Newly redesigned 2019 Chevy Traverse — Room with a view

By Jim Prueter

(December 6, 2018) Last year, for 2018, Chevrolet completely redesigned the Traverse, a popular three-row family crossover utility vehicle that seats up to eight passengers and starts under $30,000. The Traverse competes against the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, VW Atlas, Dodge Durango, Kia Sorento, and Nissan Pathfinder, as well as its up-market sibling, Buick Enclave.

We recently spent a week with the 2019 Traverse. It’s an identical carryover from 2018, with the addition of a few very minor features such as an automatic heated steering wheel now standard on the top two trim levels.

The new Traverse gained two inches of wheelbase, which shows up in a larger interior with more legroom for second-row passengers, 10 percent more room behind the second row, and 17 percent more behind the third row. Bumper to bumper, it’s a bit longer than a Chevy Tahoe and just 10 inches shorter than the Chevy Suburban.

Traverse is offered in L, LS, LT (cloth and leather), RS, Premier and High Country trim levels. All-wheel drive is available on LS, LT and Premier; it is standard on the High Country. The Traverse is offered with two powertrains: a 255-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder and a 310-horsepower V-6 engine. The four-cylinder engine will be offered on the sportier-looking RS trim. Chevrolet expects most sales will come from the LT Leather model with front wheel drive.

We test drove the top-rung High Country, outfitted for seven-passenger seating with mid-row captain’s chairs that slide fore and aft for easy entry into the third row seat, 20-inch wheels and tires, and Chevy’s twin-clutch all-wheel drive with the Traction Mode Select system.

While certainly a comfortable family-sized cruiser, my first impression when entering the Traverse was that it didn’t feel as upscale compared with several competitors in its class. It certainly isn’t unattractive but we noticed an overabundance of hard plastic and materials, with cabin styling more routine than cutting edge.

However, when it comes to space there’s ample room for people, cargo and a dog or two, and the third-row was roomy enough for adult passengers – something you won’t find in class competitors. With the second and third-row seats folded down, there’s over 98 cubic feet of cargo space. Our High Country includes a power-fold third row seat. A power rear liftgate with hands-free operation is standard on both the top two trim levels.

The MyLink infotainment system comes standard and includes a seven-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, six USB ports, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. Built in Teen Driver technology helps coach new drivers via a system that allows a key fob to be linked to vehicle settings to encourage safe driving, such as turning on all available safety features and muting audio until the front-seat occupants are belted in. It also provides a report to reveal things like distance traveled, speed, and near misses.

Plus, there's the Rear Seat Reminder, a welcome feature that monitors whether the rear doors have been opened and closed within 10 minutes before the vehicle was started or once the vehicle engine is running. If so, the vehicle will give a visual reminder and audible alert to remind the driver to check the rear seat, which will prevent a child or pets from being left behind.

The Traverse has forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking available only on its top Premier and High Country trims. The lack of these important safety features on lower trim levels is a notable omission on the all-new family-oriented Traverse.

On the road, the Traverse rides smoothly and quietly with excellent visibility and is surprisingly easy to drive given its size. The powerful V-6, combined with the smooth shifting nine-speed automatic transmission delivers plenty of power with confident passing maneuvers on the road.

Overall, the new Traverse is noticeably larger inside and is more refined with updated features and technology from the first generation model it replaced. While some rivals offer a more upscale and nicer interior with advanced technology and safety features across all model lines, its roomy interior, available all-wheel drive, ample cargo space and easy driving manners match or exceed many vehicles in its class.

Vital Stats
Base Price: $53,000 (High Country)
Price as Tested: $54,990
Powertrain: 3.6-liter, 310 hp V6 and nine speed automatic transmission, all wheel drive
Fuel Economy: 17-mpg city – 25-mpg highway – 20-mpg combined
Seating: Up to 8

Where Built: Lansing, Michigan

Crash Test Results: Highest possible overall 5 star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Competes With:
Buick Enclave
Dodge Durango
Ford Explorer
Honda Pilot
Kia Sorento
Nissan Pathfinder
Toyota Highlander
Volkswagen Atlas

Fab Features
Rear seat reminder technology
Ample passenger and cargo space
Extremely comfortable and easy to drive