Chevrolet stands out in midsize SUV segment with 2021 Traverse

By Paul Borden

(January 10, 2021) Introduced as a 2009 model, fully redesigned for 2018, and updated with some minor changes two years later, the Chevrolet Traverse goes into 2021 with no major changes from its immediate predecessor. But don’t hold that against it. When it comes to family transportation and all that goes with it (carpooling, weekend road trips, family vacations, etc.), the Traverse has a lot in its favor as a midsize SUV segment.

It comes in six flavors with the base L model checking in with a starting MSRP of  just under $31,000 and continuing with LS, LT Cloth, LT Leather, RS, Premier, and High Country trims.

Seating capacity is eight passengers in the lower trims which come with a bench seat for the second row. Higher trims get captain’s chairs for the second row, which makes access to the far back row easier but reduces overall passenger capacity to seven.

With the discontinuation of the turbo-4 engine in 2020, all Traverse models now come with a 3.6-liter V6 mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. It puts out 310 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. Fuel mileage is 18 miles-per-gallon city, 27 highway with standard front wheel drive and slightly less (17/25) with available all-wheel drive. Towing capacity is 5,000 pounds with an optional trailering package.

This review is based on the AWD High Country trim that sits at the top of the Traverse’s food chain and carries a pretty steep MSRP in the midsize SUV segment. It starts at $54,295 including the $1,195 destination and delivery charge. That’s not the highest in the segment, however, and is also mitigated by the long list of standard features that reduces the need for expensive option packages.

Included in the MSRP are such niceties as the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Premier system with navigation featuring an 8-inch touchscreen and voice recognition, a wi-fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, adaptive cruise control, Bose Premium Sound 10-speaker system, OnStar services (naturally; it’s a GM product), leather-appointed seats, 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat and 6-way front passenger (each with power lumbar support), heated and ventilated front seats, rear-camera mirror, leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, power tilt-and-telescopic steering column, tri-zone climate control, and a 120-volt power outlet.

Standard exterior features for the Traverse High Country include 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, dual panoramic sunroof, LED headlamps, fog lights, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, and a hands-free power rear liftgate to access an expansive cargo area.

Safety features found on the High Country include a surround-view camera, rear park assist and rear cross-traffic alert, lane-change alert with blind-spot alert, lane-keeping assist with lane departure warning, front pedestrian braking, and Chevy Safety Assist’s system that features forward collision alert, a following distance indicator, and enhanced emergency braking.

Unless you are looking for a more spirited driving experience, the Traverse has about everything you desire in an SUV.

What I liked about the 2021 Chevrolet Traverse AWD High Country: The Traverse has lots of room for both passengers and their stuff. Even with a third row, the Traverse offers 23 cubic feet of cargo space without folding any seats. Max cargo space is 98.2 cubic feet to the front seat. The infotainment functions are plentiful and very user friendly. The ride is quiet and comfortable

What I didn’t like about the 2021 Chevrolet Traverse AWD High Country: The engine comes with a stop-start function (considered a fuel-saving device) and unfortunately there is no switch to disable it. You can ease up on the brake ever so slightly after coming to a stop to turn it off. I would like to see some more attention to upgrading interior materials considering the High Country’s price tag.

Would I buy the 2021 Chevrolet Traverse AWD High Country? I don’t need (or want) a three-row SUV, but if that is what you need/want, yes, the Traverse should be on your list. Considering there are no major changes from 2021l, you might go for the older model to save a few bucks (assuming you can bargain much better than I). It is one of the better choices in its segment.