child is extremely daunting. Baby-related needs dictate a different kind of packing and need for space you once didn’t require. There’s a reason so many people buy a big SUV once they have a kid, and it’s not just perceived safety. Space quickly disappears, and you’ll never know when you’ll need a makeshift changing table. For our first long adventure after having our first, we loaded up a 2022 Chevy Traverse RS AWD and hit the road.

CUVs have come a long way…

Space and comfort are two things you can never have enough of on a long road trip. Decent fuel economy doesn’t hurt, and all-wheel-drive capability goes a long way in providing confidence. The last fifteen years have seen dozens of entrants into the midsize/large crossover segment, with only small differentiators.

The nuances were even harder to discern when a trio of the sort comes from the same parent company. Back in 2008, GM launched its CUV triplets. Not to be confused with the SUV triplets (Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Cadillac Escalade), the Chevy Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Saturn Outlook arrived as lower-priced, unibody three-row family haulers. My mom had an early Saturn Outlook. It was fine at first, though over time, the cheapness shone through. The first-gen Lambda platform vehicles always felt built to a price lower than the budget even dictated. Let’s not forget that Saturn is long since dead for a reason.

…at least in some regards

Thirteen years later, the Traverse-headlined models are in their second generation, now on the C1XX platform. Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine or, like our tester, a 3.6-liter V6. The latter makes 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are mated to a 9-speed transmission and either front- or all-wheel-drive.

There’s something to say for a vehicle that makes its worth by being gimmick-free. That’s exactly what the Traverse is about. It’s a true family hauler with a focus on space, comfort, and simplicity. The RS package is frilly, but otherwise, the Traverse is a good, functional car. Most importantly, space is copious. Captains’ chairs in the second row freed up room even more, and we had more than enough room for all of our stuff, our kid’s stuff, and a weekend’s worth of ATVing gear.

Road trip time

The Traverse served sufficiently comfortably when pulling long stints behind the wheel. It was easy enough to run multiple hours without stopping for a break to get gas or change a diaper. Mid-tier crossovers can easily falter when comfort comes into play, with the main focus being functionality, and the Traverse fares well here. Only my own overly sensitive spine noticed the slight lack of driver seat adjustability and leg support.

In almost 750 miles of driving, the Traverse proved comfortable, easy to use, and fuss-free. Wireless Apple Carplay and an intuitive infotainment system kept toggling between music and directions easy. Insulation from wind and road noise is on par with the segment norm. The same can be said of the ride quality.

We would have liked more power from the engine and/or forced induction, but that’s a minor complaint. Only in the hills of New Hampshire did the power prove lackluster. Occasionally maintaining highway speeds required digging deep into the gas pedal. Long uphills are best taken with some pre-ascent added speed. We also wish the transmission was more willing to cooperate. The 9-speed automatic is invisible for the most part but doled out a smattering of shifts that were borderline uncomfortable. There’s no hiding that this is a decidedly un-sporty vehicle.

Money matters

Outfitted in the way our test vehicle was, our biggest complaint with the Traverse lies in the price. Three-row SUVs and CUVs span the range of roughly $30k to deep in the triple digits, and the Traverse seen here costs $50,235. We always say on Off the Road Again that $50k is the new $30k, but at this price, a variety of options feel more special and more premium while offering equal usability. The Kia Telluride comes to mind, as does a low-option Jeep Grand Cherokee L.

The 2022 Chevrolet Traverse is a fully sufficient option for those in the market for a vehicle of this sort. It checks the boxes; that’s where it starts and ends. It’s not sporty, and it’s not particularly premium, but it’s good at being a crossover and getting you and your loved ones from place to place. Whether that’s around town or to remote mountains in the middle of nowhere is up to you, and our testing tells us that regardless of adventure, the Traverse is up for it.

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2 responses to “Chevy’s 2022 Traverse RS AWD is the quintessential family hauler ”

  1. Mike Avatar

    Earlier this year I rented one of these out west for a couple of weeks, and was so impressed with it that we bought one for our new family hauler. However, we found a last-years ’21, base model (LS), FWD, and so parted with only $36k or so before all the taxes and fees and whatnot. At that price, the 300+ HP, 27 highway mpg 3-row SUV is a pretty good deal. Ours is about due for its first oil change, has had zero trouble, and has hauled everything we’ve needed it to. We downsized from an ancient Suburban, so the space was a concern, but so far *knock on wood* the traverse has had plenty. The styling is conservative compared to it’s market competition- and that’s a good thing. It’s also got a decently high percentage of American content, if that sort of thing matters to you.

    Unless you fetishize about power sliding doors, this is a real sleeper of a deal for a family truckster.

  2. Salguod Avatar

    We also had a Saturn Outlook, ours was a last of the brand 2010. We looked at a similar mileage and age Traverse at the same time, but because the Saturn was from a dead brand, it was several thousand dollars cheaper.

    I loved it, but although ours was reliable, they had a reputation for trouble. Serious sunroof leaks into the fuse block, timing chain issues and transmission troubles had us concerned. Once we no longer needed to tow a camper and our kids were moving out, we downsized to a Prius.

    Also, minor quibble – there were 4 lambdas, the Traverse, Acadia, Outlook and the Enclave. The Acadia and Outlook debuted in 2007, the Enclave in 2008 and the Traverse in 2009.