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2021 Chevrolet Traverse Review

The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse is a three-row crossover sport utility vehicle. It competes in a popular segment with midsize SUV rivals like the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Kia Telluride.

The Traverse has an advantage over other models in sheer size. It is larger, which translates to best-in-class interior room. That extra space is appealing to growing families, as are features like the Smart Slide seat that allows easy access to the third row. Seating for seven or eight passengers and a standard V6 are also noteworthy.

Where the Traverse lags is in active safety features. While it offers systems such as forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist, you must choose a higher trim and then pay extra for them. In competitors, these systems are standard. The same goes for adaptive cruise control, which is reserved for the highest 2021 Traverse trim. Chevy has already said the forthcoming 2022 Traverse will address these shortcomings.

Still, a properly-equipped midlevel or higher Chevy Traverse is an appealing proposition for families, as it brings comfortable manners and a lot of metal for the money.

What’s New?

The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse carries over unchanged. See the 2021 Chevrolet Traverse models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Slightly lower starting price than competitors
  • Standard V6 engine
  • Standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration
  • Seating for seven or eight passengers
  • Larger than other midsize SUVs

What We Don’t

  • Doesn’t include safety features easily found in rivals
  • Active safety and driver aids cost extra
  • Adaptive cruise control available only on High Country trim
  • Automatic engine start/stop can’t be disabled

How Much?

$29,800 to $53,200

Fuel Economy

The Traverse uses a 3.6-liter V6 that makes a robust 310 horsepower. The base L is offered only with front-wheel drive. All other grades come standard with FWD or optional all-wheel drive. A 9-speed automatic is standard on every Traverse.

The front-drive 2021 Chevy Traverse earns an Environmental Protection Agency rating of 18 miles per gallon in the city/27 mpg on the highway/21 mpg combined. With all-wheel drive, that drops to 17 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/20 mpg combined.

Note: All 2021 Traverse models use a start/stop system that cuts engine power at idle, such as at stoplights, to save fuel. Unlike with some competitors, however, there is no button to disable the function.

Standard Features & Options

The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse comes in a choice of seven trims: L, LS, LT Cloth, LT Leather, RS, Premier and High Country.

The base Traverse L ($29,800) includes a V6 engine and some amenities such as tri-zone automatic climate control, six USB ports and MyLink infotainment system with 7-in touchscreen display and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration.

The LS ($32,900, FWD; $34,900, AWD) adds a traction-mode select, deep-tinted rear windows and high-intensity headlights.

The LT Cloth ($35,400, FWD; $39,200, AWD) builds on the LS with second-row captain’s chair seating (a bench is optional), power-adjustable driver’s seat and heated outside mirrors. 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, power rear lift gate, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and rear park assist. We highly recommend adding the Driver Confidence II package that adds important safety features like automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist.

The LT Leather ($39,100, FWD; $41,100, AWD) adds The LT Leather has leather interior, blind spot monitoring, power tailgate and 8-in touchscreen display. You’ll still have to pay extra for safety features like automatic emergency braking.

The RS ($43,600, FWD; $45,700, AWD) builds on the LT Leather and boasts a sportier look. It has 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 and HD Surround Vision. The RS includes the LT’s optional Driver Confidence II package that bundles automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, follow distance indicator, automatic high beams and automatic heated steering wheel.

The Premier ($45,800, FWD; $48,400, AWD) comes with a hands-free lift gate, LED headlights, power adjustable steering column, heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, wireless phone charger and heated second-row seats. A Redline Edition is available that adds blackout trim and a panoramic sunroof.

The High Country ($50,900, FWD: $53,200, AWD) adds all the optional features of the Premier plus panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control with enhanced emergency braking, a power folding third-row seat and upgraded leather interior.

Safety

The Traverse includes a full complement of airbags across all three rows and the mandated vehicle stability and traction control systems.

Active safety features such as forward-collision warning with automatic braking and lane-keeping assist are available but cost extra. They require at least an LT Cloth trim level. If you want adaptive cruise control, it’s only available on the High Country model.

In government crash testing, last year’s Traverse scored a perfect 5-star rating. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave that model its top score of Good in crashworthiness.

Behind the Wheel

The Traverse’s standard V6 has appreciable power and works well with the 9-speed automatic transmission. We found it a good partner for both around-town duties and longer slogs with family in tow.

Managing Editor Tara Trompeter spent four days in a Traverse traveling with her family to Walt Disney World. She liked the ease of connectivity to her phone, while her kids kept connected with GM’s subscription-based 4G LTE onboard system with Wi-Fi.

Another plus for parents is the Traverse’s ease of use in simply getting everyone aboard. Thanks to this Chevrolet SUV’s Smart Slide system, it’s far easier to access the third row, even when using a convertible child seat in the second row via the LATCH system. This feature alone, she remarked, is enough to sell most parents on the Traverse.

One gripe we have with the Traverse is the lack of a button to disable the start/stop system. At stoplights, this system turns the engine to save fuel and restarts when you take your foot off the brake pedal. It takes getting used to, and we’d at least like the option to turn it off with a button like on other new cars.

Other Cars to Consider

2021 Kia Telluride – The Telluride is one of the freshest and most impressive 3-row SUVs available. It has almost as much room as the Traverse and includes a strong set of safety and driver-assistance features as standard. It also has a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

2021 Hyundai Palisade – Another newcomer and corporate cousin to the Telluride, the Palisade also has a V6 standard, full complement of safety systems, roomy interior and the same class-leading warranty.

2021 Honda Pilot – The Pilot comes with a V6, versatile interior, full roster of standard safety systems and history of high reliability and resale value.

2021 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.

Questions You May Ask

Is the 2021 Chevrolet Traverse a full-size SUV?

The Traverse is classified as a midsize SUV. At over 204 inches long, however, it is among the largest in its class.

Is the 2021 Chevy Traverse a good vehicle?

The Traverse is comfortable, compliant and quite powerful. Still, there is room for improvement. We wish the Traverse came with active safety systems like automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist that are standard on rivals. The forthcoming 2022 Chevrolet Traverse looks to rectify that.

Does the 2021 Traverse have three rows?

Yes, all-new Chevy Traverse models have three rows. There is total seating for eight passengers when configured with a second-row bench or seven-passenger seating when the second row is configured with captain’s chairs.

How do the 2021 and 2022 Chevy Traverse compare?

Chevrolet has already announced that the 2022 Traverse will be a refreshed model that adds active safety systems as standard gets some styling tweaks. It is to go on sale in the third quarter of 2021.

Autotrader’s Advice

We recommend at least a Traverse LT Cloth with the Driver Confidence II system or a higher trim. That will get the safety and driver-assistance features that come standard on competitors while also bringing the Chevy’s larger size, comfortable manners and practical interior. Find a Chevrolet Traverse for sale

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