It’s sold as a midsize, but the 2016 Chevrolet Traverse crossover SUV is longer overall and has more passenger and cargo space than a full-size Tahoe. As with its GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave stablemates, the Traverse uses a lightweight car-based design with unit-body construction, a fully independent suspension and a transverse-mounted engine. This results in carlike ride and handling. With almost 1,000 fewer pounds to carry around and an all-aluminum, direct-injected V6 dual-overhead-camshaft (DOHC) engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission instead of a big V8, it has better fuel economy than the truck-based Tahoe.
The Traverse has been upgraded in recent years with a higher-quality interior featuring soft-touch materials, articulated front-seat headrests, Chevrolet MyLink infotainment with a 6.5-inch touchscreen and a GM-exclusive front-center side airbag between the front bucket seats. Forward-collision warning and lane-departure warning are standard on LTZ models and optional on the LT. New on all Traverse models for 2016 is standard OnStar 4G LTE connectivity with an in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot.
The Traverse is available in front- and all-wheel-drive configurations. It offers 24.4 cu ft. of cargo space behind the third-row seat and 116.3 cu ft. with both the second and third rows folded flat. A unique slide-and-fold second-row seat that stacks flat against the back of the front seats provides easy access to the roomy third-row bench. All second-row seat positions feature LATCH child seat anchors. Other available equipment includes rear-seat DVD entertainment, a power lift gate, heated and cooled front seats, a backup camera and a panoramic sunroof.
The Traverse is a good used vehicle choice for growing families with its 7- or 8-passenger seating, minivanlike passenger and cargo space and 5,200-lb towing capability.
What We Like
OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot; roomy third-row seat; high safety ratings; solid structure; Siri Eyes Free
What We Don’t
Smallish 6.5-in navigation screen; shortened powertrain warranty; low second-row seating position; lackluster fuel economy
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The 2016 Traverse is powered by an advanced-design 3.6-liter DOHC V6 with variable valve timing, four valves per cylinder and direct fuel injection. In LS and LT models, it has a single exhaust and is rated at 281 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. LTZ models sport an optional dual exhaust, bumping output to 288 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission with sequential sport shifting is standard, and both FWD and AWD are available. Both versions of the V6 burn regular unleaded fuel and are rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at 15 miles per gallon in the city and 22 mpg on the highway with either FWD or AWD.
Standard Features & Options
The 2016 Traverse comes in LS, LT and LTZ trims.
Typical LS equipment includes a backup camera, OnStar 4G LTE and Wi-fi hotspot, front and rear air conditioning, 8-passenger seating with cloth seats, split fold-down second- and third-row seats, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, remote keyless entry, SiriusXM radio with real-time traffic notification, an outside-temperature display, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with 6.5-in touchscreen, auto headlamps, cruise control, rear-passenger USB charge outlets, 17-in steel wheels, a rear wiper/washer, stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes and power door locks, mirrors and windows.
The LT trim adds 18-in alloy wheels, speed-sensing steering, mirrors with integrated turn signals, fog lamps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with remote audio controls, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a power driver’s seat and rear-parking assist. The options list opens up to include navigation, automatic air conditioning, a power sunroof, a power lift gate, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a garage-door opener, a premium audio system with 10 speakers, rear audio controls, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with headphones, remote vehicle starting, second-row bucket seats, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power front passenger seat, a blind spot monitoring system and rear cross-traffic alert.
The range-topping LTZ goes all in, making much of the equipment that is optional on the LT standard, such as a power lift gate, navigation, tri-zone automatic air conditioning, a heated steering wheel, a Bose 10-speaker premium audio system, remote vehicle starting, second-row bucket seats, a blind spot monitoring system and rear cross-traffic alert. The LTZ also adds a standard memory driver’s seat, a leather shift knob, ventilated front seats, 20-in alloy wheels, a forward-collision alert system, lane-departure warning and outside heated and power-folding mirrors with driver’s-side auto dimming. The 288-hp dual-exhaust engine is standard on the LTZ as well.
The Traverse offers almost as much passenger and cargo space as a minivan but without the sliding side doors and soccer-mom stigma. Clean, used family vehicles such as the Traverse are in steady demand, especially low-mileage examples with AWD. Prices will be more reasonable for FWD models. Because the Traverse has standard traction control and the majority of its weight is over the front driving wheels, it offers all the poor-weather traction most buyers will really need.
For a good idea of the prices of used 2016 Traverse crossovers, check out the used-car values at KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see which models are for sale in your area.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2016 Traverse:
The front wiper motor may overheat during use, increasing the risk of a fire.
The frame of the lower part of the left third-row seat may have faulty welds and the seat may not perform as designed in a crash, increasing the risk of injury.
Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
NHTSA gave the 2016 Chevy Traverse a 5-star overall rating, with five stars for frontal impacts, five stars for side impacts and four stars for rollover performance.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2016 Traverse a Good rating for moderate-overlap front impacts, side impacts, roof structure and head-restraint and seat-crash performance.
Chevrolet covered the 2016 Traverse with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty with roadside assistance and a 6-year/100,000-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.
Chevrolet certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles cannot have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be 6 years old or less. Every CPO Traverse undergoes a 172-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, plus whatever remains of the transferable original 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain coverage.
Other Cars to Consider
2016 Ford Explorer — This car-based 3-row crossover gets updated for 2016 with more trucklike styling and comes with a new 280-hp 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder turbo, a 290-hp 3.5-liter V6 or a 365-hp 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6. New for 2016 is an optional hands-free lift gate, improved infotainment with real buttons and a luxury Platinum model.
2016 Toyota Highlander — Toyota’s largest crossover offers room for up to eight passengers. For 2016, it continues with a choice of FWD or AWD with a fuel-saving 185-hp 2.7-liter 4-cylinder or a peppy 3.5-liter V6 that packs 270 hp. The Highlander’s interior design features an innovative storage shelf under the dash and a Driver Easy Speak system that can broadcast parental messages to unruly children in the aft rows. A gas-electric hybrid version offers 231 hp and a 27 mpg city/28 mpg hwy EPA rating with AWD.
The 2016 Chevrolet Traverse offers a smoother-riding, more fuel-efficient alternative to truck-based SUVs such as the Tahoe while providing interior space rivaling that of a minivan. While its 5,200-lb tow rating isn’t up to full-size truck standards, it’s plenty for most small boats and travel trailers. Newly standard OnStar 4G LTE with an in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot make the 2016 Traverse a great choice for families with lots of mobile devices on the move. Make sure all applicable safety recalls have been performed on the Traverse you’re looking to buy, and go for a lower-mileage or Chevrolet CPO example whenever possible.