The 2017 Chevrolet Traverse has aged gracefully; it's still one of GM's best minivan replacements.
Now in its ninth model year, the Chevrolet Traverse remains one of the most spacious, passenger-friendly vehicles on the market. It's a great alternative for any family that has specific reasons to avoid minivans—and doesn't care for the bigger, bulkier feel of a traditional truck-based SUV.
We rate it at 6.5 out of 10, with good scores in comfort and features overriding average scores in all other categories. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The Traverse wears some universal Chevy styling cues, but it's the tallest, biggest wagon in the lineup. The design has seen very little change since its original introduction in 2009. Although the face is attractive and familiar, we're more found of the Camaro-influenced taillights, which break through a factory-farm of same-as crossover designs. Inside, the Traverse is nothing exciting, but it's very functional, and it is highlighted by wood and silver accents, some contrast stitching, and ambient lighting, as well as a fair share of soft-touch materials.
The Traverse may be nearly as big as a Tahoe, but it's more user-friendly and drives better, thanks to its car-like platform. It's not agile, but its handling is controlled, and the ride is smooth. At about 5,000 pounds, its 3.6-liter V-6 works every one of its 288 hp to give the Traverse decent acceleration. With the standard 6-speed automatic, the drivetrain duo works hard up highway grades and from standing starts. You can get either front- or all-wheel-drive, but AWD versions are a little more sluggish, though they can tow up to 5,200 pounds.
The Traverse's primary mission is people-moving, so GM has made the most of the seating space. Over three rows, there's space for up to eight occupants, with the seats divided into two front buckets and two 60/40-split benches. Bench or captain's chair arrangements are offered in the second row; we'd opt for the bench as the individual seats aren't much more comfortable.
There are a few weakness of the Traverse compared to minivans. First, the doors open wider than sliding side doors. Second, its cargo floor is a bit high and not as easy-loading. And third, even though it has 116.3 cubic feet of space with the second- and third-row seats folded down, that's about 30 cubic feet less than a minivan.
Safety is an important consideration for families, and the Traverse has scored well on the crash tests that have been performed—which is to say, not the newer, tougher ones. Standard safety features include parking sensors and a rearview camera. Premier models add blind-spot monitors, forward-collision warnings and lane-departure warnings.
Changes for the 2017 model year include a new Graphite trim package; the LTZ model has become the Premier.
Three trim levels of the 2016 Traverse are offered: LS, LT, and Premier. Premier models are really luxury models if you go by features, while LS trims are no-fuss (albeit well-equipped) family vehicles. All Traverse models get the Chevrolet MyLink system, which includes a 6.5-inch touchscreen, enabling smartphone integration as well as streaming of Pandora and Stitcher internet-based radio via a 4G LTE data subscription and an in-car wi-fi hotspot.
The Traverse carries ratings by the EPA of 15 mpg city, 22 highway, 18 combined with front-wheel drive, or 15/22/17 mpg with all-wheel drive. Those ratings land it dead center among three-row vehicles.