Designed to provide additional restraint to drivers and front passengers in far-side impact crashes where the affected occupant is on the opposite, non-struck side of the vehicle, the front centre airbag deploys in milliseconds from the inboard side of the driver’s seat providing added protection for both front occupants.
General Motors first announced it would introduce the industry-first airbag into the 2013 Traverse crossover-utility vehicle in 2011, after analysing data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System database of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that showed that far-side impact crashes accounted for 11 per cent of belted front-occupant fatalities in non-rollover impacts between 2004 and 2009 (involving 1999 model year or newer vehicles). Far-side impact fatalities also represented 29 per cent of all belted front occupant fatalities in side impact crashes.
“The front centre airbag is not required by federal regulation, and no other airbag in passenger vehicles today offers the type of restraint and cushioning this airbag is designed to provide for front occupants,” GM’s advanced restraint systems senior staff engineer Scott Thomas said in 2011.
Joining the new centre airbag technology in the compact SUV is a forward collision alert system and lane departure warning.
The 2013 Chevrolet Traverse is offered in three trims, LS, LT and LTZ; front- and all-wheel-drive; and in seven- and eight-seat configurations. All models are powered by a 215kW/366Nm 3.6-litre V6 engine tied to a six-speed automatic transmission.