Chevy News: The 2013 Chevrolet Traverse sports a New Design

The restyled 2013 Chevrolet Traverse will bow at the New York auto show in early April. The crossover is similar in size to the outgoing model and mechanically identical.

It gets Chevy’s new corporate face for crossovers and some safety upgrades for the model year. General Motors announced details about the vehicle today.

The first thing buyers will notice is the new front end. It has a variation of the power dome hood seen on the Malibu and the Camaro, with a three-bar upper and two-bar lower grille design. Gone is the split mesh. New headlights, chrome accents and fog lights complete the look, with sculpted front corners similar to those on the Malibu sedan.

There’s a bit less plastic cladding and the fog lights look sportier than those on the outgoing model.

At the rear, Chevy redesigned the taillights and the license-plate pocket for a cleaner look.   Inside, the 2013 Chevy Traverse has more soft-touch materials on the instrument panel and front-door uppers than the current model. The seats have contrast stitching, while blue light accents flow through the cabin.

A new center stack includes a 6.5-inch touch-screen display with Chevy’s MyLink system. MyLink lets drivers integrate their cell phones for hands-free dialing and audio capabilities. Larger controls were added, which Chevy says have a more upscale feel. The front seats now have articulating headrests and eight-way power.

Power flows to either the front wheel or to all wheels from a direct-injection 3.6-liter V6 making 281 hp. Ride and handling were improved with the use of rebound springs in the front struts for increased roll control. New shock valving helps deliver a better ride at slower speeds.

The 2013 Traverse gets all of the safety features of the current model plus the new front-center airbag to keep occupants safe during side impacts.

GM is in the process of freshening all of its crossovers built on its Lambda platform. The Traverse was launched in late 2008 for the 2009 model year.

On Tuesday, Buick will unveil a reskinned Enclave, ahead of the New York auto show. Last month, GMC showed a reskinned Acadia at the Chicago auto show.

Chris Perry, vice president of global marketing and strategy for Chevrolet, said he’s hopeful that the changes will help lift Traverse sales, which have been stagnant.

In 2011, sales were virtually flat at 107,131 units vs. 2010. They dropped 20 percent in the first two months of this year to 14,606.

“I’ll be honest, we’ve done OK with the current vehicle,” Perry said. “We can do better.”

Perry said the restyled front end of the Traverse “is more modern and brings it in line with the overall Chevrolet design.” He believes the interior improvements will be the strongest new selling point.

Pricing hasn’t yet been announced. The 2013 Chevy Traverse will go into production later this year.

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