Car Buyer Q&A: 2009 Chevy Traverse

Vincestraverse

A month ago, 33-year-old Vince Ferrari posted on his personal blog about a bad experience he had trying to buy a new Chevy Malibu. The tale caught fire among consumer blogs, reinforcing many people’s negative feelings toward car dealers. We contacted Vince via Twitter to see if he’d be interested in telling us how his car shopping went after that experience. The Bronx IT professional ended up purchasing a new 2009 Chevy Traverse — that's it pictured above — but from a different dealer.

KickingTires: Why did you decide to buy a new car in this economy?

Vince: Recently, my company merged with another company, and my daily commute doubled.  I wanted something I could depend on a little more than my eight-year-old 2001 Malibu LS (which was, for the most part, a very reliable car for me). The economy didn't really come into it, honestly. My company is stable and I knew I wasn't leaving my job. I've been at the same place for almost 13 years now, so it wasn't a real concern for me. Plus, the deals in general on new cars are pretty good right now. It isn't a fire sale like people exaggerate it to be, but it does seem like a good time to buy.

KickingTires: You blogged about your bad experience at a Chevy dealer and it got a lot of attention. If you didn’t have a friend at another Chevy dealer, would that experience have sent you to a different brand even though you liked the new Malibu?

Vince: It actually did send me elsewhere. I was ready to go to Honda and get the Accord EX-L or Nissan and get the Altima 2.5 SEL. I figured if I was gonna drop $30,000 on a car, I could pretty much go anywhere and get anything. I did love the Malibu I test-drove, but I wasn't about to go get beat down at another Chevrolet dealer; that is until I found out my brother-in-law's cousin worked at one and he promised to take care of us. Those guys were top-notch from minute one in the showroom and really turned me around after a horrendous experience.

KickingTires: Why did you decide to go with a bigger, more gas-thirsty vehicle like the Traverse in the end?

Vince: As soon as we got to the showroom my sister sat in the Traverse and called me over. "Sit in this," she told me. I'm like, "No way, what am I gonna do with something that big?" Then I sat in it and called my wife over. "I want this." That was all I could say. We left the showroom for the lot, and the Malibu selection wasn't great (they have very high turnover on that car; it sells like hotcakes apparently), so I asked if I could test-drive the Traverse. As soon as I got it on the street, I had to have it. I utterly fell in love with it and knew that my 60-mile-a-day commute would be very pleasant in it. In the end I got a 1LT with the backup camera option and a remote starter, and the walk-out-the-door price was pretty good. I was very satisfied with the deal they made me.

KickingTires: What about that second purchasing process did you enjoy? What did you not like?

Vince: Honestly, there are only two quibbles, and neither are unique to Chevrolet:  
1: Banks are closed on weekends. I don't understand how, in the year 2009, credit applications can't be processed on weekends, but that's just the way it is. It was the same at both dealerships.  
2: Since my truck was a special order and was driven down to NYC from Saratoga Springs (to the tune of 480 miles), I had to get the truck visually inspected by a third party, something I think the dealer should be allowed to do before the car leaves the lot. It wasn't the end of the world, just something I saw as a pointless hassle. Other than that, I got the promotional financing I was looking for so the world is a happy place.

KickingTires: How are you enjoying the car now?

Vince: I love it. It is a bit of a gas-guzzler, but I knew that going in. Honestly, what it lacks in fuel efficiency it makes up for in comfort. It's so smooth and quiet, and the ride is just outstanding. I sprung for the 18-inch wheels, and it just makes the ride so nice. It has a nice solid feel, and it doesn't really handle like a 5,000-pound truck. In fact, you should see the parking space I have to maneuver it into every night; if I didn't do it, I'd never believe it could even be done.

If you’ve recently bought a new car and are interested in sharing your experience, please contact us at tips@cars.com with “Q&A” in the subject line.

2009|Chevrolet|Traverse

Comments 

Glenn

This is a good article and fine example of why I prefer Cars.com over Edmunds. Regarding the article...the guy just does not sound very intelligent. His commute increased so he ends up buying a vehicle with lower mpg (?) and he didn't even test drive other vehicles in the Traverse class!? As my friends would say, He's definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed. At least he likes his new vehicle, then again coming out of a '01 Malibu (King of Car Rentals) how could one not be. Good article...now if GM could only find several more million people who shop the way this guy does they'd be fat and happy like the old days.

Glenn,
I think it's actually pretty common. People go in and find something they really like and go for it. He did compare the sedans though like he said. So he had competitor seat time and new what the brands offered, but yes, not in the same class of vehicle. I've been talking with Vince for the past few weeks about this, and I think he's a pretty intelligent guy ;)

And thanks very much for the kudos!

Volpe5

I find it hard to believe that Vince knew what the other brands offered when he didn't even know Chevy had the Traverse. He may have been aware of the sedan offerings but I doubt he had knowledge of their other vehicles. His purchase sounded like an impulse buy.

I don't think most people know of the Traverse, it is an all new model for the brand. Again, the general consumer may not be as informed as the folks coming onto blogs like this one.

The Traverse is also selling better than any of the crossovers before it. So there are people out there that like it.

segfault

People don't know about it because it's the fourth rebadge of the Lambda platform vehicles...

I agree that the buyer seems uninformed. Upgraded 18" wheels make it ride better? Handle better, maybe; ride better, no.

Sorry I'm not geeky enough for you guys. Jesus.

I wasn't looking at a crossover so the Traverse wasn't on my radar.

As for the 18" wheels, I'm sorry I used the wrong term.

I promise you, I'm no dope; I knew what I was looking for and had time in at least 6 different cars, but the Traverse caught me when I test drove it. I don't really know how that makes me "unintelligent," but so be it.

As for having a longer commute so why buy a gas sucker over a sipper, I said I did so because it was more comfortable than the cars I test drove. I'd rather spend 60 miles a day in this than in a smaller sedan. Yes it's not the most fuel efficient vehicle of all time, but it is more comfortable than anything I test drove by a long shot.

Honestly, guys, you don't have to be so hostile. Not everyone is a car geek.

I think all the anger and hostility people are feeling towards GM getting bailout money is affecting some people's emotions a bit too much. If the man wants to upgrade to 18s, and he enjoys the vehicle, who are some of you to tell him off? Can we nag you about your latest car purchase?

Nick

I agree Dave T. and Billy4202. Give the poor guy a break. I sold cars for a living between college and grad school, and I came to realize that while plenty of people do research their cars and buy exactly the model they want, there are also a lot of intelligent people who have an idea of what they want, but don't realize how much something else will appeal to them when they get to see it in the sheet metal and drive it around. In fact, market research has shown that the overwhelming majority of customers switch vehicles at least once between when they first start shopping and when they actually buy. On top of that, both the new Malibu and Traverse are great vehicles. So it's not like Vince made an impulse buy that was inadvisable.

DaddyD

I loved this fresh, honest account of one buyer's experience.
And I agree with Nick. A big part of buying the car you really want and will be happy with has nothing at all to do with such logical choices, as gas mileage, etc. It's about finding the best combination of style, safety, utility, economy PLUS that "extra something" that grabs you, as it did with Vinny.
I'd like to clarify one thing he said, though. He gave the impression the 18" wheels (and yes, V., you used the right term) were an extra-cost option. They are standard on the Traverse 1LT model, which is an upgrade from the base LS model with 17-inchers.

Yeah, I meant it was one of the reasons I went with the 1LT instead of the LS ;-)

You hit the nail on the head, too. I fell for an intangible; it's not that impossible to believe. Not everyone has something in mind then buys exactly what they went for. That's why showrooms have more than one vehicle in them! If everyone knew what they wanted, they'd just have pictures of everything and people could order them from a catalog.

Narg

Vinny, I've had very similar experiences. I had a dealer ask me to leave his store, only after I asked to buy a truck with my bank financing and not his! The next dealer was the best experience I ever had, and I've bought 4 Chevy's from them. Though they still have to be a bit troublesome, I'll still go back to them again.

I was in the market too. I've driven pickups my whole life. I wanted to move into a Tahoe, but the price was out of my reach. I'd seen other GM Lambda's and liked the look, but being a truck driver for so long, I still wanted the chassy-on-frame feel of the Tahoe. Once I drove the Traverse my viewpoint changed, I was sold! This vehicle is amazing. And for me it is an increase in MPG so I'm very happy. Only issue I have is I can feel the seat railing under the cushion after a long ride (yep, I a bit heavy) but my favorite dealership is offering to help me get that fixed.

There are definitely bad dealerships out there. If GM want's to sell more, they need to work there first. The vehicles are fantastic, and usually sell themselves, the Malibu got it's car of the year for a good reason. But if the dealership sucks, well then, no wonder sales are hurting.

Hey buddy…you have presented a complete review about this vehicle along with a cool picture collection…excellent work…

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