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Despite the fact that both are subject to inexplicable cravings—pickles and ice cream, Chevrolet’s irrepressible urge to build the SSR roadster/pickup—pregnant women share little else with automakers. Shocked? Consider that the birth of the first three General Motors Lambda SUVs—GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook, and Buick Enclave—took place between the fall of 2006 and summer of 2007, and the fourth, the Chevrolet Traverse, just emerged in fall of 2008. That’s a long labor.

Like quadrazygotic (otherwise known as fraternal) quadruplets, the Lambda family shares a lot of stuff under the skin—powertrain and chassis mechanicals, interior measurements—but the four are differentiated by unique faces and bodies. The Traverse’s Chevy genetics dictate a trapezoidal grille bisected by a body-color bridge, like that suggested by the Impala and Cobalt but perfected by the Malibu.

The Traverse’s elephantine body is curvaceous, sharing more with the Enclave than the blocky Saturn and GMC. A stylish upkick in the beltline toward the rear adds flair to the outside, but adds only despair inside, where it hinders visibility for the driver and makes for a more claustrophobic back seat. The tapered side glass leads to a trapezoidal rear window that is likewise exciting visually but annoying practically next to the comparatively wide-open window of the GMC Acadia or Saturn Outlook.

Regardless of brand and resultant styling details, all Lambdas share a spacious and flexible interior. The middle row of seats adjusts fore and aft to better balance legroom between rows two and three, although there is more livable space in the third row than in that of a Chevy Tahoe regardless of the middle bench’s position.

But inside is also where the Traverse’s siblings appear to have gobbled up all the good genes. While the cockpit styling clearly demonstrates more creativity than many other Chevrolets and recalls the Malibu’s swoopy décor, the finish is disappointing, with materials that look and feel cheaper than the competition—particularly the Hyundai Veracruz and Mazda CX-9—not to mention the other Lambda siblings.

You won’t notice much of a difference in driving dynamics versus the other Lambdas, though. For 2009, all four vehicles add direct-injection to the 3.6-liter V-6s underhood, which adds 6 horsepower and 14 lb-ft of torque for totals of 281 and 266, respectively. (Those numbers rise to 288 hp and 270 lb-ft if you opt for the dual exhaust.) Anyone claiming to notice either in a vehicle weighing 4954 pounds is more likely full of baloney than actually observing anything. The Traverse we tested was all-wheel-drive, and managed 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, quick for a vehicle this size but still 0.6 second behind the 553-pound lighter Toyota Highlander. We’ve also sampled front-wheel-drive Traverses, and although the lighter weight might drop a tenth from the acceleration times, complimentary torque steer appears on the menu, and the Traverse’s light steering exacerbates the effects.

Although light, the steering is direct, and like its platformmates, the Traverse exhibits refinement nothing short of amazing for a humongous SUV. Wheel and body motions are controlled, and noise from both wind and the tires is muted. Thanks to the light steering, the Traverse never feels excessively large or heavy, although a long 194 feet to stop from 70 mph betrays the segment-topping mass.

The Traverse’s base price is $28,990, about two grand cheaper than the next step up the Lambda ladder, the Saturn Outlook. The GMC checks in another $1600 above the Saturn, with the Enclave about five grand above that, at $37,805. Our Traverse rang up at $41,385; if you were so inclined to spend a similar amount on a Lambda, we’d suggest starting with the quieter Enclave, getting a nicer interior in the process. All are mechanically identical, and, with the exception of slight variations in cargo volume, offer the same interior space. Lambda offers lots of choices to haul your growing brood, and one amongst them ought to please even the most nitpicky customers—including moms-to-be.

Read full article at - http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/hot_lists/car_shopping/7_passenger_family_haulers/2009_chevrolet_traverse_awd_short_take_road_test
 

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I thought the rear quarter windows would bother me too. I do prefer that they'd been larger. But, since the Traverse has the awesome side mirrors, and a great rear camera I can't tell any problems at all with backing the vehicle or changing lanes. The views out of the Traverse are great! The rear seat headrests block the area the windows don't go already anyway, so it's a non-issue to me.

Also, the interior materials of Chevrolet's have always been a place of ire for the C&D guys. Not sure why, because the way I see it, those materials stand the test of time far better than any "cooshie" internal material that other makers use. In fact, my old Silverado with similar plastics was of the same age as my sister's Camry, yet my interior in my truck was still pristine 9 years later where her's was tearing and faded. They can bash about the Chevy interior all they want. I LOVE IT! Mainly because I'll be driving my Traverse 10 years from now, and I don't want it to look like it's 10 years old. I'm sure it won't!

The 7.7 second 0 to 60 surprised me. Chevy stated they are only 8.6 seconds, C&D's test was much better. I kinda wondered too. My Traverse seems to be dressed exactly like their test model (same price exactly at least.) and it does seem to have a good punch to it when asked to perform. Yet, it still remains very subtle in careful driving applications. I too love the handling. I drove it over a known rough highway with many harsh bumps and dips around a long curve that would send any other car I've driven over it into convulsions, but the Traverse was nothing short of amazing as it kept it's head about the road, feeling ever so in control and able to take on more.
 
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