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- Highs Roomy interior, a performance leader among its peers, V-6 is efficient, too.
- Lows Desirable options add up quickly, poor rearward visibility, the interior has some chintzy bits.
- Verdict A spacious hauler that can be adapted to the needs of most any family.
In a people-hauling class, the Traverse stands out by virtue of its roomy interior. It's nearly as comfortable, in fact, as the minivans we recommend but that no one buys. The Traverse has one of the roomiest third-row seats of any of its competitors, and the second row is more spacious than some of the first rows of those competitors. In our testing, the Traverse's V-6 engine proved powerful and fuel efficient. Its ride is comfortable over rough pavement, while the options list includes the upscale features such as an excellent infotainment system with a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.
What's New for 2020?
Exterior paint colors Black Currant, Havana Brown, and Pepperdust drop from the choices and Black Cherry joins the list. The turbocharged four-cylinder drops from the bottom of the options list, leaving the 310-hp 3.6-liter V-6 as the only engine choice. The Traverse also gets Chevy's latest infotainment system, with HD backup and 360-degree cameras and a camera view to aid in trailer hook-up.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
As with many of its competitors, the Traverse can be optioned as anything from a budget shuttle to a luxury coach. With so much space for stretching out, every Traverse feels a little luxurious, but we like to go whole hog. By the time you go for leather and all-wheel drive (a $2000 option), you might as well step up to big leagues. Settling for the Premier saves you $5100 versus the High Country but still nets (heated) middle-row captain's chairs, a Bose 10-speaker audio system, wireless phone charging in the center console, all of the driver-assistance technology that you could want, and a bunch of shiny exterior bits. We would promptly paint over those shiny bits with the Redline package, because we dig the black wheels with the red stripes on them, but you could save yourself an easy $1845 by passing on that one. We chose all-wheel drive for all-weather capability, so we'll spec the heavy rubber floor mats of the Interior Protection package for $270. That edges us to $51,710, but gets us a capable and mean-looking family bus.
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
A potent V-6 engine gives the Traverse its legs, and a slick-shifting nine-speed automatic transmission changes gears unobtrusively. The 3.6-liter V-6 pulls strongly and the Traverse is on the quicker end of its class. The cabin is so quiet that you need to steal a glance at the tachometer to ensure the engine is running while at a stoplight. Speaking of which, the Traverse features what is perhaps the most seamless automatic stop/start feature we've tested.
When parking or maneuvering at low speed, the Traverse feels every bit its size. Pick up the pace, however, and the big Chevy feels smaller than it is—poised, if not overtly athletic. Steering effort is low, but the system is precise and makes aiming the big SUV easy. The Traverse's suspension is tuned for a good balance between handling and ride comfort.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Judge the Traverse by its class-average EPA-estimated fuel-economy numbers, and you'd be doing so with only half the information. In our real-world testing, the all-wheel-drive Traverse High Country with the V-6 delivered 27 mpg, the best highway fuel consumption among its key competitors.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Traverse provides spacious accommodations for seven or eight passengers, including a third row sized for adults. Chevrolet's six-tier model lineup allows the Traverse to reach a broad swath of the market and appeal to a wide range of buyers. The materials in the top-level High Country are handsome but fall slightly short of expectations given that version's lofty price.
Drop all of the Traverse's folding seats and it becomes a cargo-hauling champ with more space than any of its rivals. Six carry-on suitcases fit behind the third row, which means it wins at carrying both people and their luggage. It offers the most first-row cubby storage in its class as well.
Infotainment and Connectivity
A bounty of USB ports is thoughtfully placed throughout the Traverse's cabin, and its infotainment system is simple to use, with colorful graphics, a high-mounted touchscreen, and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. An infotainment system that responds quickly to user inputs seals the deal for the tech-savvy Traverse.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
The current generation of the Traverse received a five-star rating from the National Highway Transportation Administration but hasn't yet been tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Unfortunately, most driver-assistance features are only available on the two highest-priced trims (some rivals offer these features as standard). Key safety features include:
- Available blind-spot monitoring
- Available forward-collision warning
- Available lane-keep assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The only thing that distinguishes the Traverse from its peers is the one free maintenance visit. Otherwise, the warranty coverage offered by Chevrolet is average for the segment.
- Limited warranty covers 3 years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for the first visit