2018 Traverse RS adds sporty turbo to Chevy's 3-row SUV

Chevrolet has rolled out a new, sportier version of its Traverse SUV, and while it's hardly going to compete with a Corvette it's still a little more interesting than what else is on the school-run. The 2018 Traverse RS joins the five other variants of Chevy's midsize SUV, the first of the line-up to include a turbocharged engine.

That's a direct-injected Ecotec 2.0-liter turbo, which Chevrolet says is good for up to 257 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque. Those numbers might not sound jaw-dropping, though they do put the Traverse RS ahead of Ford's 2.0-liter EcoBoost in the 2018 Edge. That kicks out 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft.

Sweetening the deal, Chevrolet points out, is the fact that 90-percent of the Traverse RS' peak torque arrives from just 2,100 rpm. It also throws in a nine-speed automatic transmission as standard, which promises both sportier lower ratios and economy-minded upper gears. The EPA is yet to weigh in with final numbers, but Chevy is estimating the 2018 Traverse RS will see 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

Really, though, the new SUV is more about looking good than setting any street performance records. The grille gets blacked out, along with matching black window trim and roof rails. The Chevy bowtie emblems are finished in black, too. Even the wheels match, with 20-inch alloys with a Dark Android finish.

HID headlamps and LED daytime running lamps are standard, as are upper and lower active aero shutters. There's a power liftgate at the back, and various active safety tech: lane change alerts with blind zone warnings, rear cross traffic alerts, rear parking assistance, surround vision, a rear camera mirror, and a rear seat reminder. Remote, keyless start and Chevrolet's Teen Driver mode are also included.

In the cabin, there are Jet Black leather-trimmed seats – with heating for the driver and front passenger – tri-zone automatic climate control, and a Bose 10-speaker audio system. Chevrolet throws in its MyLink infotainment system, too, with an 8-inch touchscreen and navigation as standard. OnStar 4G LTE and a WiFi hotspot are also baked-in, with a three month, 3GB trial for data. Keep the rear seats up and you'll fit seven inside; drop the second and third rows and you can tote 98.2 cubic feet of cargo.

Chevrolet says the 2018 Traverse RS is available now, priced at $43,095 including destination.