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All-New, 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Improves in Every Way as Family Vehicle



New, 2018 Chevrolet Traverse SUV

General Motors unveiled the all-new, 2018 Chevrolet Traverse at the North American International Auto Show, and it’s a great upgrade over the first-generation model in virtually every way imaginable.

Starting off with design, the new Traverse looks more like an SUV than its minivan-esque predecessor, featuring slightly boxier proportions reminiscent of the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban. It’s a very attractive vehicle that doesn’t try too hard to be attractive.

The more practical shape combined with a longer wheelbase of course means more passenger volume, third-row legroom and cargo room.

Speaking of passengers, the cabin of the second-generation looks and feels more premium and boasts a slew of available new connectivity technologies that include 7- and 8-inch MyLink infotainment systems with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, an OnStar 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, a bevy of USB charging ports, and Chevrolet’s Rear Seat Reminder feature.

The naturally-aspirated, 3.6-liter V6 of the previous Traverse has been significantly upgraded to now produce an estimated 305 horsepower, up from 281 ponies. Buyers also have the option of a new Ecotec 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that generates 255 horses and 295 lb.-ft. of torque, more than the V6’s 260 lb.-ft.

Both engines are mated to a Hydra-Matic nine speed transmission and feature fuel-saving stop/start technology. Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is an available option and can be equipped with twin-clutch technology that optimizes traction in all conditions such as snow and ice.

On the safety front, the Traverse is a lot safer than before, thanks to a host of safety features that include automatic emergency braking, a surround vision system, front pedestrian braking, forward collision alert, and lane-keeping assist.

As with the Chevrolet Malibu, GM even saw it fit to add the Teen Driver function as part of the package, allowing parents to set certain controls and performance limits to the Traverse when their teenage children take it for a spin.

The 2018 model year introduces two new trim levels: A blacked-out RS edition with a dark chrome grille, black chevy logo and unique 20-inch wheels, and a luxury-oriented High Country edition with such premium highlights as Loft Brown leather upholstery and just about every optional feature on offer.

Sales of the all-new, 2018 Chevrolet Traverse begin in fall 2017. Are you happy with the end result? Will you consider it as your next family vehicle? Share your impressions in the comments below.

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New, 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Gets RS Treatment, Turbo Engine



New, 2018 Chevrolet Traverse RS SUV

The Chevrolet Traverse lineup has received a sportier touch in the form of the new Traverse RS.

Unveiled at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, the Traverse RS is the first Traverse to get a turbocharged engine, one that makes 257 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission that helps the three-row, seven-passenger crossover deliver an expected EPA fuel economy rating of 20 mpg in city driving and 26 mpg on the highway.

The RS treatment appears to be more of an appearance and comfort package than it is a performance-focused one, adding blacked-out exterior trim and such standard equipment as HID headlamps, active shutters, an eight-inch infotainment system, heated seats, Bose audio, and unique 20-inch dark wheels. It doesn’t come with all-wheel drive, nor does it have it as an option.

The Chevrolet Traverse RS is currently available in the United States with a $43,095 MSRP (including freight).

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Compact Cars

Byton’s 300-Mile Electric SUV Concept Takes Aim At Tesla



Electric Byton SUV

If you have never heard of Byton, don’t worry — we write about cars everyday, and neither have we.

Making its North American debut at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Expo, Byton is a Chinese upstart that clearly wants to give Tesla Motors a run for its money. The company showed off its first concept at the show, an all-electric SUV that CEO Carsten Breitfeld claims “will deliver an entirely new connective experience for people on the move.”

The Byton SUV was designed in German and, as far as technology is concerned, probably has more in common with the latest smartphones than it does with the average car, boasting such gen-y features as facial-recognition-enabled locking and profiles for seat position memory, entertainment settings and more.

Its attractive and modern exterior is reminiscent of Faraday Future’s FF 91, while the interior seats seven and is highlighted by a massive 49-inch “shared experience display” screen that spans the entire dash complimented by a 8-inch touchscreen integrated into the steering wheel.

The seats can pivot, providing all passengers access to the display. Multiple, cloud-enabled productivity or entertainment features like Amazon Alexa are abound and are powered by a 5G connection.

When the SUV arrives, buyers will have the option of two versions. The base model will have a rear-wheel drive configuration and a 71 kWh battery pack that should give it a driving range around 250 miles, while the second version is all-wheel drive and packs a larger 95 kWh battery that lets it travel 325 miles.

Rear-drive models will have 400NM of torque (~300lb-ft) to work with, and the dual-motor all-wheel-drive variant will pump out 710NM (just under 525lb-ft). These are very ambitious performance figures for a Jeep Grand Cherokee-sized SUV poised for production.

As is customary of most premium electric car concepts these days, there is an autonomous driving system that, like Tesla’s, can be upgraded via software. Launch models features enhanced Level 3 components, while Level 4 will be offered sometime later as an over-the-air upgrade.

The production Byton electric SUV will be ambitious in its engineering, but perhaps not as ambitious as its claimed starting price of just $45,000 U.S., which greatly undercuts the Tesla Model X. It launches in China in 2019, with European and U.S. sales beginning later on.

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Kia Niro EV Concept Previews Kia’s Long-Range Electric CUV



Kia Niro Electric Crossover Concept

For those that like or are even considering getting the Kia Niro plugin hybrid, but want more electrification, the Kia Niro EV Conept is a preview of what’s to come.

Unveiled at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Expo, the full-electric crossover is just a concept, but Kia has already stated a specific range of 238 miles (383 km), which, as it turns out, is the exact same range that the Chevrolet Bolt EV launched with. A coincidence? The Korean automaker isn’t the type to play games, so likely not.

The elimination of an international combustion engine renders a traditional grille unnecessary, with the Niro EV featuring a smooth interactive display panel instead. It is powered by powered by a next-generation electric vehicle powertrain that pairs a 64 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack with a 150 kW electric motor.

Designers opted for a minimalistic interior boasting new technologies, including an advanced pedestrian warning system that uses multiple front-view cameras, object-recognition technology and front speakers to detect and alert pedestrians or cyclists of the car’s presence. The system also uses the grille-mounted display to provide visual communication.

The production Kia Niro EV will be one of the first long-range crossovers available when it launches, as well as just one of 16 new green vehicles that Kia will introduce by 2025, including a new hydrogen-powered, fuel-cell electric vehicle sometime in 2020.

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