Following a full makeover in 2018, Chevy’s three-row Traverse crossover ($30,460) enters the new year with more horsepower and trim-level revisions that offer buyers greater flexibility.
Last year’s Traverse marked a major departure for the big crossover. Planted on a new lightweight chassis, it lost as much as 400 pounds, depending on equipment ordered. While its exterior dimensions were essentially unchanged, its wheelbase grew 2 inches, boosting cabin and storage space.
Second-row passengers are the big winners, as second-row legroom gained 3 inches. Adult passengers ride comfortably in both the second and third rows.
Cabin refinement steps up
The makeover brought new refinement to the cabin. A more contemporary and attractive design is paired with improved materials quality and enhanced sound insulation to produce a tranquil space.
Connectivity and safety options grew in count and sophistication. Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system, with 4G LTE WiFi and Chevy’s Teen Driver system, is standard.
Lower trims got a 7-inch touchscreen; models higher in the food chain got an 8-incher.
Infotainment graphics are bright and bold, though their simple shapes and primary colors may not resonate with high-end shoppers. High-definition radio is not available.
With trims ranging from the $33,000 LS to the $53,2000 near-luxury High country, Chevy offers three-row shoppers a wide array of pricing, trims and options.
Suspension balances comfort, handling
In all its forms, the Traverse is comfortable, capable and well equipped. Its seats are large and supportive. Automatic tri-zone climate control is standard. Abundant casual cabin storage includes clever spaces dedicated to phones and tablets.
The suspension carefully balances comfort and handling, with the edge going to comfort. Our AWD Traverse Premier ($48,200) tester quietly absorbed road-surface bumps and bruises. At highway speeds, its soft suspension settings allowed more unwanted body motion than I’d like.
Steering effort is on the light side but the system is accurate and responsive. A good on-center groove makes for easy highway cruising. Just don’t expect much communication from the road surface.
Moderate body lean surfaces in the corners and the Traverse was happier on the interstate than on a winding, two-lane.
Two available powerplants
Two engines are available. The 3.6-liter V-6 that powers most trims gains 29 hp this year, to 310. It’s mated to a new nine-speed automatic transmission that contributes to class-leading fuel efficiency.
It’s reasonably quick, running the 0-60 sprint in 7.3 seconds.
Last year, the sport-trimmed RS ($43,100) was available only with FWD and a turbocharged 257-hp four-cylinder engine. This year, it can be had with AWD and the same 310-hp V-6 that powers the rest of the lineup.
Other updates include a new LT Premium package that dresses up the LT Leather ($39,200) and RS trims. It adds a 360-degree rearview monitor, an 8-inch touchscreen (versus the standard 7-inch unit), a 10-speaker Bose audio system, a 110V outlet and 20-inch wheels.
Even the base LS is well equipped. Besides the cabin tech mentioned above, standard features include xenon headlights, LED running lights, heated mirrors and a fuel-saving engine stop-start system.
The stop/start system can’t be defeated but it may be smoother on restart than any system we’ve tested. So no harm, no foul.
The $53,000 near-luxury, AWD-only High Country comes complete with all the features of the lower trims and adds automatic high-beam headlights, a panoramic sunroof, a power-folding third-row seat and premium leather and sueded microfiber cabin accents.
Its AWD system includes an auto-locking rear differential for maximum traction at low speeds.
If you’d like intelligent cruise control, the High Country is your only choice. Even our one-step-from-the-top Premier AWD tester ($48,200) went without.
Most buyers will focus on the $33,000 LS, the $35,500 LT Cloth or $39,200 LT Leather.
The LT Cloth may be the sweet spot. It adds a power-adjustable driver’s seat, second-row captain’s chairs, fog lights and roof rails. The available Convenience and Driver Confidence package ($1,795) includes a power liftgate, heated front seats, remote start and a blind-spot monitor.
Savvy shoppers know that counts as a value play among three-row crossovers.
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2019 Chevrolet Traverse AWD Premier
Vehicle base price: $30,460
Trim level base price: $48,200
As tested: $49,590 (includes handling and destination)
Tow capacity: 5,000 pounds
Options: Black Currant metallic paint
EPA rating: 20 combined/17 city/25 highway