You should buy it
More reliable. Consumer Reports gives the 2018 Highlander a perfect score (5/5) for reliability. The Traverse meanwhile, gets a measly 2/5. That’s a big difference and one you should strongly take into consideration, especially if you plan on owning your next crossover for a long time or if you’re planning on buying a used model.
More standard safety. All trim levels of the 2018 Highlander come standard with active safety features including pre-collision warning and braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist and adaptive cruise control. To get these features on the Traverse, you have to jump up to nearly the highest trim level (starting at $46,000).
Hybrid availability. Both the Highlander and Traverse offer a V6 engine as standard across most of their trim levels but only the Toyota offers an optional hybrid powertrain for those crossover fans looking to go a little green. It bumps the Highlander’s fuel economy up to 29/27/28 MPG city/highway/combined from the V6’s 20/27/23 MPG rating.
More space. The Traverse beats the Highlander in two key areas of space: total interior volume and third-row space. The insides of the Chevy have 157.3 cubic feet of space, a big advantage over the Toyota’s 144.9 cubic feet. Plus, there’s noticeably more legroom in the Chevy’s third row – a crucial element if you often pull carpool duty.
It’s newer. 2018 marks the first year this generation of Traverse was built while this generation of Highlander is nearly the end of its lifespan. This means the Traverse will offer more modern styling and amenities.
Better handling. Reviewers have praised the Traverse for its good handling while simultaneously criticizing the Highlander for its poor handling.
This one depends on what you’re looking for. If cargo space is your primary concern or you’ll regularly be hauling tall kids or adults in the third row of seats, the Traverse might be the better choice here. Plus it’s the newer of the two models here and it’s more fun to drive. But if you can live with a tight third row, we prefer the Toyota overall. It has the reliability, the safety and the powertrain options that matter. So we say Buy the Highlander.
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