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Review: 2019 Chevrolet Traverse

Over the years I’ve seen cars and SUVs that offered several trim styles, but the Chevy Traverse really stretches those capabilities.

Companies are sometimes accused of trying to be all things to all people, but with the Traverse it’s really more about plugging in the right pieces for your needs. And since that could run you from the high $20s to the low $50s, you obviously have a lot of choices.

But regardless of the route you take in building yours, you’ll come away with the space and comfort that many families are searching for without having to go the way of the Suburbasaurus.

The Basics

It’s fun to scan the family tree of your favorite car or truck, because it can soon begin to sound like the line of “begats” in the Old Testament.

In this case, the Traverse lineage goes back to the Chevy TrailBlazer, the last of which rolled off the factory line in late 2008.

But the Traverse, a mid-size crossover SUV that made its debut with the ’09 model, continues to share its basic platform with some other GM cousins like the GMC Acadia and the Buick Enclave.

In 2018 Chevy unveiled the second generation, and it apparently was greeted with enthusiasm: sales increased from 123,000 to 146,000 year to year.

For 2019 the Traverse didn’t tinker much, with the exception of some added tech choices.

It’s a three-row SUV that competes with the likes of Toyota’s Highlander and the Honda Pilot. But families who want more than just a cramped third row (the kind that barely holds little tykes) will appreciate the extra space Traverse added last year.

Now the second row truly has room to move, and that way-back row is slightly more forgiving as well. (Personally, I’d almost always keep that row folded to provide more storage in the back.)

Each of the trim levels offers a 3.6-L V6 engine that puts out a little more than 300 horsepower (another boost from the ’18 redesign) and shuttles you around with a 9-speed automatic transmission. With one trim choice (the RS) a 4-cylinder turbo is available.

You can opt for either front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

I drove the LT Leather version with AWD.

The Interior

I’m not generally a big fan of large SUVs, but the Traverse is a bit of a freak. It comes across like a larger vehicle without actually taking up the room in your garage. That’s a plus.

Getting in and out is simple, too. Your passengers will find it a breeze, and, with the glorious captain’s chairs in the second row they’ll be able to access the last row without having to become a contortionist.

I found the seats comfortable and all the controls well laid out.

Storage space up front is good, perhaps trailing one or two competitors when it comes to bin size. But there are plenty of slots to store your everyday items, including phones and water bottles.

Cargo space is also where the Traverse shines. It’s already sizable at around 23 cubic feet, but drop both the second and third row and you could move an elephant. The almost-100 cubic feet of space you’ll get dwarfs the competition.

The Drive

The increased horsepower in the V6 doesn’t mean you’ll be taking the Traverse out to the track anytime soon.

Overall the SUV scores about average with others in the class. The acceleration never left me wanting more necessarily, but I could also tell it was giving me all its got.

Steering, braking, and handling also received an average grade from me. This is not a performance vehicle, but is that what you’re looking for in a three-row SUV?

As for the actual ride, I found it smooth and quiet, an overall satisfying drive.

The Tech

This year’s Traverse mostly carries on with the upgrading done with 2008’s redesign. One of the few changes is the addition of an 8-inch touchscreen option, which I had in my LT.

That screen was intuitive, very easy to use.

The connectivity features in the vehicle are excellent. Yes, you’ll get Chevy’s infotainment system, but there’s also a 4G LTE Wifi hotspot. I love the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto additions, too, which you’ll get regardless of your trim level.

There are plenty of connection points for every passenger, with USB both front and rear along with 120-volt power outlets.

The Bose premium sound in my LT was quite pleasing.

You’ll get a nice array of safety tools and features, too. While the Traverse’s blind spots can induce some angst because of the sizable rear pillars, the vehicle’s blind spot technology helps.

I also appreciate the surround vision system, which is starting to spoil me (and probably many others). I’m guessing it won’t be long before that tech is placed in every vehicle.

The Bottom Line

As I said, I’m not usually gung ho for larger SUVs. But the Chevy Traverse manages to provide the space you’ll like in a somewhat smaller package. As a mid-size crossover SUV it’ll fit in your garage but still allow you to load up with kids and camping gear at any time.

With a nice exterior shape and a solid ride, it more than holds its own against Honda, Mazda, and Ford competitors.

And, with so many trim options available, you’ll be able to find a Traverse that fits your budget.

The Details

2019k Chevrolet Traverse AWD 3LT (Leather)
3.6-L V6, 310 horsepower
9-speed automatic transmission
All-wheel-drive (front-wheel-drive available)
Fuel economy: 17/25/20 combined
MSRP: $41,000
As tested: $45,090

Reviewed by Dom Testa
Vehicle provided by manufacturer


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