Caraganza First Drive Review 2023 Chevy Traverse RS: Who’s your daddy?

2021 Chevrolet Traverse RS

I fully admit I have a “dad bod.” Not that I have ever been “ripped” or even “sculpted”.  Sure, I was in shape when I was in the military because, well, I had to be, but the sad truth is I have never really looked the part. Heck, I had a dad bod even before I was an actual dad, so I guess it’s in my genes, which I owe to my, you guessed it, dad.

Nowadays having a dad bod is somewhat in vogue, so I guess I just needed the trend to catch up to me.

The reason I thought about all this is because Chevy delivered me a 2023 Traverse for a recent week. It’s a good midsized SUV, but I came to realize that it’s also the epitome of a “dad car.”

You see, when I had my first child back in the day, I had to surrender my man card; trading in a Chevrolet Camaro for a minivan. My wife convinced me that it would be more practical, could meet our needs with a growing family.

God, how I hated that thing.

Yet, I drove around in that hideous beast hiding my face in shame for several years before the monster died.

Man, how I wish I had opted to have something like a Traverse back then. The problem is that the first generation didn’t even come out until 2009, long after that horrible minivan had been crushed into scrap metal.

2021 Chevrolet Traverse

Remembering back to the minivan purchase, my wife (who was in her early 20s and to be fair never hotter), convinced me that we needed what the minivan had: lots of room, a higher view of the road, and enough storage space to carry whatever.

All the things a Traverse can do, only it looks way cooler.

The 2023 Traverse can be had in six trim levels: LS, LT Cloth, LT Leather, RS, Premier and High Country. A 3.6-liter V6 with 310 horsepower and 266 lb.-ft of torque using a nine-speed automatic is standard as is front-wheel drive though you can option in all-wheel drive is optional across the lineup.

I had the RS for the week which pretty much solidified for me that this is the ultimate dad car. The RS gets all the stuff found on the LT Leather trim like heated front seats and steering wheel, remote start, an 8-inch high-definition touchscreen with a navigation system, a 4.2-inch multi-color driver instrument display, a power liftgate. It also gets the LT Premium package with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 10-speaker premium audio system, 120-volt power outlet for the second row, a cool digital rearview mirror, a 360-degree camera system, adaptive cruise control, enhanced automatic emergency braking, heated, power-folding exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals.

To all that the RS version adds, 20-inch dark-finish aluminum wheels (up from 18-inch on the base models), and blacked-out styling cues and accents.

Look I get it, something with “Rally Sport” in the name should be a bit more powerful than the rest of the lineup, but in the case of the Traverse RS, it’s not. The 310 horses though are good enough to make the RS zippy enough on the road. And the point is, it looks like really cool. And it has lots of room, a higher view of the road, and enough storage space to carry whatever. In other words, it does all things that the minivan can, without forcing you to hide your face in shame.

Thus, that’s why I decided to call it what it is, the ultimate dad car.

The 2023 Chevrolet Traverse RS

MSRP: $44,745
MSRP (as tested): $46,140
Engine: 3.6-liter V6, 310 horsepower @ 6800 rpm, 266 lb.-ft torque @ 2800 rpm
Transmission: 9-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Mileage (EPA) 18 city, 27 highway, 21 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested mixed conditions (24 mpg)

Exterior Dimensions (inches)
Wheelbase: 120.93
Length, overall: 205.9
Width, Max w/o mirrors: 78.6
Height, overall: 70.7

Interior Dimensions
Passenger Capacity: 7
Front Head Room (in.): 42.8
Front Leg Room (in.): 41.01
Front Shoulder Room (in.): 61.91
Front Hip Room (in.): 58.1
Second Head Room (in.): 40.02
Second Leg Room (in.): 38.41
Second Shoulder Room (in.): 62.16
Second Hip Room (in.): 56.91
Third Leg Room (in.): 33.48
Cargo Volume to Seat 1 (cu. ft.): 98.2
Cargo Volume to Seat 2 (cu. ft.): 57.8
Cargo Volume to Seat 3 (cu. ft.): 23.0
Max Towing Capacity 5,000 lbs.

Basic: 3 yr./ 36,000 mi.
Drivetrain: 5 yr./ 60,000 mi.
Rust: 6 yr./ 100,000 mi.
Roadside: 5 yr./ 60,000 mi.

Greg Engle