2020 Chevrolet Traverse Review
  • Car Review

2020 Chevrolet Traverse Review

By Chris Teague | August 31, 2020

Quick Facts:

Pros:

  • Ample room for passengers in all three rows.
  • Generous cargo space.
  • Impressive available technology features.

Cons:

  • Some features, such as advanced driver assists, are held back for higher trim levels.
  • Interior feels cheap in certain places.
  • Uninspiring driving experience.

Vehicle Type: The Chevrolet Traverse is a midsize three-row SUV.

Price Range: From $30,295 to $52,095, including destination charge, but before options and taxes.

Powertrain: The Chevy Traverse comes with a single powertrain for 2020. The 3.6-liter V6 produces 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque.

Power is sent to the front wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission.

All-wheel drive is optional.

More Photos

See more 2020 Chevrolet Traverse photos here.


Overview:

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Chevrolet thoroughly updated the Traverse for the 2018 model year, so changes for 2020 are modest by comparison. Options package features have been shuffled slightly for the new model year. Chevy has also updated the Traverse with its new Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system, which has a more intuitive, more colorful, and more responsive interface.

The Traverse is aimed at new car buyers that want a spacious crossover with robust technology features and a relatively reasonable price. It competes in an insanely crowded segment that includes the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Kia Telluride, Subaru Ascent, Toyota Highlander, Volkswagen Atlas, Hyundai Palisade, Dodge Durango, Nissan Pathfinder, and Mazda CX-9.

The 2020 Traverse is offered in six trims: L, LS, LT Cloth, LT Leather, RS, Premier, and High Country. A single engine choice is offered on the 2020 Traverse, a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel-drive are standard. All-wheel-drive is available.

The Traverse's pricing and positioning put it in an odd spot in the market. While more basic trim levels match up with mainstream three-row SUV rivals, higher-end versions of the Traverse as expensive as some premium offerings from Acura, Buick, and Infiniti, but lack the truly upscale feeling that the premium brands bring to the table. In any trim, the Traverse's interior is a mix of low-rent materials that clash with both the vehicle's optional finishes and its upmarket price tag.

Overall Score: 7/10


Safety Features: 7/10

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The 2020 Traverse missed out on a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but its ratings aren't bad at all. It earned a Good score in all crashworthiness categories, a Superior rating for vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention, and an Advanced rating for vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention with the optional safety equipment on board.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rated the Traverse five stars overall, including four stars in front crash tests, five stars for side crash tests, and four stars for rollover prevention.

Standard safety equipment includes an airbag system, LED daytime running lights, OnStar telematics and crash notification alert, a passenger sensing system, rear-seat occupant reminder, and a programmable teen driver mode to allow parents to limit top speed and maximum audio volume, among other functions.

Available driver assistance features include automatic emergency braking, following distance indicator system, forward collision alerts, front pedestrian braking, an HD surround-view camera system, a highway safety kit, lane keep assist with lane departure warnings, and a rearview camera mirror. Some of these features are standard on competing vehicles, however.


Value: 6/10

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In its top trims, the Traverse can reach $50,000, which is well into premium SUV territory. For that money, buyers can cross-shop the Acura MDX, Buick Enclave, and Infiniti QX60, as well as top-level versions of the Hyundai Palisade or Kia Telluride, for example.

Chevy holds back most advanced driver assists for the top trims, and adding them to other trim levels is an expensive endeavor through available options packages.

The Traverse does have a longer period of complimentary roadside assistance than many of its competitors, but that's not enough to overcome the fact that the Chevy's interior quality and finishing isn't up to par, especially when compared with its newest rivals from Kia and Hyundai.

The base L trim is relatively affordable, but it misses out on many of the features that even entry-level buyers would expect as it's primarily targeted to fleet buyers. At least it comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities. While costing nearly $4,000 more than the base L trim, the LS trim comes with almost the same standard features but can option in several packages, from safety to comfort and convenience features. But it's not enough to justify its higher price tag.


Tech Features: 8/10

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Standard features include a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth, voice recognition, app functionality, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 3.5-inch driver information screen, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, a digital compass, active noise cancellation, OnStar, and an interior air humidity sensor.

Available tech features include 120-volt power outlets, a 4.2-inch color driver information screen, a Bose premium audio system, an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, and a rear-seat entertainment system without a built-in DVD player.

Chevy's infotainment software was already responsive and colorful, and the update to Chevrolet Infotainment 3 has made the system in the Traverse even better. Menus are clearly labeled, screens and menus are bright and intuitive, and the system is responsive overall. Lower trims without navigation offer users the ability to get maps through their smartphone of choice, bringing considerable value to even the lowest Traverse trim level.


Practicality: 9/10

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The Traverse has enough space for up to eight people and all of their gear. Behind the third-row seats, there's 23 cubic feet of space. With the third-row seats folded down, that number grows to 57.8 cubic feet, and with the second-row folded down, there's a massive 98.2 cubic feet of space.

There's generous small-item storage in the Traverse's interior and enough cupholders for everyone to have two beverages onboard. LATCH points for child seats are easily accessible, especially when the available second-row captain's chairs are equipped.

Without the available trailering package, the Traverse is only rated at 1,500 pounds. With it equipped, the towing figures jump to a more respectable 5,000 pounds, which is about what most of its rivals can haul.

The Traverse's interior space is better than both the Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot. Large door openings in the back make for easy loading and unloading of child seats. The vehicle's modest ride height makes it easy for little ones to climb in and out for parents to lift children into car seats.


Styling & Design: 7/10

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Chevrolet has aligned the styling of its crossovers and SUVs in recent years. They have all grown with sharp style, long lines, and clean exterior designs. The Traverse benefits from this aesthetic, as it's a relatively long vehicle overall. The clean, long lines help the Traverse look more proportionate and allows it to mask its generous size.

The Traverse's seats and accommodations are spacious and comfortable. Head and legroom are abundant in all three rows, and more than enough room for "stuff."

On all trim levels, the Traverse sports more than its share of cheap-feeling interior plastics and materials. Build quality is good, but the mix of materials makes the interior feel cheap. That's a bad look for a vehicle that can cost upward of $50,000 in some trims.

All of the Traverse's seats and pillars make it difficult to maintain a good sightline in many directions. Blind-spot monitoring and parking sensors in some trims help mitigate this problem, but having an actual visual of the vehicle's surroundings would be much better.

The Traverse is a family vehicle whose purpose in life is to move large numbers of people and big piles of gear from place to place. It succeeds in that goal with its spacious and comfortable interior, but buyers hoping for an upscale experience in the higher trims will be disappointed in the Traverse's finishes.


Driving Experience: 7/10

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The Traverse has plenty of power from its standard V6 engine. It's responsive and provides ample acceleration. Getting the crossover moving is an effortless task for the V6, and reaching highway speeds is no problem at all.

The nine-speed automatic gearbox is tuned to eke out as much fuel economy from the powertrain as possible. As a result, it frequently upshifts sooner than desired to keep revs low. Otherwise, it shifts quickly and cleanly.

Braking pedal feel is a bit soft, but the actual braking performance is strong and confidence-inspiring. The steering also lacks feel, which is a byproduct of needing heavily assisted steering for people to maneuver the vehicle at low speeds. At highway speeds, steering weights up nicely.

The Traverse is a comfy vehicle, and its suspension tuning is set to prioritize a soft ride over sharp handling as a result. There's a decent amount of body roll, especially at speed, but nothing that would lead the driver to feel out of control or that the vehicle is unsafe.


Fuel Efficiency: 7/10

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Address how this vehicle stacks up when it comes to fuel economy versus others in the segment.

With front-wheel drive, the 2020 Traverse is rated at 18 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined. With all-wheel drive, the Traverse is rated at 17/25/20 mpg city, highway, and combined.

The Traverse's fuel economy numbers are competitive in its class, but it has frequently been found to fall short of its EPA estimates in independent reviews. Even so, it delivers decent gas mileage for such a large family crossover.


What’s it Going to Cost Me?

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The Chevrolet Traverse L has a starting price of $30,995 and comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission, front-wheel drive, automatic engine start/stop system, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, eight-passenger seating, a digital compass, active noise cancellation, a cargo storage tray, a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, voice commands, app functionality, cruise control, an interior humidity sensor, cloth upholstery, and power windows and door locks.

All-wheel drive is not available.

The Traverse LS has a starting price of $34,095 and adds deep-tinted glass. This trim is more of a gateway to adding options packages, as it's available with several optional features that the L trim does not get.

All-wheel drive is a $2,000 option.

The Traverse LT with Cloth has a starting price of $36,595. It adds to the LS fog lights, heated outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, roof rails, seven-passenger seating, an eight-way power driver's seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel power lumbar support, one-touch up/down power windows, and SiriusXM satellite radio.

AWD is a $3,800 option.

The Traverse RS has a starting MSRP of $44,795. It comes standard with 20-inch wheels, an 8-inch touchscreen with built-in navigation, a universal home remote, heated front seats, remote start, and a power liftgate. The RS also adds lane change alerts with blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alerts, rear parking assist, automatic emergency braking, forward collision alerts, lane keep assist with lane departure warnings, following distance indicators, front pedestrian braking, automatic headlights, and an automatic heated steering wheel.

AWD is a $2,100 option.

The Traverse LT with Leather starts at $40,295 and comes with leather upholstery and the safety and driver assistance options that come with the Traverse RS.

All-wheel drive is a $2,000 option.

The Traverse Premier has a starting price of $46,995 and comes with chrome exterior trim, a hands-free gesture liftgate, LED headlights, a 120-volt power outlet, a Bose audio system, and heated rear seats.

All-wheel drive is a $2,600 option.

The Chevrolet Traverse High Country has a starting price of $52,095. It comes with a heavy-duty cooling system, trailer hitch guidance with hitch view, trailering equipment, adaptive cruise control, enhanced automatic emergency braking, and a power-folding rear bench seat.

AWD is a $2,300 option.

If it were our money buying a new Traverse, we'd head for the LT with leather. It's in the middle of the price spectrum, picks up all of the best advanced driver assistance features, and has luxurious and soft leather upholstery. The High Country trim, while plush, is too expensive for what the Traverse is, and the base L is too stripped down to be compelling for most buyers.


More Photos

See more 2020 Chevrolet Traverse photos here.