With seating for up to eight and copious cargo room, the 2014 Chevrolet Traverse easily accommodates a family like a big, truck-based SUV but offers a more comfortable ride and better fuel economy. This alternative to rugged SUVs like the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban isn't meant for extreme towing or off-roading, but thrives hauling soccer tots and shuffling between parking lots.
You'll Like The 2014 Chevrolet Traverse If...
If you desire a vehicle that holds up to eight passengers and offers better fuel economy and a more comfortable ride than a traditional SUV, all with a starting price under $32,000, the 2014 Traverse is a tempting choice.
You May Not Like The 2014 Chevrolet Traverse If...
If you need to haul heavy toys like boats and RVs, look to a traditional body-on-frame SUV like the Chevrolet Tahoe. The Dodge Durango, meanwhile, offers a V8 in a segment that otherwise relies on V6 engines. If the high mileage is tantamount, the Nissan Pathfinder achieves up to 26 mpg.
For 2014 the Traverse adds twin USB ports for 2nd-row passengers to keep electronic devices powered up. Forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning are added to the Traverse's roster of safety features.
The 2014 Chevy Traverse has three rows of seats and can be had in 7- or 8-passenger configuration. Lower trims are built for eight with a bench in the second row, while upper trims can seat seven with a pair of roomy captain's chairs in the second row. Interior comfort varies with trim level. Base LS models make do with cloth seating and manual-adjust front seats, while top-line LTZ models are luxury-like with perforated leather seats that are heated and cooled up front. No matter what trim you choose, the Traverse is big enough for adults to sit in the third row and still have room for groceries.
The Traverse is going on five years in its current design, but its styling is holding up well thanks to tweaks to the front and rear that came last year. Where others are blocky (Honda Pilot) and brawny (Ford Explorer), the 2014 Traverse retains its pleasing, rounded (maybe too rounded at the rear) shape. Entry-level LS models ride on 17-inch steel wheels, LT models are emboldened with 18-inch aluminum-alloy versions, and the top LTZ trim receives big 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. LTZ models are further set apart with dual exhaust outlets, body-color moldings and chrome accents. Lower trims have a manual liftgate, while more expensive trims feature a power-operated one.
Even with its formidable and growing competition, the Chevy Traverse is one of our favorite crossover SUVs to drive. Its V6 engine is smooth and strong, and easily gets the vehicle up to speed in both front-wheel-drive (FWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) form. The Traverse is larger than its competitors but doesn't feel bloated or overwhelming on the road. The view to the front and sides is commanding and the ride is comfortable. As is the case with other 3-row SUVs, rear visibility is hindered to the left and right due to the Traverse's last row of seats and small windows. When tested in a setting far from the Traverse's comfort zone – a track – this big crossover-ute felt planted during hard cornering and braking, even on slick pavement. It's not as dynamic as the sporty Mazda CX-9, however, with comfort justifiably the priority over corner-carving.
The 2014 Chevrolet Traverse LS has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $31,670. AWD adds $2,000 to the bottom line. A fully loaded Chevy Traverse LTZ can push the price to over $45,000. The 2014 Traverse’s starting price is slightly higher than competitors such as the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Santa Fe and Nissan Pathfinder, all of which are also slightly smaller. Buyers searching for the bargain haulers in this segment should check out the Kia Sorento (starting under $25,000) and Dodge Journey (around $20,000 with 7-passenger seating). Before buying, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for a 2014 Traverse. Down the road, we expect the Traverse's resale value to be in line the Ford Explorer, but not as high as the Toyota Highlander or Honda Pilot.
No matter which trim you choose, the 2014 Traverse offers quite a bit for the money beyond sheer space. Spend the least on an LS version and you'll still drive away with keyless entry, a rear-vision backup camera, AM/FM/CD/satellite audio with a 6.5-inch touch-screen display. LT trims add interior wood treatments, 18-inch wheels, a power driver's seat and leather-wrapped steering wheel, while LTZ versions bring heated/cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, leather, and Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning. For the all-important cup holders, you get 10 for 7-passenger configurations and a dozen for 8-passenger models.
Options vary across trim levels for the 2014 Traverse, but all models can be had with all-wheel drive for better traction instead of the standard front-wheel drive. Other available features are navigation with traffic data, blind-spot monitoring with a rear cross-traffic alert system (standard on LTZ trim), a power liftgate, 10-speaker Bose audio, a rear-seat DVD system, and a dual-panel sunroof. Chevrolet’s MyLink Touch telematics system combines Bluetooth audio streaming, hands-free phone communication, voice recognition, and compatibility with apps such as Pandora. GM's OnStar Directions and Connections service can be extended by subscription after six months of free coverage.
SMART SLIDE 2ND-ROW SEAT
Getting into a 3rd-row seat can be a hassle, especially for less-than-limber adults. This feature makes reaching that last row easier with a one-hand operation that creates easy access.
ADDITIONAL USB INPUTS
Here's a feature that's largely forgotten about – right until you need it. When your kid's tablet or MP3 player runs out of juice, the dual USB power inputs in back can make the difference between tears and cheers.
Under the Hood
The 2014 Chevy Traverse uses a sophisticated 3.6-liter V6 with direct-injection and variable-valve-timing technology that helps it achieve a good balance of power and fuel economy. In LS and LT trims, the engine makes 281 horsepower. LTZ models have a dual-exhaust system that bumps that figure to 288 horsepower. All models use a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode. The Traverse is rated to tow a commendable 5,200 pounds, and all can run on regular unleaded fuel.
281 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
288 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm (dual exhaust)
266 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 rpm
270 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 rpm (dual exhaust)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg (FWD), 16/23 mpg (AWD)
As fuel prices fluctuate and more people downsize, a stream of buyers are shying away from thirsty, truck-based SUVs as the family hauler of choice. This has spawned a hot market for crossover sport-utility vehicles, which have room for growing families like a traditional SUV, but offer a sedan-like ride and better fuel-efficiency. The poster child for this segment could easily be the Chevrolet Traverse. Since debuting in 2009, the Traverse has shined as an alternative to both traditional SUVs and the oft-stigmatized minivan. Since then, vehicles such as the Ford Explorer and Nissan Pathfinder have softened from their rugged ways to join the crossover-SUV party that also includes the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX-9. Though the cast grows, the Traverse more than holds its own.