2014 Chevrolet Traverse LTZ AWD (3.6L V6 AWD 6-speed Automatic)
Driven On 11/19/2013
The Chevrolet Traverse, especially in the high-content LTZ trim, is one of a handful of minivan alternatives in a three-row SUV wrapper that actually succeeds in its mission. It offers excellent comfort, remarkable room, good value and a pleasant driving experience.
PerformancePerformance is the only category where the Traverse feels a little lacking. Not surprisingly, its sheer mass (it weighs 4,980 pounds) means acceleration suffers due to its merely adequate power supply. Otherwise, it handles, steers and stops well.
It takes some initial coaxing to get the big Traverse going, but it accelerates well once moving. And the 288-hp 3.6-liter V6 is always smooth. GM does engines well.
Light-effort pedal and intuitive response make driving (and stopping) the Traverse a breeze. In testing, the Traverse needed only 119 ft to stop from 60 mph. That's above average for a big SUV.
Good response and precision. The thin-rimmed steering wheel (heated in this top-trim LTZ) and light effort suit the Traverse's scale and purpose well. Predictable and easy.
Handling is confident and capable because the Traverse offers more grip and stability than one would expect of a 3-row SUV. Some cornering lean, but that's to be expected.
Sometimes the engine and transmission seem out of step as they try to supply a proper compromise between performance and efficiency. The Traverse is happiest in steady-state cruising.
Properly equipped, the Traverse can tow up to 5,200 pounds. A useful amount, but remember that's with an empty cabin.
At just 7.2 inches of ground clearance, even the AWD versions are better suited to light-duty off-roading. No low-range gears.
ComfortWith comfortable and highly adjustable seating plus an isolated and quiet ride, the Traverse LTZ offers better-than-average comfort, especially for its class.
Front seats adjust to fit most anyone. Second row (captain's chairs in LTZ) offers wide adjustability. Third row bench is bigger than most, but still best suited for kids and small adults.
Generally very smooth, the Traverse is adept at filtering out road textures and small bumps without becoming bouncy. Notably firmer than the otherwise mechanically similar Buick Enclave.
Compared to others in its class, the Traverse ranks well with very good road and wind isolation. Easy to carry on a conversation, even from the third row.
InteriorThe interior is a strong suit for the Traverse with its easy access, generous proportions and feature-rich offerings. Only a couple ergonomic missteps keep it from benchmark status.
"Virtual" touchscreen buttons are tricky to use, there are some small climate control buttons and no keyless ignition/entry. The rear hatch opens to more than 6 feet high.
LTZ's 2nd row captain's chairs can be reluctant to spring out of the way for 3rd row access, but once they're cleared, the seats are easy to access. The Traverse's ride height makes step-in a little high.
With only the largest of the large SUVs offering more room, the Traverse is a standout in its class. Generous head, leg, shoulder and hip room. It's huge.
Big size and compromised rear quarter view can make manuevering difficult, but available standard reverse camera, a blind-spot monitoring system and other available aides are a big help.
Very few 3-row SUVs offer this much room, especially when all seats are used. With all seats up, there's 24.4 cubic feet of cargo space. Maximum capacity is a whopping 116.3 cubic feet.
ValueWith the exception of sub-optimal fuel economy, the Traverse represents a good value in the large, 3-row SUV segment. To find as many features or as much room, you'd have to jump up to the $50K entry-level luxury class or higher.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Chevy has improved the look/feel/quality of the interior materials (especially in our LTZ tester) to meet or exceed those of direct competitors.
Our LTZ tester had nearly every feature available and the price tag reflected this. However, many of these features are unavailable on the competition's offerings.
The Traverse has a large price range. Base LS starts at $31,670 while our loaded LTZ AWD starts at $44,700 and goes to $47,840 with options.
We fell short of the EPA's 19-mpg Combined (16 City/23 Highway) estimate with our 16-mpg average.
The Traverse offers a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, and a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
The Traverse is offered with a 2-year/24,000-mile free scheduled-maintenance program, as well as roadside assistance for 5 years/100,000 miles.
Fun To Drive"Pleasant-to-Drive" would be a better description of the Traverse, but it scores well here because of its easy-going driving experience and family-friendly personality.
The Traverse drives smaller than its size. Smooth and quiet on the highway, too. You'll only realize how big it truly is when trying to make a U-turn or squeeze into a parking stall.
If you need a large yet ultra-comfortable people mover, put this Traverse on your list. It's accommodating, family-friendly and feature-packed.