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2024 Chevy Traverse First Drive: Big Improvements Everywhere Except the Interior

New turbo four-cylinder does not disappoint

2024 Chevy Traverse Z71
  • The redesigned Traverse isn't hurting for power with new turbo-four.
  • Extra-roomy interior features a larger 17.7-inch infotainment screen.
  • It offers available Super Cruise driver assist technology.

The redesigned 2024 Chevrolet Traverse might technically be a midsize SUV, but it's one of the most spacious out there with three rows of usable seating and generous cargo space. If you have plenty of young ones to haul around but don't want to commit to the truck-based Chevy Tahoe, the Traverse is your best bet.

The 2024 Traverse lineup deviates slightly from last year's. The LS is the budget-friendly model, followed by the LT, the off-road-oriented Z71 and the sport-infused RS. The Traverse goes up against some heavy hitters, including the Hyundai Palisade, Mazda CX-90 and the Edmunds Top Rated favorite, the updated Kia Telluride. These three offer excellent styling and technology, something Chevrolet has struggled with in the past. The new Traverse tackles that issue head-on and hopes to be even more competitive because of it.

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2024 Chevy Traverse RS and Z71

Hello, four-cylinder

Folks expecting big displacement under the hood should look elsewhere. Gone is the 3.6-liter V6 from last year, replaced by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. However, the addition of a turbocharger means it puts out more power than the old V6 — a stout 328 horsepower and 326 lb-ft of torque. The only bummer here is that there is no other powerplant option up top. We'd love to see a hybrid option, a growing desire for many shoppers in this segment.

The Traverse is offered standard with front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is also available. Regardless of drivetrain, power gets to the pavement through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The Z71 gets an upgraded twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system for better traction off-road, as well as a 1.2-inch lift, all-terrain tires, an improved approach angle, uniquely tuned shocks and a Terrain driving mode. Meanwhile, the RS gets a sport-tuned suspension, 22-inch wheels and a three-spoke flat-bottom steering wheel. 

2024 Chevrolet Traverse Z71 profile

Behind the wheel

While not everyone will be thrilled that the Traverse is now down to four cylinders, rest assured that this powertrain is up to the task of moving the big SUV. This turbocharged engine has enough grunt to get the job done. However, it can get unpleasantly noisy when you go full throttle, and you'll hear it even more because the rest of the Traverse is so quiet. Then again, the outgoing V6 wasn’t exactly an auditory masterpiece either.

From the driver’s seat, the Traverse feels very much like a big three-row SUV. The Mazda CX-90 and Kia Telluride, by contrast, pull off the illusion of driving like smaller SUVs than they actually are. If that’s what you’re after then the Chevy probably isn’t right for you. The steering feel is extremely light and the Traverse requires a good amount of input to turn.

In terms of the ride, it's pretty comfy. The Traverse ably smooths out bumps and potholes. Even the RS trim, which has a sport-tuned suspension and big 22-inch wheels, is still a pleasant vehicle on the road.

2024 Chevrolet Traverse Z71 front interior

Lots of space but a few quibbles

Lots of space is the Traverse's calling card. Its second row can be configured with a bench seat or captain's chairs, and there is room for three adults in the third row. The captain's chairs' one-touch power seats slide forward quickly for easy access to the last row, even when a child seat is installed in the second row. If you want a power-folding third row or heated rear seats, you need to step up to the RS trim.

We’re not thrilled with the material choices in the new Traverse. Nothing feels cheap or flimsy, but the SUV is filled with black plastic. That’s only broken up by the bright red trim on the dash and door panels, which isn’t the most pleasing to look at. We also worry about the plastic-covered center console and its ability to attract fingerprints if you have kids. For the lower-priced trim levels, the interior materials feel appropriate; but for the nearly $60,000 RS, things should look nicer than they do.

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All the tech on offer, including Super Cruise

Front passengers are treated to a big 17.7-inch infotainment display and an 11-inch digital gauge cluster, bringing the Traverse fully into the 21st century. The Traverse also gets a standard suite of driver aids that includes automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning and lane keeping assistance. There's also a new standard feature called Buckle to Drive, and it requires front-seat passengers to be strapped in before driving. Every Traverse also comes with blind-spot warning, adaptive cruise control, and rear cross-traffic warning and braking.

The coolest available tech to hit the Traverse is Super Cruise. This hands-free driving assist function works on most pre-mapped highways and takes care of the braking, steering and acceleration of the vehicle. Super Cruise is one of the best in the auto industry. It turns on and off with clear indications to the driver as it’s happening and now tackles gentle curves in the road better than it has in the past. However, drivers must pay attention at all times. Super Cruise is not a fully automated driving system, and you'll need to retake control in situations where a collision might be imminent.

2024 Chevrolet Traverse Z71 rear with open hatch

Room, room and more room

The Traverse is one of the most capable SUVs in the three-row crossover class, starting with its 97.6 cubic feet of maximum storage with the two back rows folded. After seeing it in person, we can attest to the claims of the Traverse's commodious caboose. Passenger storage is similarly generous. There's plenty of room for smaller objects up front with a pass-through center console, a large cubby in front of the cupholders, and a deep center console.

When configured properly, the Traverse can tow up to 5,000 pounds, which is typical for this class of vehicle but a fair bit behind the king of this class, the Dodge Durango (8,700 pounds).

Edmunds says

The Chevrolet Traverse has long been a solid pick for shoppers wanting a spacious crossover SUV for both gear and people. Now that it's taken a huge step forward with the modern technology that many buyers desire. The top-trim RS doesn't offer enough to justify its high price tag, but the LS and LT provide great bang for the buck.