They may not be sexy, but safety features matter to consumers. According to a 2017 tech study by Autotrader, technology ranks as the top priority for car buyers, specifically, safety technology.
“Consumers say they are becoming increasingly comfortable with advanced safety technology. Seventy percent of respondents noted they would consider paying more for driver-assist technology, such as blind-spot monitoring or adaptive cruise control, in their next vehicle purchase,” according to autotrader.com.
I recently tested the 2018 Chevy Traverse Premier AWD, and it came loaded with technology that consumers want, plus unique safety features that they may want to get to know.
General Motors collaborated with two electronics companies in 1985 to create OnStar telematics, now available on all GM brands. The latest version of OnStar now includes a 4G LTE and available WiFi hotspot.
Every Traverse also comes equipped with new safety technology like Teen Driver, introduced on the Malibu in 2016, and the Rear Seat Reminder that pings after the vehicle is turned off to remind the driver to check the back seat for children or other precious cargo. Teen Driver allows parents to program a car to monitor their teen’s driving habits.
As a Premier trim level equipped with all-wheel drive (AWD), standard safety features on the test model included Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert (left), a rearview camera with Surround Vision bird’s-eye view, rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, and front pedestrian braking.
Chevrolet also partnered with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety to warn parents about the 100 deadliest days of summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and to showcase technology like Teen Driver and the Rear Seat Reminder. According to AAA, during this time, the average number of deadly teen driver crashes climbs by 15 percent compared to the rest of the year. NoHeatStroke.org also notes that for the past 20 years, Texas has led the country in child deaths from being left in a vehicle.
On the test drive, the Traverse produced impressive power from the 3.6-liter V6 engine with 310 horses and 266 lb.-ft. of torque and a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. With AWD and matched to the nine-speed automatic transmission, it had an EPA estimated fuel economy of 17 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. It averaged 18.1 mpg on the test drive.
It had a seating capacity of seven (properly equipped the Traverse can seat up to eight) plus the second- and third-row seats folded to expose 98.2 cubic feet of cargo room. In previous tests, Chevy seats were heavy, spring loaded, and slammed down when deployed, that is not the case on the new Traverse.
Creature comforts on the Traverse included the MyLink infotainment system with navigation and an eight-inch touchscreen (a seven-inch screen is standard), leather seating, heated second-row seats and heated and ventilated front seats, a hands-free power liftgate, Bose stereo with XM satellite radio, and tri-zone air conditioning.
Pricing for the Traverse starts at $30,875. The as-tested price, including the optional dual panoramic sunroof ($1,400), came to $50,065.
Pro: Safety innovations like Teen Safety and the Rear Seat Reminder set the Traverse apart in a crowded segment.
Con: Features like adaptive cruise control and the GM Safety Alert Seat were obvious omissions in the list of available safety features on the Traverse, especially at this trim level.