Spacious three-row SUV with a casual yet no-frills character
Price From $23,410- To $27,540
by SUViews Editor | Jan 8, 2022
Our Chevrolet Traverse 2021 review delves into the tech features, safety, and performance aspect of the vehicle, to help you decide whether this is the best 3-row SUV for your preference and budget.
Most cars are released with a strong character. They may be intended to stand out for one specific aspect, to make all the direct competitors look outdated, or even to create a whole new segment in the market. However, the truth is that not all customers are looking for such a car; many simply want a competent product that does what it is supposed to do. And there is nothing wrong with it.
The Chevrolet Traverse arrived in 2009 with an “SUV meets minivan” design, back when crossovers were all the rage. The situation changed in the coming years, and the second generation arrived nine years later with a much more SUV-like appearance, although still showing no interest in subverting any market standards: this is a no-frills SUV intended for large families and that is the end of it.
On the positive side, that means you get plenty of space for up to eight people, a modern powertrain that is surprisingly fuel-efficient, and good resale value. The negative side, however, comes with an overall lack of sophistication: very little offerings on the standard list, upscale trim levels that do not make the experience remarkably better, and price tags that keep becoming exponentially higher with every trim level.
Performance, Engine, and Comfort
The fact that the Traverse belongs to the entry-level brand of a large company should give you a heads-up: you will find a competent, no-fuss SUV. The powertrain is brilliantly efficient, the cabin is impressively spacious, but expecting ostentatious sophistication will only lead to frustration – and, probably, a negative impact on your bank account.
Engine & Performance
The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse shows that the times of anesthetized rides are gone – or, at least, restricted to the Tahoe and the Suburban. Here, you will get balanced suspension behavior and precise steering, which is beneficial for a family car because it makes the driver more confident during long trips.
Engine and gear
This vehicle comes with only one powertrain option for all trim levels. The engine is a 3.6-liter V6 good for 310 hp of power and 266 lb-ft of torque and the transmission is a nine-speed automatic.
After Pontiac’s demise, GM decided to channel its sporty potential to the Chevrolet brand. We can see that on the Traverse, which stands out against its bigger siblings by offering a car-like behavior: the suspension is comfortable as you would expect from a family SUV, but not excessively smooth as you would expect from a minivan.
Even though it is a modern car filled with driving assist technologies, the Traverse is still quite big and heavy. You will feel all that on every curve or parking spot, but it only takes some practice: once you get used to its dimensions, it becomes quite pleasant to drive.
Vibration & Ride
This is the point where it shows its family character the most. The cabin is so quiet that it is difficult to feel the engine running – and not even the start/stop system disrupts that, which is even more impressive. The overall sensation is of a precise ride, not too smooth nor punishing.
Safety & Reliability
Typical of any generalist model– not much is available as standard. Although it does offer several items which greatly enhance active and passive safety, most of them are either offered at extra cost or restricted to the upscale trim levels.
Emergency braking and pedestrian braking are standard, although the upscale trims have an “enhanced” version of the former which works at any speed above 2 mph.
Airbag systems are a standard item in the 2021 Chevrolet Traverse, with front-impact, side-impact, overhead airbags, and pretensioners.
This is a modern SUV, so it can be equipped with several driving-assist electronic systems such as lane-keeping, forward-collision warning, and blind-spot monitoring. However, most of these features are restricted to the upscale trim levels.
Headlights and tail lights are entirely made of LEDs since the base version. The former may also have automatic activation.
Stability and traction control are standard features here. The model has a front-wheel drive as the standard setup but may be upgraded with an all-wheel drive.
Modern construction and modern powertrain could only bring compliments here. The only engine available is well dimensioned for the Traverse, so there are no disappointments regarding mileage.
The only engine available for this model is a 3.6-liter V6 which uses gasoline.
Gas per mileage consumption
EPA estimates fuel consumption of 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The specialized press, however, has obtained better mileage in its own simulations of real-world driving.
While internal space is highly important, it really should not be the main feature of a car. The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse offers enormous room for people and baggage but has average performance in other interior features. Its top-tier trim levels do not offer much to improve the situation. While the number of storage areas is a plus, the 2021 Traverse disappoints for its price: it is too expensive for the level of overall refinement it offers.
Here you get plenty of legroom, a comfortable seat and driving position, and an equipment list that gets considerably longer if you opt for the upscale versions.
Typical Chevrolet design: sporty, rather than elegant. Upscale trims bring better materials and more beautiful upholstery but fail to improve the cabin as much as their price sticker would suggest. The infotainment system has beautiful graphics and is easy to use. There are several USB ports placed in useful locations.
Passenger seats and extras
Plenty of space again. The long, boxy silhouette accommodates seven or eight passengers without any problems – even the third row of seats is suitable for adults.
Overall height and space
With an overall height of 70.7 inches, this vehicle has a volume of 157 cubic feet dedicated to passenger space.
The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse offers 23 cubic feet for cargo storage. The specialized press has widely praised its trunk for being impressively large even with all seat rows up; if you fold all of them, the space you will get is gigantic.
Price and Extras
No surprises here. The Traverse belongs to a very competitive segment, especially considering the North-American market, so any misstep could cost the automaker precious customers. In fact, Chevrolet uses such a long list of trim levels (with a low base price) precisely to try and leave no one unattended. On the other hand, the price bump of the upscale ones makes some rivals look much better.
The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse is available in the following options:
|High Country||US$ 52,395|
The LT trim level may be upgraded from cloth upholstery to leather for extra US$ 3,700. The three top trims make a quite interesting selection: the RS has a sporty flair, the Premier invests in a classy image, and the High Country gives a light off-road vibe. The other three only differ in equipment.
Front-wheel drive is the standard layout here. All-wheel drive is an optional item for all trims except the L and costs an average of US$ 2,600; the exact price increase depends on the trim level.
The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse has a quite average warranty offering– a limited warranty of three years or 36,000 miles and powertrain coverage of five years or 60,000 miles. One important addition is that Chevrolet makes the first maintenance visit on the house.
If you need plenty of room but your budget is tight, the Chevrolet Traverse is a good solution to stay away from used SUVs. It is quite competent in its field: affordable base trims, essential items are standard, and the design is attractive. However, it does not offer anything beyond that.
The biggest problem is that spending more cash on the higher trims won’t make the vehicle any special. Why? Because the Chevy Traverse was not meant to be a fancy car. The only relevant improvement you will get from the upscale trim levels is more add-ons or safety equipment, but even they come at a high cost. People looking for a premium experience will probably be better served with some of its direct competitors, like Dodge Durango or Ford Explorer.