Mainstream three-row crossovers need to tick a number of boxes for the families that gobble them up. Sure, they should be comfortable and easy to drive. There should be smart tech and advanced active safety, too, and if they happen to look capable of modest off-road heroics, that’s all the better. But above all else, these vehicles need to be spacious.
If passenger and cargo capacity are your highest priority, I’d suggest looking at the Chevrolet Traverse. Like the Equinox I reviewed a few months ago, this is an otherwise average product. But where that’s the Equinox’s prime strength, the Traverse excels because of its immense cabin. If you need room – if you really, really need to use the third row in your three-row CUV – the Traverse makes a compelling case in a hugely competitive class.
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|Quick Stats||2023 Chevrolet Traverse High Country AWD|
|Output:||310 Horsepower / 266 Pound-Feet|
|Efficiency:||17 City / 25 Highway / 20 Combined|
Gallery: 2023 Chevrolet Traverse: Review
- Exterior Color: Radiant Red Tintcoat
- Interior Color: Jet Black/Clove
- Wheel Size: 20 Inches
A facelift for model-year 2021 saw the Traverse adopt more chiseled exterior features in a bid to adjust the perception it’s just another soft-roader. The effort was only partially successful – the Traverse still doesn’t turn heads or suggest it could handle anything more than a dirt driveway, but it looks and feels crisper than before. I drove the the range-topping High Country trim, but aside from the chrome exterior bits, 20-inch wheels, and badging, there’s little to distinguish it from lesser Traverses.
That’s doubly true of the cabin. Limited to just a single upholstery theme, the Jet Black/Clove combo is muddled and dull – on the seats, there’s a seemingly tan tint to the black leather, but I never felt like I was looking at a dedicated two-tone interior scheme. At the same time, the uninteresting, plastic-laden dash and door panels, small 8.0-inch touchscreen, and button-heavy center console leave the Traverse feeling old and unhip. The upside is that everything here feels solid and well built, even if the materials themselves lacked the polish of newer competitors.
save over $3,400 on average off MSRP* on a new Chevrolet Traverse
- Seating Capacity: 7
- Seating Configuration: 2 / 2 / 3
- Cargo Capacity: 23.0 / 57.8 / 98.2 Cubic Feet
The Chevy Traverse attempts to split the difference between roomy, uncool minivans and roomy, unwieldy body-on-frame SUVs with its huge cabin, upright stature, and relaxed driving character. In terms of max passenger volume, the Traverse is in a class of its own. The front chairs are open and expansive, with flat bolsters and adequate padding. The second-row captain’s seats (a bench is available on lesser trims) slide fore and aft, while the third row has 1.3-inch legroom advantage on the next closest alternative. And regardless of which seats are up or folded, the Traverse leads the segment in cargo space.
|Interior Dimensions:||Headroom, 1st/2nd/3rd||Legroom, 1st/2nd/3rd||Cargo Volume|
|2023 Chevrolet Traverse||41.5 / 39.0 / 38.2 Inches||41.0 / 38.4 / 33.5 Inches||23.0 / 57.8 / 98.2 Cu Ft|
|2022 Ford Explorer||38.9 / 38.2 / 38.9 Inches||43.0 / 39.0 / 32.2 Inches||18.2 / 47.9 / 87.8 Cu Ft|
|2022 Honda Pilot||39.5 / 40.9 / 38.9 Inches||40.9 / 38.4 / 31.9 Inches||16.5 / 46.8 / 83.9 Cu Ft|
|2022 Kia Telluride||39.5 / 38.8 / 37.2 Inches||41.4 / 42.4 / 31.4 Inches||21.0 / 46.0 / 87.0 Cu Ft|
|2022 Nissan Pathfinder||41.1 / 38.4 / 37.8 Inches||44.3 / 35.5 / 28.0 Inches||16.6 / 45.0 / 80.5 Cu Ft|
Ride quality is competitive, with the Traverse showing impressive composure over rough patches and excellent steering isolation. There’s some tire and wind noise, but the Traverse holds its own while cruising at highway speed.
- Center Display: 8.0-inch Touchscreen
- Instrument Cluster Display: 8.0-inch
- Wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto: Yes
The Traverse earns above-average marks here by the skin of its teeth. The 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is about as small as it gets in the segment, but it responds readily to inputs and uses the familiar operating system present in other GM products, with individual icons on a big, simple home screen. And physical controls for things like the volume and audio tuning mean that the infotainment is a kind of set-and-forget thing.
This High Country model comes fully equipped, so customers won’t need to dig through complicated option sheets to find things like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto or the nifty rear camera mirror.
- Engine: 3.6-liter V6
- Output: 310 Horsepower / 266 Pound-Feet
- Transmission: Nine-Speed Automatic
The Traverse’s performance is adequate but, like so many other vehicles in the segment, totally unexciting. The 3.6-liter V6 packs 310 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, which outguns the Kia Telluride (291 hp and 262 lb-ft), Honda Pilot (280 and 262), and Nissan Pathfinder (295 and 270). Only the turbocharged, 300-hp Ford Explorer out-twists the Traverse, with 310 lb-ft. Despite best-in-class standard horsepower, the Traverse’s 5,000-pound (optional) tow limit ties the Pilot and Telluride and trails the Explorer (5,300 pounds) and Pathfinder (up to 6,000 pounds).
In the real world, the Traverse’s V6 and nine-speed auto work well together – power builds gently although the engine is responsive when given a boot full of throttle. The nine-speed engages readily off the line, but while underway, its focus is more on smoothness and refinement rather than swapping gears quickly.
Handling is exactly as portly as any other 4,300-pound three-row CUV. The Traverse wallows from side to side when pushed and defaults to safe, predictable understeer if you’re that one lunatic that treats the school run like an autocross. More relevant is the soft, predictable brake pedal that provides ample stopping power and easy modulation.
- Driver Assistance Level: SAE Level 1
- NHTSA Rating: Not Rated
- IIHS Rating: Not TSP/TSP Plus
Praise be, Chevy has finally listened to our constant complaining and offers a whole host of active safety gear standard. Every Traverse comes standard with Chevy Safety Assist, the Bowtie brand’s safety suite. It includes forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking that works below 50 mph, lane-keep assist, and automatic high beams. That still trails Honda and Toyota, which bundle adaptive cruise control with their respective suites, but Chevy gets an A for effort.
The Traverse High Country, meanwhile, includes ACC, in addition to full-speed automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert (optional on lesser models). It lacks any kind of lane-tracing or centering system, though, so driving the Traverse on the highway is a more involved affair even with adaptive cruise engaged.
- City: 17 MPG
- Highway: 25 MPG
- Combined: 20 MPG
- Base: $34,520 + $1,395 Destination
- Trim: $53,395
- As-Tested: $56,090
The Traverse might be a good value if you need room, but the range-topping High Country is (like so many other premium trims of mainstream three-rows) a pretty poor value, adding $17,480 to the Traverse’s $35,915 (including the $1,395 destination charge) base price, for a trim price of $53,395. All-wheel drive adds $2,200 to that figure, while my tester’s $495 Radiant Red paint brought the sticker to $56,090. That’s a lot of cash for a vehicle without a premium badge on the nose.
Instead, consider a Traverse other than the High Country. The LT Leather trim, with all the same active safety equipment, an identical 8.0-inch touchscreen, and the rear camera mirror, is available for about $48,000. That’s the smart buy if you’re shopping for a three-row Chevy crossover. But if space isn't your number one priority, there are better values on the market. The range-topping Ford Explorer Platinum comes with a more powerful and more efficient hybrid powertrain and offers a twin-turbo V6 as an option. The Kia Telluride, Honda Pilot, and Nissan Pathfinder, meanwhile, undercut the Traverse in their most expensive forms.
|Pricing:||Vehicle Base Price + Destination:||Premium Trim Starting Price:|
|2023 Chevrolet Traverse High Country AWD||$34,520 + $1,395 Destination||$55,395|
|2023 Ford Explorer Platinum Hybrid AWD||$35,510 + $1,495 Destination||$55,515|
|2023 Honda Pilot Elite AWD||$38,080 + $1,295 Destination||$51,665|
|2023 Kia Telluride SX Prestige AWD||$33,390 + $1,335 Destination||$48,825|
|2023 Nissan Pathfinder AWD||$35,000 + $1,295 Destination||$51,165|
Model Competitor Reviews:
- Ford Explorer: Not Rated
- Honda Pilot: 8.7 / 10
- Hyundai Palisade: 9.3 / 10
- Kia Telluride: Not Rated
- Mazda CX-9: Not Rated
- Nissan Pathfinder: 9.2 / 10
- Toyota Highlander: Not Rated
- Volkswagen Atlas: 7.5 / 10
2023 Chevrolet Traverse High Country AWD