2017 Chevrolet Traverse Review
Edmunds expert review
If you're looking to transport a passel of passengers or a boatload of belongings, a crossover SUV such as the 2017 Chevrolet Traverse could work out well. Much of the Traverse's appeal comes from its spacious interior, with seating for up to eight passengers in three rows of seats. Fold those second- and third-row seats down, and you have a humongous cargo hold rivaled only by the Chevy's mechanical twin, the Buick Enclave.
Although its Buick relative is a bit more upscale, the Traverse is far from being a poor second cousin. In fact, in upper trim levels, the Traverse can hold its own in terms of both aesthetics and content, with attractive finishes and many of the same high-end features. Other advantages to buying a Traverse include a comfortable ride and top scores in government and insurance industry crash tests. And though this big crossover's size and wide turning circle can make it a handful in situations like parking garages where space is at a premium, it's still much less cumbersome to drive than a full-size SUV such as Chevrolet's own Suburban.
As for 2017 model-year alternatives, the Honda Pilot is coming off an extensive redesign last year that included fresh new styling and a slightly larger third-row seat. The Ford Explorer isn't as roomy as the Traverse, but it does offer engine options that are more powerful or more fuel-efficient. Other recommended models include the redesigned GMC Acadia (it's smaller this year), the well-equipped Hyundai Santa Fe and the perennially popular Toyota Highlander. All are great choices, but the 2017 Chevrolet Traverse holds its own, particularly if abundant space is a priority for you.
Standard safety features on all 2017 Chevy Traverse models include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags, and a rearview camera. OnStar is also standard and includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle assistance and turn-by-turn navigation.
A center airbag between the front seats, which is designed to protect occupants from colliding with one another in the event of a side impact, is an option on the 1LS trim level and standard on the LT and Premier. Rear parking sensors are standard on the LT and Premier. A blind-spot and rear cross-traffic monitoring system is also standard on the Premier, as are forward collision alert and lane departure warning. The latter two are available as options on 2LT models.
In Edmunds brake testing, an all-wheel-drive Premier required 119 feet to stop from 60 mph, a better-than-average result for a large three-row crossover SUV.
In government crash tests, the Traverse earned a top five-star (out of five) rating for overall performance, with five stars for total front-impact protection and five stars for total side-impact protection. The Traverse also fared well in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, in which it received the highest rating of Good in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. The Traverse's seat/head restraint design was also rated Good for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
What's new for 2017
Trim levels & features
The 2017 Chevrolet Traverse is a crossover SUV with seating for seven or eight passengers, depending on the second-row seating configuration. There are essentially three main trim levels: LS, LT and Premier. However, the LS is further divided into Base (1SM) and LS, and the LT is subdivided into 1LT and 2LT variants.
Standard features on the entry-level LS Base (1SM) include 17-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, roof rails, a rear spoiler, front and rear air-conditioning, 60/40-split folding second- and third-row seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, Bluetooth phone connectivity, the OnStar telematics system (with 4G LTE and Wi-Fi hot spot), a rearview camera, a 6.5-inch touchscreen display and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio input jack, a USB audio interface and two additional USB charge-only ports. The Base LS model is offered only with front-wheel drive.
The LS (1LS) model adds satellite radio. All-wheel drive and other extra-cost options not offered on the 1SM are available on the 1LS.
Stepping up to the 1LT trim adds 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated mirrors, rear parking sensors, remote start, an occupant-protection airbag mounted between the front seats, an eight-way power driver seat (with two-way power lumbar) and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The Traverse 2LT includes all of the above, plus an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power liftgate, tri-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, second-row captain's chairs (the second-row bench seat is still available as an option), and rear-seat audio controls and headphone jacks. You also get the MyLink infotainment interface, which includes Bluetooth audio connectivity, voice controls, internet radio app integration and a 10-speaker Bose audio system. A Graphite Edition package equips the 2LT with 20-inch wheels, special exterior trim and a navigation system.
The top-of-the-line Premier model comes with 20-inch alloy wheels, power-folding mirrors, a blind-spot monitoring system, a rear cross-traffic alert system, forward collision warning and lane departure alert. Inside, the Premier boasts leather upholstery, driver memory settings, an eight-way power front passenger seat, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel and a navigation system. The second-row captain's chairs are mandatory.
Some of the upper trim levels' standard features are available as options on lesser models. Also available, depending on trim level, are a panoramic sunroof, a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system, a rear-seat entertainment system (including a household-style electrical outlet) and a towing package.
The 2017 Chevrolet Traverse features a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 281 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque in the LS and LT trim levels. The Premier model's dual exhaust outlets bump output up to 288 hp and 270 lb-ft. A six-speed automatic is the only available transmission, but buyers have a choice of standard front-wheel or optional all-wheel drive in all but the Base LS model (which is front-wheel-drive only).
In Edmunds testing, an all-wheel-drive Premier sprinted to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds, which is a bit slow for a large crossover. EPA fuel economy estimates are 18 mpg combined (15 city/22 highway) with front-wheel drive and 17 mpg combined (15 city/22 highway) with all-wheel drive. These are average fuel economy numbers for a large, V6-powered crossover.
Properly equipped, the 2017 Traverse can tow 5,200 pounds, a higher-than-average figure for this class.
From behind the wheel, the 2017 Chevrolet Traverse's 3.6-liter V6 engine provides perfectly acceptable performance around town. But in situations in which strong acceleration is required, such as passing slower vehicles on a stretch of a winding back road, it can seem a little weak-kneed. This tendency is amplified by the six-speed automatic transmission. It shifts smoothly, but it can take its time in situations that require a downshift to generate a quick burst of speed.
In terms of road manners, the Traverse tackles the open highway with aplomb. The suspension delivers an exceptionally comfortable ride quality, and the body structure and sound-deadening materials keep wind and road noise at bay. Handling is confident but not particularly sporty. You should also keep in mind that this is a large vehicle with a 40-foot turning circle, and it's not going to be as maneuverable in tight quarters as some of its slightly smaller crossover competitors.
When it comes to interior room, the 2017 Chevrolet Traverse handily bests most of its competitors. Front seat occupants are afforded abundant head- and legroom. Second-row passengers enjoy comfortable accommodations, though the low height of the bottom cushion might make taller passengers wish for a little more legroom, a fault that can easily be remedied by sliding those seats rearward. Not surprisingly, doing so eats into legroom for denizens of the third row.
On the upside, the third-row bench is actually capable of holding larger kids and even smaller adults with those second-row seats scooted forward. Getting back there is made easier by large rear doors, though the release to slide the second-row seats forward can be difficult to access. Buyers intending to make frequent use of the Traverse's way-back seats might want to measure it against the third row of the redesigned Honda Pilot for comparison.
Elsewhere, the Chevy Traverse's cabin gets generally high marks thanks to a handsome design and good quality materials. The overall look ranges from likable enough to downright deluxe on the top-of-the-line Premier model. As in many seven- and eight-passenger vehicles, the view out the back suffers with all the seats occupied, a fact that makes the standard rearview camera a welcome feature.
The dash's central element is the 6.5-inch touchscreen that displays the image from the rearview camera and hosts the controls for Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system. The system's operation is relatively intuitive, but the low mounting position that requires the driver to look away from the road and the system's occasional slow response to touch inputs earn it a demerit in our view. Another downside are the touch-sensitive buttons surrounding the display, which might look cool but don't work as well as more traditional versions.
The interior's most prominent strong point is its abundant storage space. Even with the third-row seats up, it can swallow more luggage than many rivals. With the second and third-row seats folded down, its cavernous cargo hold can haul more than anything in its class, save for its Buick sibling.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.