2015 Chevrolet Traverse Review

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Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
May 28, 2015

The 2015 Chevy Traverse may look a little sedate, but it offers plenty of comfort and practicality for the whole family.

The 2015 Chevrolet Traverse is a large crossover that’s nearly as roomy as the truck-based GMC Tahoe and Chevy Suburban SUVs, but offers friendlier driving traits thanks to its car-type platform.

The Traverse remains one of the most spacious, passenger-friendly vehicles on the market, and it's a great choice for those who have disowned minivans. The Traverse's primary mission is people-moving, so GM has made the most of the seating space here. 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 chairs arrangements are offered in the second row, and we'd opt for the bench as the individual seats aren't much more comfortable. There's one weakness of the Traverse versus minivans: Its cargo floor is a bit high and not as easy-loading, although folding the second and third rows down yields 117.5 cubic feet.

Also important for families, the Traverse has earned some of the best crash-test scores of any vehicle sold in the U.S., and together with the closely related Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia, it's one of the first vehicles on the market to offer a front center side airbag. Otherwise, standard safety features include parking sensors, a rearview camera system, hill start assist (to help you start safety on a steep incline), and head-curtain side bags with rollover mitigation technology. On LTZ models, the Traverse includes Side Blind Zone Alert, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert—all features that may help you avoid an accident completely.

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The Chevy Traverse is essentially a vehicle designed and engineered to those who just a few years ago might have found themselves bewildered at the lack of large family vehicles. Although it might build on some of the styling cues of GM SUVs, the Traverse is essentially a tall station wagon. For today's biggest families, who are concerned about image and features, yet also space, comfort, and safety, the Traverse adds up to a very smart pick.

The design of the Traverse has seen very little change since its original introduction in 2009; last year it was given a minor touch-up in the front and rear, although it's far from what GM termed "an athletic new exterior design." Although the face is a bit fresher, we're more attracted to the Camaro-influenced taillamps, which break through a factory-farm of same-as crossover designs. Inside, the Traverse is nothing exciting, but it's very functional, and last year's refresh brought a few new wood and silver accents, some contrast stitching, and ambient lighting. Last year Chevy also reconfigured the climate controls for 2013 and brought in more soft-touch materials.

Don't expect the 2015 Traverse to feel all that quick or agile, but it's quick enough for family use. At about 5,000 pounds, the Traverse is a very heavy vehicle, and it does little from behind the wheel to mask that. The smooth 3.6-liter direct-injection V-6 rated at 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet, and has been programmed for more confident passing power and quicker shifts; yet this is still a combination that needs to work hard up highway grades or from a standing start. That said, it can tow up to 5,200 pounds. You can get either front- or all-wheel-drive configurations of the Traverse, but AWD versions are a little more sluggish.

Three trim levels of the 2015 Traverse are offered: LS, LT, and LTZ. Top LTZ 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 color touch screen, enabling smartphone integration as well as easy streaming of Pandora and Stitcher internet-based entertainment. For 2015, it's offered in a few new colors, and now also offers Siri Hands Free.

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2015 Chevrolet Traverse

Styling

The Traverse received a softer interior last year that puts it more in pace with Chevy's car cabins; but it's still conservative on the outside.

The Traverse adds up as a smart choice for families who desire extra space, comfort and safety. While it may look somewhat like GM's large SUVs, the Traverse is essentially a tall, family-friendly station wagon.

Inside, the Traverse is nothing too exciting--maybe even a bit drab--but it's very functional, and last year's refresh brought a little more interest with a few new wood and silver accents, some contrast stitching, and ambient lighting. The cockpit design is still very simple, with a layout that's pretty much a halfway point between what Chevy uses in its full-size SUVs like the Tahoe and what's in its mainstream sedans like the Malibu. And Chevy also recently reconfigured the climate controls for 2013 and brought in more soft-touch materials.

The design of the Traverse has seen very little change otherwise since its original introduction in 2009; last year it was given a minor touch-up in the front and rear, although it's far from what GM termed "an athletic new exterior design." Compared to its cousins, the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, the Traverse has neither the edgier design flair of the GMC nor the retro-curvy hints of the Buick Enclave.

The Traverse got a new face for Chevy crossovers (we expect this look to spread to the Equinox soon, too), with a three-bar upper grille and two-bar lower design. Darkened headlights and a more sculpted hood round out the updated front end. While that front-end look is, in our opinion, a bit blander than the previous look, in back it's a big improvement—mainly with the substitution of taillamps that look a bit like those on the Camaro muscle car. It also got a different hatch design, and the license plate was been moved up from the bumper and integrated into the tailgate. Some additional chrome and brightwork give it a little more punch from some angles.

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2015 Chevrolet Traverse

Performance

The 2015 Chevrolet Traverse is big and heavy and lets you know that, yet it's about as responsive as you could expect a very large family vehicle to be.

The Traverse is a family vehicle at its core, and it performs well enough for that use. However, we wouldn't call it agile or quick, especially with its 5,000-pound curb weight.

Both front- and all-wheel-drive configurations are available, but we've noticed that AWD versions do sap a little more power from the experience; as such, the Traverse feels quick enough for its intended family-hauling purpose. The Traverse will be able to tow up to 5,200 pounds.

Ride and handling have been improved with new rebound springs in the front, which helps with roll control. The Traverse has pretty well-tuned, old-style hydraulic power steering, and the changes made for last year help firm up the Traverse's response to quick handling manuevers, yet keep its ride smooth. 

It's a very heavy vehicle, and it does little from behind the wheel to mask that from the steering wheel. The smooth 3.6-liter direct-injection V-6 has been programmed for more confident passing power and quicker shifts; yet this is still a combination that needs to work hard up highway grades or from a standing start.

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2015 Chevrolet Traverse

Comfort & Quality

The 2015 Traverse has one of the few truly usable third row setups, as well as a quiet, settled ride.

The 2015 Chevrolet Traverse is one of the best vehicles on the market, if you're looking to replace the minivan in your driveway. It's a people-mover with seating for as many as eight passengers, with the option to have either buckets or a bench in the middle row.

There's one weakness of the Traverse versus minivans: Its cargo floor is a bit high and not as easy-loading. It does take a high step up to enter that back row, too. Although folding the second and third rows down yields 117.5 cubic feet. And one other caution: The Traverse's long rear doors do have some disadvantages next to sliding doors, as they tend to make entry and exit (or loading of children into booster seats) challenging if you're in a parking lot with tight spaces—or in your own garage.

Front seats in the Traverse are plush yet supportive—as good as those in any other large crossovers or SUVs (now with a power passenger seat and adjustable front headrests)—and the adult-sized second row slides forward to provide access to the surprisingly comfortable (for kids) third-row seats. Bench or captain's chairs arrangements are offered in the second row, and we'd opt for the bench as the individual seats aren't much more comfortable. You might find access to the back seat slightly easier with the captain's chairs, but you lose a position.

The Traverse recently received some suspension improvements that helped keep even more road noise from the cabin, and ride comfort is really top-notch. Factor in the solid, high-quality switchgear, an intuitive control layout, and clear displays and you have a vehicle that excels from a functionality standpoint. GM even redesigned and reconfigured the Traverse's climate controls last year; they're more straightforward and easier to use, with more soft-touch materials for the instrument panel and door uppers, as well as new silver-accent details.

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2015 Chevrolet Traverse

Safety

There's more active-safety features in the 2015 Chevrolet Traverse than most in this class, as well as top-tier safety scores, and a unique front center airbag sets a precedent.

The 2015 Chevy Traverse offers occupant-protection technology that's unique to the segment, and it's rated as one of the safest vehicles sold at any price in the U.S..

New for 2015, the Traverse now offers Siri Eyes Free to keep drivers focuses on driving, rather their iPhones.

The Traverse carries on this model's reputation as one of the safest vehicles you can get. Although it hasn't been tested in the new small-overlap frontal test, it earns top 'good' results in all other Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests, as well as a five-star rating in frontal and side federal tests.

OnStar is included in all Traverse models; it includes six months of Directions and Connections service, with Turn-by-Turn Navigation sent to the car by an operator, with no need to stop and input addresses. OnStar still includes Stolen Vehicle Assistance and an OnStar Mobile App for remote control of locking, engine starting, and remote viewing of vehicle information.

Together with the closely related Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia, the Traverse is one of the first vehicles on the market to offer a front-center side airbag. Built into the driver's seat, the airbag system helps protect the driver (or the driver and front passenger) from certain types of side impacts.

Otherwise, standard safety features include parking sensors, a rearview camera system, hill start assist (to help you start safety on a steep incline), and head-curtain side bags with rollover mitigation technology. On LTZ models, the Traverse includes Side Blind Zone Alert, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert—all features that may help you avoid an accident completely.

The camera system does help improve visibility when parking, but outward visibility, especially for changing lanes, hasn't been as great as we've tested in other crossover models.

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2015 Chevrolet Traverse

Features

The feature set for the 2015 Traverse is as you would expect -- no better, no less -- while infotainment features are either going to be refreshingly simple or disappointingly simple.

Three trims are available on the 2015 Traverse: top-tier and luxurious LTZ, mid-range LT, and base LS. Every Traverse comes with Chevy MyLink, which connects with your smartphone, streams internet radio, and displays everything through a 6.4-inch color touch screen. There are also two standard USB ports in the rear of the center console, in case your kids need to charge their mobile devices.

LT models add a few extras (and the LT2 package adds even more), while the top-of-the-line LTZ gets leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate controls, and a voice-command, screen-based navigation system.

Other major options include the rearview camera; a power liftgate; heated and cooled front seats; and a DVD entertainment system. The top-spec LTZ can be equipped with a rear spoiler; dual exhausts; and a panoramic sunroof.

LS trims are no-fuss (albeit well-equipped) family vehicles. They include keyless entry; a tilt/telescopic wheel; power windows, locks and mirrors; cruise control; Bluetooth; and an AM/FM/XM/CD sound system. The standard OnStar system includes Turn-by-Turn navigation and points-of-interest information. 

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2015 Chevrolet Traverse

Fuel Economy

The Chevy Traverse has decent gas mileage, so long as you factor in its passenger-carrying capacity.

The bigger the vehicle, the lower the fuel economy–or at least that holds true for the 2015 Chevrolet Traverse. Yet the truth of the matter is that the Traverse lands dead center among three-row vehicles. Only a few models, like the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the Ford Explorer 2.0T (front-wheel-drive only), are better.

Last year, even after a recalibrated powertrain, the Traverse carried over its EPA ratings of 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway with front-wheel drive, or 16/23 mpg with all-wheel drive. And making matters worse, perhaps, is that in real-world drives, we've seen numbers that are typically a bit lower than those estimates.

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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July 27, 2015
For 2015 Chevrolet Traverse

Good solid choice for 3 row SUV

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We just took our Traverse on a 2000 mile road trip with 4 kids and it was a great experience. Lots of room (we have 2nd row captain's chairs) and comfortable. We have the DVD player and that helped a lot... + More »
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May 4, 2015
2015 Chevrolet Traverse AWD 4-Door LT w/2LT

had a nissan rogue, wanted to step up I bought a traverse what a huge difference I will never buy another nissan

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fantastic SUV plenty of power and it gets pretty close to the mileage that the nissan rogue did, plus it can actually tow something. learned a very valuable lesson never buy a vehicle from Kline Nissan they do... + More »
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Styling 7.0
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Comfort & Quality 9.0
Safety 9.0
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Fuel Economy 6.0
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