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2014 Chevy Traverse LTZ is ideal all-weather SUV for families

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2014 Chevrolet Traverse FWD LTZ

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For the family who needs a very complete, roomy, comfortable, road capable and safe SUV to compliment their active lifestyle, we seriously recommend the 2014 Chevrolet Traverse.

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Several times during the year, we ask for and get a vehicle that we believe has much more to offer than we might discover during a normal one week ride and drive around our local area.

The 2014 Chevrolet Traverse is one of those vehicles and we wanted to check out the 2014 Traverse in greater detail on a longer trip.

Little did we know, as we departed on our 10-day and 3,200 mile roundtrip from Texas to Ohio, that we would be presented with a full range of weather challenges on the trip that included wind, fog, rain, sleet, ice, blowing snow, packed snow and lots of cold temperatures throughout the trip.

The top-of-the-line 2014 Chevrolet Traverse FWD LTZ we drove on this trip turned every one of those challenges into just minor inconveniences along the way.

Not only did the Traverse handle all of those elements easily, it also delivered exceptional gas mileage - averaging 21.8 mpg for the 288 horsepower (dual exhaust) 3.6L V6 engine mated to the 6T75 Hydra-Matic 6-speed automatic transmission.

Our test Traverse LTZ was in Champagne Silver Metallic with a Light Titanium/Dark Titanium leather interior and front-wheel-drive with a base price of $41,255.

All-wheel-drive (AWD) is available in the Traverse for another $2,000. The AWD is an intelligent system that directs torque to the respective wheels that have the best traction. The weight and balance of our test Traverse FWD was such that we did not feel the FWD was performing any less than the AWD in the snow and ice conditions that we experienced on the trip.

The LTZ trim level comes standard with the dual exhaust V6 power train, runs on 20-inch tires and wheels and with the StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, delivers a more solid presence on the road and certainly added to the performance of the FWD on this trip.

On the outside, it included Dual Outside Mirrors that were heated, adjustable and power folding with turn signals and blind spot indicators; Fog Lamps; Power Rear Liftgate; Remote Start and Ultrasonic Rear Park Assist.

Inside, this Traverse is exceptionally roomy, appropriately luxurious and well equipped for driver ease and passenger comfort alike. It was configured for 7-passenger seating with second-row Captain's Chairs and pass through to a third row bench seat.

There were two significant plus items with the seating to note. The first was the second-row seating that was easily accessed by wide opening doors and the Chevrolet Smart Slide seat system to move seats out of the way for access to the third row.

The other were the excellently engineered front seats which ably supported this driver for stretches of up to 10 hours behind the wheel with absolutely no fatigue while driving - or stiffness when getting out. With the well designed adjustable head rest and eight-way power seating controls for driver and passenger (with recline), this Traverse just may have made the top of our list for driver seating comfort and support.

This Traverse LTZ added Heated and Cooled seating for the driver and passenger; a Tilt and Telescopic Steering Column; Leather Wrap Steering Wheel with Audio Controls; Rear Seat Audio Controls and Headphone Jacks and Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Control with rear seat controls.

For 2014, Traverse included Remote Keyless Entry, a full complement of airbags including the exclusive Front Center Side Impact System; Hill Start Assist; Rear Vision Camera System; Side Blind Zone Alert with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert.

A Bose Premium audio unit anchors the infotainment system for the Traverse. A 6.5-inch Color Touch Screen in the center stack served as the control point for all of the vehicle systems including the very capable Chevrolet MyLink and SiriusXM HD radio systems.

The optional Color Touch Navigation system was added to this Traverse for an additional $795 and it included the XM Radio NavTraffic as part of its configuration.

We would make one small criticism with respect to the size of the Color Touch Screen. When equipped with Navigation, some of the detail info images offered - which are all well thought out - display some information too small for easy recognition by the driver. We struggled a bit with the most complex (and best) of the menu screens offered in the NAV.

We mentioned the room in this Traverse earlier. Putting down the third row of seats, our four suitcases and couple of containers of gifts for family in Cleveland along with our parkas and boots - did not fill the the 70.3 cubic feet of space behind the second row. With the third row up, there is still over 24 cubic feet of cargo space.

On the road, the Traverse - in all of the adverse weather conditions - was solid and in control at all times including ride and suspension, braking, steering, turning radius and had very good driver visibility in all directions due to clear windows from the fast response heating and defrosting system.

Completing our 2014 Chevrolet Traverse FWD LTZ were the optional Trailering Equipment Package for $575 - yes this Traverse also can tow 5,200 pounds; and the Rear Seat Entertainment System (single screen ceiling mount) for $1,445.

With delivery the final price of this Traverse was $44,945.

A couple of options that a family may consider to go with is the Head Restraint (two screens) DVD Entertainment Package for $1,995 instead of the other and a Power Sun Roof for $1,400.

Our assessment is that, in any configuration, the 2014 Chevrolet Traverse LTZ is an exceptional buy for just about any family of almost any size.

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