2010 Chevrolet Traverse Review

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Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
November 5, 2009

Strong, sturdy, and spacious, yet carlike in some ways, the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse offers a very appealing compromise.

Armed with both firsthand driving experience and highlights from some of the best review sources on the Web, TheCarConnection.com provides a clear opinion on the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse, why you should or shouldn't consider it, and how it matches up against other utility vehicles.

To fill the void left by the departure of the long-running Chevrolet TrailBlazer SUV, GM introduced the Chevrolet Traverse crossover late last year. The 2010 Chevrolet Traverse is also related to the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, and it’s one of the more fuel-efficient vehicles in its class, thanks to its direct-injection 3.6-liter V-6 engine.

The Traverse's styling may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s hardly what you would call offensive. The 2010 Chevrolet Traverse lacks the chunky, truck-inspired lines of the GMC Acadia or the flow of the Buick Enclave, but its simple design has an air of minimalistic elegance that we find charming. Inside, the low-key theme continues, but in a sea of overwrought luxury interiors, it's refreshing.

For those drivers looking to downsize their full-size truck or SUV for something nearly as capable and roomy, the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse proves to be a worthy contender. It provides much of what they need in a considerably more fuel-efficient package. Power comes from a direct-injection 3.6-liter V-6 engine—the same unit found in the Cadillac CTS and STS. Peak output is rated at 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque for models equipped with a dual exhaust, or 281 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque for models with a single exhaust. With 90 percent of peak torque available from approximately 2,500 rpm to more than 6,000 rpm, there's enough punch to adequately move the Chevy's not inconsequential weight of up to 4,925 pounds. Compared to the most powerful of GM's full-size trucks and utilities, the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse accelerates at a leisurely pace, but never feels really slow or anemic. Where it shines is fuel economy, achieving 17/24 mpg (front-wheel drive) and 16/23 (all-wheel drive) while doing much of what a full-size SUV can do. This is helped by the vehicle’s brilliant six-speed automatic transmission, which shifts gears very smoothly.

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All models get four-wheel independent suspension and StabiliTrak stability control, as well as wheel sizes measuring 17, 18, and 20 inches. Handling is surprisingly sharp for a vehicle of this size and weight, especially when equipped with the range-topping LTZ’s optional 20-inch wheel and suspension package. Chevrolet’s engineers manage to hit a sweet spot between secure handling and comfort. Steering response is quick, and body roll is present but not excessive. Furthermore, the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse handles bumps and other road imperfections with aplomb, coming close to matching some luxury passenger cars.

Build quality and switchgear in the 2010 Traverse is superb and equal to or better than most rival imports. Gauges are easy to see, and controls are easy to use. Splashes of chrome brighten things up. There’s space for eight occupants, with the seats divided into two front buckets and two 60/40-split benches. TheCarConnection.com likes the easy-to-use second-row seats that slide forward to provide access to the surprisingly comfortable third-row seats. However, it does take a high step up to enter that back row. Second-row captain’s chairs are also available, but carrying capacity is then reduced to seven.

The 2010 Chevrolet Traverse is also one of the safest vehicles in its class, scoring full marks in federal government testing. Additionally, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety names the 2010 model a Top Safety Pick for its good performance in front, side, and rear tests and standard electronic stability control. On top of that, this Chevy boasts lots of standard safety features, including front airbags, side airbags for the front seat, and side curtain airbags that help protect all three rows of seats. TheCarConnection.com advises opting for the rearview monitor, which makes those pesky reverse parking maneuvers a breeze.

The 2010 Chevrolet Traverse is available in three levels of trim, LS, LT, and LTZ, as well as either front- or all-wheel-drive configurations. The 2010 Chevrolet Traverse offers all the bells and whistles that seem necessary to sell a vehicle today. For 2010, a USB port is now included with the premium radio option, as well as OnStar 8.2. Some of the vehicle’s options include a rearview camera, a power liftgate, a DVD player, XM Satellite Radio, and heated and cooled front seats. Up-spec models can also be fitted with a rear spoiler, 20-inch aluminum wheels, a dual-exhaust system, perforated leather, and a panoramic sunroof.


2010 Chevrolet Traverse


The 2010 Chevrolet Traverse’s strong suit is its practicality, not its style.

In a word, the styling of the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse is mainstream. It appears as though GM wanted to target the most people possible when designing the exterior.

The exterior of the 2010 Traverse Chevrolet is virtually identical among all three trim levels, which reviews read by TheCarConnection.com list as base LS, mid-range LT, and top-of-the-line LTZ. The only major difference between the three levels of the Traverse is the wheels.

Autoblog reviewers report that "the Traverse is available with 17-, 18- and 20-inch wheel/tire combinations," which carry the LS, LT, and LTZ trims, respectively. Otherwise, all 2010 Chevrolet Traverse models sport middle-of-the-road styling that Cars.com says is "a look that everyone should find appealing" and is not "cute, controversial, too extravagant or futuristic." Edmunds calls the Chevrolet Traverse "a pretty subtle-looking thing" with styling that’s "rounded and relatively unadorned," but still able to project what Chevrolet terms "nonchalant confidence."

Overall, TheCarConnection.com finds that the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse shares some styling cues with the Chevrolet Malibu, and Autoblog feels that "the big twin-port grille inspired by the Malibu works well on it." Automobile Magazine goes so far as to call the Chevrolet Traverse "a Chevy Malibu SUV," though they note that the "projector-style headlights" are unique to the Traverse. The 2010 Chevrolet Traverse also shares its platform with several GM siblings—the Saturn Outlook, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave—but Autoblog is pleased to report that, "unlike in the 1980s and '90s, GM has finally learned how to give its platform-sharing vehicles distinctive looks that go beyond a different grille and taillights."

A similar story plays out inside the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse. As with the exterior, the cabin of the Traverse is functional but by no means exciting. Autoblog reviewers are quick to point out that "the dashboard design also carries over themes from the Malibu with a sweeping twin cockpit look," and Motor Trend praises the "clean, modern style," but overall, reviewers are not dazzled by the interior design. ConsumerGuide finds that the "stylish cabin design presents well at a distance, but a closer inspection reveals mostly hard plastic textured for visual effect." They do, however, give the Chevrolet Traverse high marks for its "big, bright, clear gauges [that] are easy to read." Cars.com also mentions that the interior of the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse features "plenty of beveled plastics," a common complaint that hurts the vehicle’s overall score for styling.


2010 Chevrolet Traverse


The 2010 Chevrolet Traverse won't deliver the acceleration to satisfy go-fast types, but then again, this isn’t the type of vehicle they are likely to buy.

By looks alone, the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse doesn’t strike you as a vehicle with much agility or one with a competent towing ability, but road tests show that the big crossover is, in fact, a competent performer in most situations.

Power comes from a direct-injection 3.6-liter V-6 engine, the same unit found in the Cadillac CTS and STS. Peak output is rated at 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque for models equipped with a dual exhaust, or 281 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque for models with a single exhaust. Edmunds says that the engine "gets direct injection just like pricey Cadillac CTS motors." ConsumerGuide rates the Chevrolet Traverse around the class average for acceleration and finds that it offers "ample power with usefully prompt throttle response." Edmunds asserts that the Traverse feels "plenty peppy" and "should make it to 60 mph in a little bit more than eight seconds." While acceleration may just be just average on the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse, the towing capacity is above the class norm. Motor Trend reports that "Traverses with the optional towing package can pull 5,200 pounds, versus 4,500 pounds for the '08 Outlook/Acadia/Enclave" and an even 5,000 pounds for the competing Toyota Highlander.

Pairing up with the Chevrolet Traverse's V-6 engine is a "six-speed automatic transmission" that ConsumerGuide says will route the power through either a "front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive" system. Reviews are subdued for the automatic transmission, but ConsumerGuide notes that "shifts are smooth and generally immediate, though the transmission can be tardy with downshifts at highway speed." Cars.com also refers to the transmission as "smooth-shifting," a term commonly used to describe the Chevrolet Traverse in reviews read by TheCarConnection.com.

Where the six-speed transmission really shines is fuel economy, which is far superior to that of four- and five-speed units still common on many vehicles today. Edmunds says that "the direct-injection V-6 brings with it slightly better fuel economy than the V-6 it replaces in all the Lambda crossovers," though the all-wheel-drive version suffers a slight mileage penalty. The official EPA estimates for the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse are 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway for the all-wheel drive and 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway for the front-wheel-drive version.

While the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse offers SUV-like cargo room and practicality, its handling and ride characteristics are much more driver-friendly than those of truck-based vehicles. Edmunds reports that the Traverse "delivers an enviable compromise between a comfortable ride and agile handling even with its optional 20-inch wheels." Autoblog reviewers agree, finding that the Chevrolet Traverse turns "with minimal body roll and drama," and, "for a 5,000-lb wagon, the Traverse proved quite capable of changing direction quickly." Other reviewers praise the "quicker and more direct" steering on the Traverse compared to its competitors, and Motor Trend claims that the Traverse is "tuned like a car." And in the always-important braking category, ConsumerGuide chimes in with more praise, saying that "responsive brakes contribute to making Traverse feel sporty despite its size."


2010 Chevrolet Traverse

Comfort & Quality

With ample space for up to eight people and most of their gear, comfortable seats, and compliant ride quality, it’s hard to complain about the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse.

GM may not have a reputation for high build quality, especially when compared to its foreign rivals, but vehicles like the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse prove otherwise.

The Traverse has plenty of interior space for all, even in the third row. Cars.com says that the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse "can seat seven or eight, depending on whether you get separate captain's chairs or a three-seat bench in the second row." Edmunds asserts that "the cavernous interior of the Chevy Traverse meets modern expectations for convenience and comfort." ConsumerGuide reviewers also feel compelled to point out the Chevrolet Traverse's size, noting that it is "among the largest midsize SUVs" and "feels especially roomy." ConsumerGuide adds that the "big, supportive seats" up front on the 2010 Traverse Chevrolet "make for good long-trip comfort."

In that back row, Cars.com says that Chevrolet has come up with "a novel approach" for accessing the backseats that involves "pulling a lever for the second-row seat to slide forward into its collapsible bottom cushion," an interesting idea, "provided it can weather hundreds of uses." Cars.com also offers high praise for the rear seat space, claiming it is "comfortable for adults, where most vehicles with a third row make it barely adequate for children," and in an effort to improve legroom, "the middle seat has GM's 'Smart Slide' feature, which lets it move forward or backward up to four inches." ConsumerGuide does note that "foot space can be tight" in either of the back rows.

From the onset, the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse is designed to be a practical family vehicle. This is most clearly evidenced by the copious amount of available cargo space. ConsumerGuide praises the cargo room as "a strong point" on the Traverse, particularly in the interior where "several bins and cubbies provide ample interior storage." In the more traditional rear cargo area, Cars.com says that "the space behind the Traverse's third seat has 24.4 cubic feet, about 10 feet more than the space in the trunk for the average midsize sedan." Cars.com adds that the Chevrolet Traverse "has the best cargo capacity in the mid-size crossover segment, with 117.5 cubic feet of space in total." Nifty little features like second- and third-row seats that "fold forward easily to create a flat, nearly-level load floor" also draw praise from ConsumerGuide.

As mentioned earlier, GM has made great strides recently when it comes to interior quality, and that trend continues with the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse. Cars.com notes that "body fit and finish, including gaps between body panels, was designed to be comparable with that of premium sedans from Lexus and BMW." Autoblog also finds that GM has "put a lot of effort into the details, like 3.5 mm door gaps that contribute to the CUVs quality appearance." The materials win praise from Motor Trend as well, as they remark that the Traverse has "the latest version of GM's rediscovery of interior quality," which they say is "good, but doesn't appear rich beyond Chevy's place in the GM lineup."

GM’s focus on improving build quality does wonders for the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse, helping improve its overall appearance and sound suppression. Motor Trend calls the ride quality "remarkably smooth and quiet" and "among the top of the class." ConsumerGuide reviewers find that "wind and road noise are well squelched" on the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse, and while the "engine becomes vocal during acceleration," they say that it still "sounds refined and is otherwise subdued."


2010 Chevrolet Traverse


The 2010 Chevrolet Traverse is one of the safest vehicles in its class, with its large, sturdy structure garnering great crash-test ratings.

The 2010 Chevrolet Traverse is one of the safest vehicles in its class, scoring full marks in federal government testing and coming with all the expected safety features.

In both frontal- and side-impact crash tests performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse received a perfect five-star rating for its protection of occupants in head-on and side-impact collisions. The Traverse also scored top marks in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, where it got the highest rating of "good" in frontal, side, and rear tests. The IIHS even named it a Top Safety Pick.

The strong crash-test results are only part of the story, however. Where the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse also shines is in its long list of available and standard safety features. Cars.com reviewers state that "front, side-impact and side curtain airbags are standard," and "the curtains cover all three rows of seats." In addition to the inflatable protection, ConsumerGuide says that "antilock four-wheel disc brakes" and an "antiskid system" are included on all Traverse Chevrolets. Kelley Blue Book reports that StabiliTrak stability control with Rollover Mitigation Technology is a major highlight, “although you'll never know it until you have to use it, this technology could very well save your life. It drastically improves the Traverse's ability to remain composed in even the most radical emergency maneuvers.”

ConsumerGuide claims there is "good outward visibility thanks to big mirrors and unobtrusive rear headrests," although they do mention that "the view to the front corners is partially obscured by thick roof pillars." Overall, that's good news in a field of vehicles that requires a lot of neck-craning. Also scoring bonus points for the Traverse are the "blind spot mirrors" that Autoblog reviewers find in place of "those expensive blind spot sensors," and they report that the effective mirrors give "you a good look at what's tucked in behind you."


2010 Chevrolet Traverse


A new USB port and the latest OnStar 8.2 service head up a long list of useful features found on the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse.

The 2010 Chevrolet Traverse offers all the bells and whistles that seem necessary to sell a vehicle today—plus some features that you don't expect to see on a vehicle with the affordability and mass appeal of the Traverse.

Cars.com reviewers say that the standard "On Star system provides such features as turn-by-turn navigation and directions to restaurants, hotels or other points of interest." ConsumerGuide also notes that the Chevrolet Traverse comes standard with a "tilt/telescopic steering wheel, cruise control," full power accessories, an "AM/FM/CD/MP3 player, satellite radio," and "automatic headlights." Moving up to the Chevrolet Traverse LT, ConsumerGuide says to expect a "leather-wrapped steering wheel w/radio controls" to join the standard features list, while Motor Trend describes the top-of-the-line Chevrolet Traverse LTZ as "Chevy's modern Kingswood Estate, with ... standard leather," among other unique standard features. Some of the standard amenities exclusively on the Traverse Chevrolet in LTZ trim are "tri-zone automatic climate controls (including rear controls), navigation system w/voice recognition and traffic information, [and] rearview camera," according to ConsumerGuide.

Regardless of which trim you opt for, Edmunds is pleased to report "Bluetooth connectivity is standard" on the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse. For 2010, a USB port is now included with the premium radio option, as well as OnStar 8.2.

The features list doesn't end there on the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse trims, as GM includes a lengthy catalog of options for those with a bit more disposable income. Cars.com says that some of the "cool features of the new Traverse" include "a panoramic sunroof" and "in-dash navigation system," along with an available "rear-seat DVD entertainment system" and "leather upholstery." For those living in the Golden State, ConsumerGuide says that an available "California Edition" package adds an upgraded "Bose sound system, chrome exhaust tip," and "bright alloy wheels," while a "remote engine start" option is available as a stand-alone feature on the Chevrolet Traverse LS and LT.

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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July 18, 2015
For 2010 Chevrolet Traverse

Awesome vehicle for the money!

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I have a 2011 LS, the first week we it, we went to Oregon, car did awesome, no issues. Performance was great, even driving up hills and curves. Mileage was approx 21 mpg cruising at 70mph. All members of our... + More »
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April 28, 2015
2010 Chevrolet Traverse FWD 4-Door LTZ

Nice car, unfortunately poor reliability

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I like the features, but dislike the amount of time it is in the shop
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