Among General Motors' offerings at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show is the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse, the fourth member of GM's Lambda family which is slated for production this Fall. Despite being a midsize crossover, Chevrolet is touting the Traverse as having class-leading cargo space and ample third row seating.

The Traverse will be powered by a direct-injected, 286 horsepower 3.6-liter DOHC V-6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and will be offered with both front- and all-wheel drive. Towing capacity is said to be 4,500 lbs - respectable for an SUV of its size. In the styling department, GM has taken key elements from its redesigned Malibu right down to the "bold" front end appearance which reflects Chevrolet's current design philosophy. Short overhangs and taut body lines make the Traverse appear smaller than it actually is, while its uni-body construction allows for larger, single-piece body panels and more precise panel fit with tighter tolerances.

Inside, the Chevrolet Traverse features what GM calls a "dual-cockpit" instrument panel design, with each side flowing into the door panels to create a wraparound feel. Large gauge binnacles are given bright trim rings, and the optional navigation unit is placed at the top of the center stack. Up to eight adults can be seated in the Traverse, with its two front bucket seats, 60/40-split second-row bench with room for three (optionally replaced with two bucket seats), and 60/40-split third-row bench.


GM has made an attempt to bring typically high-end features down to an affordable price point with the Traverse, incorporating such items as a panoramic sunroof, 20-inch wheels, and chrome exhaust tips. A rear roof spoiler and roof rails are also available, along with side mirrors with integrated turn signals - an upscale touch first seen on Mercedes-Benz models years ago. Rear parking assist, a rear-view camera, remote vehicle start, power liftgate, DVD navigation and entertainment systems, heated and cooled front seats, heated windshield fluid, 20-inch aluminum wheels, a panoramic power sunroof, and dual chrome exhaust tips will all find spots on the equipment list as either standard or optional.

Pricing for the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse has not yet been released, but we expect to know how much GM's newest sport 'ute will cost before it hits showrooms later this year.