One crossover that would be a seriously excellent mileage hauler for the whole family.
Over the last couple of years, the three-row crossover segment has become ultra competitive, especially with Kia’s new Telluride and Hyundai’s Palisade having entered the fray. These two competitors have garnered so much attention since their release that the entry from Chevrolet has gotten lost in the mix. This is truly a shame, as the 2020 Chevrolet Traverse RS AWD does have a number of traits that make it a better than average family hauler.
Looking at the Chevy Traverse from the outside, you know that this is one large SUV at almost 10 inches longer than a Hyundai Palisade (reviewed here). Buyers should take note especially if their Traverse will be parked in the garage and space is already tight. However, once you step inside, you will realize that the amount of usable space almost approaches that of a minivan. The Traverse comes in seven or eight passenger seating options. Opt for the second row captain’s chairs and you’re left with a centre walk-though that is spacious enough to access the third row.
The third row is large enough to comfortably seat adults and only lags slightly behind the class leading Volkswagen Atlas (reviewed here). Where the Chevy Traverse leads is with the 651 litres of cargo capacity behind the third row. Drop that third row seat and available cargo space jumps to 1,637 litres. Finally, drop the second row and this increases to 2,781 litres. It’s not hard to believe that the original Traverse was made to fill in for Chevrolet’s exit from the minivan segment in terms of cargo and accessibility.
Power is provided via a 3.6-liter V6 pushing 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. The transmission of choice is a nine-speed automatic with an auto start/stop feature. This RS comes with all-wheel-drive as standard while lower trim models can be equipped in front-drive form. The powertrain operates smoothly and are well matched for optimum performance and efficiency, with a 0-100km/h time in the mid-seven second range. Similar to the Japanese competition, the Traverse gets a single engine option, while Dodge and Ford offer optional powerplants with larger displacement and more power.
Fuel economy for this the 2020 Traverse is rated at 13.6L/100 km city and 9.6L/100 km highway for a combined rating of 11.8L/100km. During my time behind the wheel, I exceeded that number and achieved 11.1L/100 km with combined driving. Only 87-octane fuel is required, and the smooth powertrain urges drivers to keep revs low and optimize efficiency. The idle start-stop feature helps with fuel conservation as well.
Out on the road, the Traverse’s ride is extremely smooth with the chassis eating up all but the largest of bumps and potholes. Compared to an Atlas or Telluride (reviewed here), the handling capabilities of the Traverse is where it really excels. While there’s definitely notable body roll, the steering inspires confidence and the chassis is surprisingly tight for a large crossover. You won’t find many other crossovers in this segment, even at higher price points, with reflexes this impressive.
The interior is a mix of good and not-so-good. In terms of tech, the eight-inch infotainment screen is smaller than today’s rivals are offering, however the feature set including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, OnStar, 4G-LTE and a WiFi hotspot is substantial. Satellite radio, built-in navigation, and six USB ports are also on board here. The downside is that while materials are of adequate quality, there’s too much drab black and grey that darkens the overall appearance if the shade for the Skyscraper dual sunroof ($1,685) is closed. We are expecting a mid-cycle refresh for the Traverse next year that will likely bring some necessary improvements to the cabin, but as it stands, it’s definitely mid-pack for appearance and above average for features.
For 2020, General Motors has loaded up the 2020 Chevrolet Traverse RS AWD with more safety features than before. This includes Lane Change Alert, Rear Traffic Assist, Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist, Front Pedestrian Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Rear Park Assist , Rear Seat Reminder and Following Distance Alert. In order to obtain most of these features, moving up to the RS or higher trim levels is necessary. The HD Surround Vision, a 360-degree camera that’s quite good with high levels of clarity, is absent in the two lower trim levels.
The RS trim level we have here sits mid pack in the available models for the Traverse. The entry level LS model starts at $39,098 while the top spec High Country rolls in at an eye-watering $60,298. Our RS starts at $49,098 and includes 20-inch Dark Android aluminum wheels, blacked out trim and emblems, a heated steering wheel and several safety features mentioned earlier. Add the cost of the dual sunroof, wheel locks ($95) and Satin Steel Metallic paint ($495) plus additional fees and destination charges bring the total to $53,373 plus freight and taxes.
Earlier this year, Chevrolet announced some changes to the 2021 Traverse expected to debut later this year that included a revised exterior design, more standard safety features and additional interior colors. However, due to the COVID-19 epidemic that has affected the globe, business decisions have been made to delay these changes until the 2022 model year. This means the Traverse will continue unchanged for an additional year.
If you are looking for a three-row family hauler with a subtle design, massive cargo space and simple to use technology, you really can’t go wrong with the Traverse. Add in the high level of comfort and better-than-average fuel economy, this is one vehicle that has enough positive attributes to make for an easy basis for Chevrolet to build on for the next generation. The 2020 Chevrolet Traverse RS AWD is one crossover that would be a seriously excellent mileage hauler for the whole family.