The original version of Chevrolet’s Traverse SUV had a good run from 2009 to 2017. A full redesign happened for model year 2018, and that second-generation model continues to this day, with just a few minor changes to available features for certain models in 2019.
For 2020, the 2.0-liter four cylinder turbo engine that was exclusive to the sport-themed RS trim level has been dropped, and the 3.6-liter V6 used on all other models takes its place.
Traverse has three rows of seats with positions for 7 or 8 passengers, depending on layout. It was launched as a full-size SUV but was repositioned by Chevrolet as midsize in the brand’s lineup, even though its actual size was about the same. In person, the Traverse seems big but not huge. Standard-size might be a good description.
Trim levels are L, LS, LT (Cloth and Leather), RS, Premier, and High Country. Pricing starts at $29,800 plus a $1,195 destination charge. All-wheel drive is available on everything except the L trim.
For this review I drove the Traverse Premier model with front-wheel drive. Its base price is $46,995 with destination charge included. Iridescent Pearl paint added $995 to the bottom line, and was the test car’s only optional item.
Standard features abound on the Premier trim, including power operation everywhere, heated rear seats (at outboard positions), 10-speaker Bose premium audio system, wireless phone charging, three-zone climate control, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay ability, hands-free power liftgate, and safety equipment such as automatic emergency braking, rear camera mirror, and a slew of lane keeping, collision avoidance, alarms and alert systems.
The V6 engine produces a hefty 310 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. Along with a nine-speed automatic transmission, it propels the Traverse quickly and smoothly. Fuel economy ratings are 18 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined.
When equipped with an available trailering package, the Traverse has a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds.
Serenity is the dominant theme inside the passenger cabin. Styling isn’t the most eye-catching in the world, but unwanted noise has been ruled out, seat comfort is exceptionally good, and even the most egregious bumps in the road cause little disturbance.
Cargo volume is nearly tied with serenity as a dominant theme. With second and third row seats in upright position, rear cargo space is 23 cubic feet. Folding the third row creates 58.1 cubic feet, and with both rows folded, 98.2 cubic feet are yours for the filling.
The Traverse moves blithely on the highway, but in parking lots it can seem like the proverbial bull in the china shop. What’s weird, though, is the car isn’t really as cramped in the parking lot as you think. After pulling into spaces as though berthing a ship, I would get out of the Traverse to evaluate the situation and discover lots of room left between the lines on both sides. Could this car be a shapeshifter?
2020 CHEVROLET TRAVERSE FWD PREMIER
Base price, including destination charge: $46,995
Price as driven: $47,990
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.