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2020 Chevrolet Traverse Review

The 2020 Chevrolet Traverse takes on its 3-row competitors by offering bold styling, a long list of available features and a roomy third-row seat with ample cargo space behind it. The Traverse is a proven entity, with a good track record for reliability — although it still lags behind the Toyota Highlander and the Honda Pilot when it comes to top scores in resale and repairs. Stylish, efficient and offering loads of room for kids and cargo, the Traverse is every bit as capable as a midsize minivan but oh so much cooler. And even though the Traverse shares its underpinnings with the more expensive GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, it isn’t some bargain-basement offering. Inside, you’ll find loads of amenities ranging from advanced driver assists to the latest in Wi-Fi and onboard connectivity.

What’s New for 2020?

For 2020, the Chevy Traverse gets V6 power for every trim. The infotainment system is upgraded to the aptly named Infotainment System 3, as is the optional navigation. An HD rear camera is now standard, while more features are added to various option packages. An HD Surround Vision camera is optional with the LT Leather trim, and it’s standard in the RS, Premier and High Country trims. See the 2020 Chevrolet Traverse models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Big third-row seat
  • Bigger cargo area
  • 4G LTE and Wi-Fi
  • Comfortable seats
  • Excellent infotainment setup
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible

What We Don’t

  • Active safety and driver-assist features reserved for most expensive trims
  • Generic GM interior
  • Average resale values

How Much?

$30,995-$57,000

Fuel Economy

The Traverse is powered by a 310-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. The base L is offered only with front-wheel drive, while all other grades offer the option of FWD or all-wheel drive. A 9-speed automatic is standard on every Traverse.

The 3.6-liter V6 earns an Environmental Protection Agency estimate of 18 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway with FWD, and 17 mpg city/25 mpg hwy with AWD.

Standard Features & Options

The 2020 Chevrolet Traverse is offered in seven trims: L, LS, LT Cloth, LT Leather, RS, Premier and High Country.

The base Traverse L ($30,995) comes with power windows, power locks, an HD rearview camera, HID headlights, power heated outside mirrors, 18-in painted aluminum wheels, MyLink radio with a 7-in touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth phone and music streaming, 4G LTE and Wi-Fi hot spot, keyless open and start, cruise control, tri-zone automatic climate control and seating for eight passengers.

The LS ($34,095, FWD; $36,095, AWD) adds tinted privacy glass, HID headlights, 18-in bright silver painted wheels, Traction Mode Select and the option of AWD.

The LT Cloth ($36,595, FWD; $40,395, AWD) builds on the LS with second-row captain’s chair seating, 18-in bright face aluminum wheels, fog lights, roof rails, SiriusXM 3-month trial subscription, an 8-way power driver’s seat, express up/down power front windows and roof rails. The Convenience and Driver Confidence package is optional on the FWD LT and standard on the AWD model. The package adds an 8-in color touchscreen, navigation, driver information display, heated front seats, remote start, a power rear lift gate, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and rear park assist.

The LT Leather ($40,295, FWD; $42,295, AWD) adds the Convenience and Driver Confidence package, rear park assist and rear cross-traffic alert, leather seating, Infotainment 3 with 8-in touchscreen, a 6-way power passenger seat with power lumbar support, rear power lift gate, heated front seats and remote vehicle start.

The RS ($44,795, FWD; $46,895, AWD) carries much of the LT Leather features but substitutes 20-in dark painted wheels plus signature black accents, including roof fails, a grille bow tie badge and window trim. The RS also gets the contents of the LT Premium package, which includes 10-speaker Bose audio, navigation, rear camera mirror, HD Surround Vision and 20-in wheels. The RS also gets the LT’s optional Driver Confidence II package that includes automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, follow distance indicator, automatic high beams and automatic heated steering wheel.

The Premier ($46,995, FWD; $49,595, AWD) builds on the RS with a hands-free lift gate, LED headlights, a power tilt-and-telescopic steering column, an automatic heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, Qi wireless charging and heated second-row seats. A Redline Edition is also available that adds blackout trim and a panoramic sunroof.

The High Country ($52,095, FWD: $54,395, AWD) adds all the optional features of the Premier plus panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control with forward emergency braking, a power folding third-row seat and upgraded leather interior.

Safety

The Traverse comes standard with a full complement of airbags including front, front side-impact and 3-row side-curtain airbags. Optional driver assist equipment varies by trim, with the top-line High Country having the most advanced systems.

In government crash testing, the 2020 Traverse scored a perfect 5-star rating. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has yet to fully test the Traverse, but gives its GMC Acadia cousin excellent marks in all crash tests, as well as accident avoidance when properly equipped.

Behind the Wheel

The Traverse’s V6 (310-horsepower 3.6-liter) has good power and works well with the standard 9-speed automatic transmission. It can tow up to 5,000 pounds, similar to competitors like the Kia Telluride and Toyota Highlander.

Managing Editor Tara Trompeter spent four days in the Traverse traveling with her family to Walt Disney World. These were her impressions of life with the Traverse:

Before we set off for the hotel, I paired my phone to the car, which was quick and painless. I was thrilled to see that the Traverse offers Apple CarPlay, giving the SUV immediate brownie points in my book. I’ve spent the past few months driving long-term press cars such as the Chrysler Pacifica and Nissan Armada, both of which are outfitted with dual rear-seat entertainment screens. My kids, ages six and three, were definitely disappointed by the lack of screens in the Traverse (a rear-seat infotainment system with DVD player is a $2,000 option). But we quickly realized that 4G LTE is just as good … if not better. We had two iPads with us, so we quickly connected them to Wi-Fi for later use.

One thing I’ve always said about parents with kids still in convertible car seats is that, if you need or want a third row, second-row captain’s seats with a clear pathway to the third row are absolutely essential. Convertible child safety seats are typically installed via the LATCH system, and once they’re installed properly, it’s REALLY hard to get them out. Without that easy access via a central pathway to the third row, your additional passenger has to climb in through the cargo area. Thankfully, the new Traverse offers captain’s seats with center-console-free access to the third row. But they’ve also managed to one-up the competition with one of the most parent-friendly features I’ve seen in the past few years. They call it the “Enhanced Smart Slide” second-row seat, which essentially means the second-row captain’s seat behind the passenger can tilt up and slide forward at the pull of a lever, even with a child safety seat installed. This feature alone is enough to sell most parents on the Traverse.

Other Cars to Consider

2020 Volkswagen Atlas — The Atlas isn’t quite as roomy inside, but its interior is nicely appointed. The standard V6 is a bit thirsty and can feel sluggish at times, but we think the Atlas gets the nod when it comes to ride and handling.

2020 Subaru Ascent — The Ascent comes standard with full-time AWD, and its turbocharged 4-cylinder engine gets better fuel economy than the Traverse’s V6. Collision avoidance technology comes standard on every Ascent, but the Subaru isn’t as roomy inside.

2020 Toyota Highlander — The Highlander offers good interior room, excellent fuel economy from its hybrid powertrain option and outstanding marks for resale and reliability. The Highlander matches the Traverse for towing, but not rear cargo space.

Used Chevrolet Tahoe — A 2014 to 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe offers more power for towing and hauling, a robust V8 and better performance off-road. However, it’s thirstier at the gas pump, and its third-row seat and cargo volume are not as generous as the Traverse.

Autotrader’s Advice

For the money, we think the Traverse LT Cloth with AWD is the best choice of the bunch. However, if you want advanced driver-assist features, such as forward emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, you’re going to have to move up to the more expensive RS, Premier or High Country trim. Find a Chevrolet Traverse for sale

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