2011 Chevrolet Traverse SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Chevrolet Traverse SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Chevrolet Traverse Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.6 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 288 hp @ 6300 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse

  • With its stylish good looks, spacious cabin, carlike ride and handling, plus decent fuel economy, the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse has much to offer SUV owners looking to downsize.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Compliant ride; seating for up to eight passengers; adult-friendly, split-folding third-row seat; massive cargo area; top safety scores.

  • Cons

    Compromised outward visibility; large size hampers maneuverability; a few subpar interior materials.

  • What's New for 2011

    Aside from the audio system's relocated USB input and the addition of heated cloth seats to the options list for LT models, the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse remains largely unchanged.

Full 2011 Chevrolet Traverse Review

What's New for 2011

Aside from the audio system's relocated USB input and the addition of heated cloth seats to the options list for LT models, the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse remains largely unchanged.


Over the past couple of years, a lot of people have come to the realization that even though they like the practicality that a traditional SUV provides, they're not particularly fond of how unwieldy these lumbering, truck-based behemoths can be. If you're one of these people, we'd encourage you to check out the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse.

As a large crossover, the Traverse combines the people- and cargo-schlepping strengths of an SUV with the carlike ride and handling of a minivan. Granted, by choosing a crossover, you'll be giving up the heavy-duty towing capacity of those old-school sport-utes and the ultimate practicality of a minivan. Still, at the end of the day, the benefits offered by crossovers like the Traverse make them smart choices for many drivers.

While the Traverse is the least expensive of GM's three large crossovers built on the same underpinnings (the other two are the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia), it's appealing in ways that go beyond the bottom line. Families will appreciate the roomy interior that offers comfortable seating for up to eight passengers; they'll also likely warm to the surprising number of upscale features found on the upper trim levels. Relatively decent fuel economy and high marks in government and insurance industry crash tests are also part of the deal.

The Traverse does have its faults, including less-than-optimal visibility and a third-row seat that's not quite as comfortable as the one in the 2011 Ford Flex. It's also no match for the 2011 Mazda CX-9 crossover in the handling department, nor does it offer as many advanced electronics as the new 2011 Ford Explorer. Just the same, folks in the market for a vehicle that offers the everyday usefulness of a traditional SUV or minivan without the associated downsides would do well to put the Traverse on their test-drive lists.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Chevrolet Traverse is a large crossover SUV available in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels. Standard equipment on the LS includes 17-inch steel wheels, eight-passenger seating, split-folding second- and third-row bench seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, air-conditioning, full power accessories, OnStar and a six-speaker CD/MP3 player with an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio.

The midrange LT trim level is actually comprised of a choice of two sub-trims: the well-equipped 1LT and the more upscale 2LT. The 1LT package offers 18-inch alloy wheels, heated sideview mirrors, an eight-way power driver seat, a trip computer, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and rear parking sensors. Select the 2LT package and you'll get all that plus tri-zone automatic climate control, a 10-speaker Bose system (with USB port), rear audio system controls, seven-passenger seating (featuring second-row captain's chairs), a power liftgate and a rearview camera integrated into the rearview mirror.

The Traverse LTZ ups the luxury ante with 20-inch wheels, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated power front seats (with driver memory settings), Bluetooth connectivity and remote ignition. Many of the standard features on upper trim levels can be added to the lower ones via option packages. Other highlights from the add-ons list include a trailer-towing package, a navigation system (with real-time traffic, a rearview camera and a USB port), dual sunroofs and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system (with USB port).

Powertrains and Performance

There is only one engine/transmission combination available for the Chevrolet Traverse -- a 3.6-liter V6 mated to a six-speed automatic with manual shift control.

In the LS and LT trims, the V6 produces 281 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. In the more upmarket LTZ, output jumps to 288 hp and 270 lb-ft thanks to a dual-outlet exhaust. In our performance testing, a Traverse LT2 posted a sufficiently quick 0-60-mph time of 8.6 seconds.

EPA fuel economy estimates for the front-wheel-drive Traverse are 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined. All-wheel-drive Traverse models are very close at 16/23/19 mpg. Properly equipped, the Traverse can tow up to 5,200 pounds.


Antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags for all three rows are all standard on the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse, as is one year of GM's OnStar service, including turn-by-turn navigation and hands-free phone connectivity. In Edmunds brake testing, its Acadia twin came to a stop in 135 feet -- the Flex and CX-9 perform better.

In the government's new, more strenuous crash testing for 2011, the Traverse earned a top five-star rating for overall performance, with four out of five stars being given for front-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. The Traverse also aced the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, where it got the highest rating of "Good" in both the frontal-offset and side-impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

While the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse has a number of good qualities, its interior is the real selling point. The design is attractive, with an eye-catching two-tone color scheme, brushed aluminum and chrome trim and simple, easy-to-read gauges. There are a few low-quality plastics used in spots, and the audio and climate controls use too many small and similar-looking buttons, but overall, the Traverse's passenger cabin gets good marks for both style and function.

Depending on which trim level you choose, the interior offers seating for either seven passengers with the second-row captain's chairs or eight with the 60/40-split-folding second-row bench seat. Either way, first- and second-row passengers enjoy comfortable accommodations. The third row is much more adult-friendly than the ones you'll find in most traditional SUVs, though the Ford Flex still bests the Chevy in this regard.

There's also plenty of room for stuff, including 24.4 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third-row seat. Fold both the second and third rows down and you get a nice flat load floor with room for 116.4 cubic feet of cargo.

Driving Impressions

While the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse rides more smoothly and handles better than most traditional SUVs, it won't exactly make you forget you're driving a plus-size vehicle.

Buyers looking at the top-of-the-line LTZ version should also bear in mind that its larger 20-inch wheels have a somewhat adverse effect on ride quality. The 3.6-liter V6 under the hood delivers wiling performance in a wide range of driving situations.

Read our Chevy Traverse Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Good for the family of

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Vehicle: 2011 Chevrolet Traverse LT1 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I have had mine since June, I bought it used with 33k miles on it. Its been amazing, we replaced our Chevy Equinox for the 3rd row and I have to say that I am really happy with it. No problems other than the dealer not fixing the breaks before the car was given to me like they said but I got it from AutoNation so I just took it to another dealer and they did it for free... I think they could have added a few more perks for the car, made the cup holders about an inch back from the AC plug and maybe put a few extra ones in the 2nd and third row but overall its a great car!!!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Cheaply assembled, money pit.

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Vehicle: 2011 Chevrolet Traverse LT1 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

Bought in July of 2010. We're at 50K miles now. Problems we've had that aren't normal wear-and-tear include: Interior and exterior parts snapping out of place too easily. "Service Stabilitrak" malfunction. Car stalls and reduces engine power unexpectly, Has happened numerous times even after being serviced. Very frustating issue. Cracked engine mount. Bearing failure with the steering column. AC non-funcitioning two springs in a row. Gas mileage has been unwhelming, that's was expected as we do mostly city driving. Car is decent when things are working, but overall, it's just bee a money pit with too many headaches for what was a brand new car when we purchased.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2011 traverse

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Vehicle: 2011 Chevrolet Traverse LS 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I have had for 8 months and put 20K miles in it. When I drive out of town for trips sometimes I have problems with the stability track light going off and it will say engine power reduced. I have to pull over and let it sit for awhile then I can drive again, but it continues to come back on, I have to pull over numerous times. Have had it looked at, which it was not under warranty for this problem, computer was reset. And yes it keeps happening. Also, second row seating is not comfortable for adults. I am a previous owner of a Dodge Durango and never had any problems. I am currently looking for a Dodge. Good luck with the Traverse. I will never own one again!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Traverse........what a piece of

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Vehicle: 2011 Chevrolet Traverse LT2 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

If you are looking for a good dependable vehicle, don't think about a Traverse. Bought a brand new off the lot 2011 Traverse in the fall of 2010. Right of the beginning there were problems. The on-star had a broken wire that had to go back to the dealer. Then, two different computers went out in the first 20K, then at 30K the transfer case went out. Now it is out of warranty and the front wheel bearing has gone out, and the radio buttons are going bad. Gas mileage? Don't even think you are going to get close to what they advertise. We average right at 17mpg, with lots of hwy driving. Just about to 60K miles, and we are due to replace the second set of tires. don't buy!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Just ok

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Vehicle: 2011 Chevrolet Traverse LT2 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

Very disappointed with the MPG. We get 17 MPG combined. Quality is very good. Utility is not as good as our minivan was.

Do not like my new

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Vehicle: 2011 Chevrolet Traverse LS 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I have had 3 GM mini vans before this vehicle and loved each of them. I wanted to buy another mini van, but GM stopped makeing them. I reluctantly bought this vehicle as it has only a few inches shorter wheelbase. I do not like the look of the exterior, the console takes up a lot of space--no longer can the passenger get up and move to the back while traveling. I find the seat design very uncomfortable and my back is in pain constantly and it rides a lot rougher than my mini vans did. The interior is smaller, etc. I do not like the large wheels and I get lousy gas mileage (19 mpg Hwy). My mini vans would get up to 26 mpg. Wish I hadn't bought it! It is peppy on the highway.

Talk About The 2011 Traverse

2011 Chevrolet Traverse Discussions See all Started By

In February, i purchased a Certified Pre-Owned 2011 Traverse from a local dealership. i think i got a pretty good price on it. the vehicle was all checked out before we got it, and after we picked i...

2010 Chevrolet Traverse Long Term Road Test Read daily updates on our long-term road test of the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse and follow along as our editors live with this car for a year....

Has anyone experienced your 2011 Traverse having a sudden loss of power and loss of acceleration followed by error messages for both the traction control and stabilitrak systems?? This is the 4th tri...

Read more about the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse

Gas Mileage


  • 16
  • cty
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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