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Baby Z71s & AT4s: Do GM’s New “Off-Road” CUVs Have the Goods to Beat Subaru, Honda & Ford?

"Ruggedize." It's a term we've heard a lot lately, especially when dealing with the CUV and crossover SUV segment.

GMC Acadia AT4 Front View

With more and more buyers looking to take their CUVs and SUVs off the pavement and onto the trail, we've seen an ever-expanding selection of these ruggedized models that come complete with all-terrain tires, suspension lifts, enhanced AWD systems and other upgrades.

CUVs on Nitto Nomad Grappler

Among this group are Subaru's Wilderness models, Toyota's TRD Off-Road and Woodland offerings, Ford's Timberline trim and Honda's Trailsport package.

Honda Pilot Trailsport

A New Player in the Game?

And now General Motors is getting in on the action with the latest iterations of its three-row Chevy Traverse and GMC Acadia CUVs.

Traverse Z71 Rear View

Though both of these models have been around for a while, neither has really gone after the off-road enthusiast the way its competitors have, nor the way Chevy and GMC's larger SUVs have. 

GMC Acadia AT4 Front View

But now both brands are looking to play in that market. And for 2024 they've brought over the popular Z71 and AT4 off-road branding from their larger trucks to help do that.

But there's a lot more to it than just bringing the name over. And it looks like the new Traverse Z71 and Acadia AT4 will have the goods to back those names up. 

Chevy Traverse Z71 Side View

More Than Just a Badge

Entirely redesigned for 2024, all versions of the Traverse and Acadia will be powered by a new 2.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that will make 315 horsepower and 317 pound feet of torque.

Chevy Traverse Z71 Interior

All models will also get an eight-speed automatic transmission, but the Z71 and AT4 will get their own unique twin-clutch AWD system. And that's not unlike what we've seen on other highly capable off-road CUVs like the Ford Bronco Sport Badlands and Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk.

Nitto Nomad Grappler on Ford Bronco Sport

Other upgrades to help the ruggedization effort include unique suspension with an extra inch of ground clearance, 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires and off-road terrain modes.

Chevy Traverse Z71 on trail


The Z71 and AT4 also get unique front fascias for improved approach angles, skid plates and of course those requisite red tow hooks.

Chevy Traverse Z71 Front View

The Traverse Z71 and Acadia AT4 will start hitting dealerships early in 2024 and it will be interesting to see how they are received. To this point, GM's non full-size SUVs haven't had much sizzle to them, but that might be about to change.

Chevy Traverse Z71 Front View

And if they can perform as promised, you might see the new Z71 and AT4 start to make gains into the soft-road/ overlanding/ weekend adventure scene. 

Until now, neither the Chevy Traverse or GMC Acadia have ever been high the enthusiast's radar, but we wholeheartedly support GM in making efforts to change that. Here's hoping their ruggedization project succeeds. 

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