Chevy Traverse High Country — Moving on up photo

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(May 24, 2020) The large three-row Chevrolet Traverse crossover SUV shed its minivan persona with the introduction of the second-generation in 2018, and now in the third year of the second iteration the 2020 Traverse continues with one of the roomiest third-row seats in the industry together with a segment-leading 23 cubic feet of luggage space behind the three rows. At the same time, it's capable of towing 5,000 pounds and carrying 98.5 cubic feet of cargo with all seats folded — four more cubic feet than the truck-based Chevy Tahoe.

The optional turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 257 horsepower has been dropped from the lineup making the 3.6-liter V-6 paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission the only powertrain. For 2020, the Traverse also gets upgraded navigation and infotainment systems and more option packages such as an industry-first Buckle to Drive feature for families with teen drivers and a trailer assist guidance and hitch view.

We see the Traverse as one of the most viable family vehicles with price and feature content to suit most budgets. It starts at a well-equipped $30,995 including destination charge. And for the buyer who wants more of the good stuff, the Traverse can accommodate with the High Country trim level starting at $54,395. While this price seems a bit "high country," consider most of the available upgrades and virtually all available options as well as all-wheel drive are standard equipment. The only option we saw was for Cajun Red Tintcoat paint for $395.

We were captivated after a week behind the wheel of a High Country and were amazed by the way a few styling tweaks transformed the crossover. The lower body moldings are body colored, there's more chrome trim, and stylish 20-inch polished wheels are standard. Our test vehicle also came with a new and very attractive Black Cherry metallic paint at no extra cost.

Appealing interior materials and color combinations — Jet Black and Loft Brown perforated leather seat trim — turned the Traverse into a near-luxury vehicle. You might consider the High Country as Chevrolet's version of the GMC Denali. Chevy says the High Country is designed to compete with such luxury nameplates as the Volvo XC90, Acura MDX and Audi Q7.  Such features as heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, heated steering wheel, power-folding third-row seats, and power liftgate are just some of the features found in the High Country.

The front seats proved comfortable for long stints. Our rear-seat passengers said they were pleased with the legroom available and the captain's chairs that can be moved fore and aft as well as recline. We were happy with the available driving aids such as a backup camera with cross-traffic alert and surround vision, blindspot monitoring, lane change alert, and adaptive cruise control. Our test vehicle also came with a novel camera-based rearview mirror, which, when switched to a display screen provides a wide-angle view behind the vehicle. Although we couldn't get used to it on a regular basis, it is handy when tall cargo obstructs the view out the back.

The interior is functional with a large number of interior storage spaces — something always welcome in a minivan or crossover — grace the vehicle including a neat compartment hidden behind the infotainment screen. It motors up to reveal ample space for smartphones, small cameras, sunglasses, wallets and other traveling necessities. Chevrolet's infotainment interface is easy to use while driving thanks to large, color-coded icons that are easily identified at a glance.

One sour note — we were put off by the large amount of hard plastic (although well done) used in the interior including the upper dash that you won't find in crossovers by Acura, Lexus, Volvo and Audi

The 24-valve direct-injected V-6 engine makes 310 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 266 pound-feet of torque at 2,800 rpm. The 6-cylinders quickly — and quietly — hauled us to whatever speed we needed — with nearly impeccable shifts from the 9-speed. And if you are in a playful mood, there is a manual shift mode available. For comparison purposes, the Traverse has been measured from 0-to-60 in 6.2 seconds, and 95 mph in the quarter mile at 14.9 seconds. Fuel economy on regular gas is rated at 17 mpg city, 25 highway and 20 overall on regular gas.

The Traverse comes in seven trim levels — L, LS, LT Cloth, LT Leather, RS, Premier and High Country. We think one of the LT packages starting at $36,595 (Cloth) and $40,295 (Leather) will fit the wants and needs of most families. Add $2,000 for AWD in any trim level below High Country. But we couldn't help admiring the look and feel and the high content level of the High Country. Its upscale persona would upgrade any driveway in suburban America.

2020 Chevrolet Traverse High Country


Base price: $30,995; as driven, $54,395
Engine: 3.6-liter V-6
Horsepower: 310 @ 6,800 rpm
Torque: 266 pound-feet @ 2,800 rpm
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
Drive: all-wheel
Seating: 2/2/3
Wheelbase: 120.9 inches
Length: 204.3 inches
Curb weight: 4,362 pounds
Turning circle 39 feet
Towing capacity: 5,000 pounds
Luggage capacity: 23 cubic feet
Cargo capacity: 98.2 cubic feet
Fuel capacity: 19.4 gallons (regular)
EPA rating: 17 city, 25 highway, 20 combined
0-60: 6.2 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider: Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander

The Good
• Excellent passenger space
• Energetic V-6 engine
• Generous standard features

The Bad
• Too much plastic in High Country trim

The Ugly
• Some safety features omitted from lower trims