2014 Chevrolet Traverse Review

Consumer Reviews
0 Reviews
2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
August 14, 2014

The 2014 Chevrolet Traverse offers up all the practicality, space, and features that will make a big family happy--provided you prefer an understated style.

The 2014 Chevrolet Traverse is a spacious, comfortable, and reasonably responsive vehicle. What's lacking might be charm; but some parents will be happy just to avoid a minivan.

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.

Review continues below

Don't expect the 2014 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.

If you're one who's disowned minivans in the past and wouldn't bow to that image again, the Chevrolet Traverse remains one of the most spacious, passenger-friendly vehicles on the market. 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.

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.

Three trim levels of the 2014 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.

7

2014 Chevrolet Traverse

Styling

The 2014 Chevrolet Traverse is conservative on the outside, but the softer interior look it received last year makes it more in pace with Chevy's car cabins.

Although it might build on some of the styling cues of GM SUVs, the 2014 Chevrolet 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." 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.

Last year, 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.

Inside, the Traverse is nothing 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 last year Chevy also reconfigured the climate controls for 2013 and brought in more soft-touch materials.

Review continues below
7

2014 Chevrolet Traverse

Performance

Don't expect anything all that nimble, but the 2014 Traverse is about as responsive as you could expect a very large family vehicle to be.

The 2014 Chevrolet Travserse performs well enough for family use, but you shouldn't expect much quickness or agility. And while you might think its 288 horsepower to be plenty, it's the Traverse's roughly 5,000-pound curb weight that's the issue.

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.

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.

Review continues below
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.
9

2014 Chevrolet Traverse

Comfort & Quality

The Traverse cabin is roomy and refined, with quiet, settled ride and one of the few truly usable third row setups.

The 2014 Chevrolet Traverse remains one of the most spacious, passenger-friendly vehicles on the market--especially if you're the type that eschews minivans.

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.

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.Yeah, you might find access to the back seat slightly easier with the captain's chairs, but you lose a position.

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.

The Traverse last year 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.

Review continues below
9

2014 Chevrolet Traverse

Safety

A unique front center airbag is the finishing touch on a great safety set that this year includes more active-safety features--and the Traverse has the top-tier crash-test to match.

The 2014 Traverse offers some of the best crash-test scores of any vehicle sold in the U.S.; and it offers some unique-to-the-market occupant-protection technology.

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.

OnStar is also 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.

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 IIHS tests, as well as a five-star rating in frontal and side federal tests.

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.

Review continues below
8

2014 Chevrolet Traverse

Features

The 2014 Chevrolet Traverse has a respectable feature set for a family vehicle, and its infotainment features are either going to be refreshingly simple or disappointingly simple.

There are three trim levels of the 2014 Chevy Traverse--LS, LT, and LTZ--with top LTZ models the way to go if you want a vehicle that's equipped like a luxury vehicle, albeit without the luxury badge.

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. New for 2014 are two charge-only USB ports, located at the rear of the center console--for powering the kids devices.

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.

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.

Review continues below
6

2014 Chevrolet Traverse

Fuel Economy

There's nothing boastworthy here; although the 2014 Traverse isn't too bad if you consider how many passengers it can carry in comfort.

Gas mileage is bound to be a sore point for those looking at the 2014 Chevrolet Traverse--unless you see it as a three-row vehicle that can move a large group more efficiently than with two separate vehicles.

Last year, even after a recalibrated powertrain, the Traverse carried over with its EPA ratings of 17 mpg city, 24 highway with front-wheel drive, or 16/23 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.

Yet the truth of the matter is that these figures are right in norm 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.

Review continues below
Continue Reading

The Car Connection Consumer Review

Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
USED PRICE RANGE
$12,988 - $33,120
Browse Used Listings
in your area
8.0
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety 9
Features 8
Fuel Economy 6
Compare the 2014 Chevrolet Traverse against the competition
Compare All Cars
Looking for a different year of the Chevrolet Traverse?
Read reviews & get prices
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
See More Used