2016 Chevrolet Traverse Review

Consumer Reviews
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2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Kirk Bell Kirk Bell Editor
June 15, 2016

The 2016 Chevy Traverse is a smooth and comfortable alternative to the minivan or full-size SUV.

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. 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.

The 2016 Chevrolet Traverse is a large crossover that’s nearly as roomy as the truck-based Chevy Tahoe and Suburban SUVs, but it offers friendlier driving traits thanks to its car-like platform.

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 117.5 cubic feet of space with the second- and third-row seats folded down, that's about 30 cubic feet less than a minivan.

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Three trim levels of the 2016 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 touchscreen, enabling smartphone integration as well as streaming of Pandora and Stitcher internet-based radio. For 2016, the Traverse added 4G LTE connectivity that can provide a wi-fi hotspot.

Safety is an important consideration for families, and the Traverse has scored well on crash tests. 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 blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, lane-departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert—all features that may help you avoid an accident completely.

Although it might build on some of the styling cues of GM truck-type 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 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.

Don't expect the 2016 Traverse to feel all that quick or agile, but it's quick enough for family use, the handling is controlled, and the ride is smooth. 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 is rated at 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. It is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission; this duo 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, but AWD versions are a little more sluggish.

The Traverse carries ratings by the EPA of 17 mpg city, 24 highway, 19 combined with front-wheel drive, or 16/23/19 mpg with all-wheel drive. Those ratings land it dead center among three-row vehicles.

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2016 Chevrolet Traverse

Styling

Rounder shapes with flared wheel arches distinguish this large crossover SUV from the square-jawed look of Chevy's full-size truck-based SUVs..

The Traverse is essentially a tall, family-friendly station wagon. The design has changed very little since its original introduction in 2009, despite a minor facelift for the 2013 model year. 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 features the three-bar upper grille and two-bar lower design that is common to Chevrolet crossovers. Darkened headlights and a sculpted hood round out the front end. In back, it has taillights that look a bit like those on the Camaro muscle car. Some bits chrome and brightwork give it some punch from certain angles.

Inside, the Traverse is nothing too exciting—maybe even a bit drab—but it's very functional. The cockpit design is 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.

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7

2016 Chevrolet Traverse

Performance

The 2016 Chevrolet Traverse handles about as well as a large family vehicle can, and its ride is quiet and settled.

The Traverse is a family vehicle at its core, and it performs well enough for that use. However, with a 5,000-pound curb weight, we wouldn't call it agile or quick, though it does have a more car-like ride than GM's full-size truck-type SUVs.

Both front- and all-wheel-drive (AWD) configurations are available. The Traverse feels quick enough for its intended family-hauling purpose, but we've noticed that AWD versions sap a little more power from the experience. The engine is a smooth, direct-injected 3.6-liter V-6 that produces 281 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque (dual exhaust models bump up both figures, just barely). It needs to work hard up highway grades or from a standing start. Towing capacity tops out at 5,200 pounds with front-drive.

The Traverse has pretty well-tuned, old-style hydraulic power steering, and despite its size, it responds fairly well to quick handling maneuvers. Ride quality is pleasingly compliant, and the cabin is mostly devoid of road, wind, or engine noise.

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2016 Chevrolet Traverse

Comfort & Quality

The 2016 Traverse has one of the more usable third rows on the market, and its mix of soft-touch surfaces and modern connectivity make its interior a fine place for the family.

As far as minivan replacements go, the 2016 Chevrolet Traverse is one of the best choices. It's a people-mover with seating for as many as eight passengers.

The front seats are plush yet supportive—as good as those in any other large crossover or SUV—and the adult-sized second row slides forward to provide access to the surprisingly comfortable (for children) third-row seats. A bench seat or captain's chairs 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.

Folding the second and third rows down yields 117.5 cubic feet of cargo space, which is lots of space—but not as much room as a minivan. Its cargo floor is also a bit high, which makes it harder to load than a minivan. It requires a high step up to enter the third row, too. And one other caution: The Traverse's long rear doors have some disadvantages next to sliding doors, as they tend to make entry and exit (or loading of children into booster seats) challenging in a parking lot with tight spaces—or in a garage.

Factor in the solid, high-quality buttons and switches, an intuitive control layout, and clear displays and you have a vehicle that excels from a functionality standpoint. The controls are also straightforward, and the cabin is outfitted with a pleasing amount of soft-touch materials, as well as attractive silver-accent details.

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8

2016 Chevrolet Traverse

Safety

The 2016 Chevrolet Traverse earn top-notch safety scores and offers more of the latest safety features than most rivals.

The 2016 Chevrolet Traverse is a safe pick for families looking for a crossover. It received a five-star overall rating from federal safety officials and earned top scores in all tests but the rollover test, in which it gets four stars. Although it hasn't been subjected to the IIHS's small-overlap frontal test, it earns top "Good" results in all of the insurance agency's other tests.

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, this airbag helps protect the driver (or the driver and front passenger) from certain types of side impacts.

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. Available Siri Eyes Free also helps drivers keep their eyes on the road rather than their iPhones.

Otherwise, standard safety features include parking sensors, a rearview camera system, hill-start assist (to help you start safely on a steep incline), and head-curtain side bags with rollover mitigation technology. On LTZ models, the Traverse includes blind-spot monitoring with rear traffic alert, forward collision alert, lane-departure warning—all features that may help you completely avoid a crash.

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2016 Chevrolet Traverse

Features

The 2016 Chevrolet Traverse has a typical feature set for the class; equipment and prices build steadily as you move up the line.

The 2016 Chevrolet Traverse is offered in base LS, LT and LTZ models, each with front- or all-wheel drive. The LS model comes standard with keyless entry; a tilt/telescopic wheel; power windows, locks and mirrors; cruise control; Bluetooth; an AM/FM/XM/CD sound system; and a rearview camera. The standard OnStar system includes turn-by-turn navigation, points-of-interest information, and now 4G LTE connectivity, which can provide a wi-fi hotspot. The Chevy MyLink infotainment system is also standard. It connects with a smartphone, streams internet radio, and displays everything through a 6.5-inch touchscreen. The system even has two standard USB ports in the rear of the center console, in case 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 heated and cooled front seats, a DVD entertainment system, and a power liftgate. The top-line LTZ can be equipped with a panoramic sunroof, a rear spoiler, and dual exhaust outlets.

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2016 Chevrolet Traverse

Fuel Economy

Given its eight-passenger seating capacity, the Chevy Traverse offers decent fuel economy.

The Traverse is a large vehicle, but it's not as heavy as GM's full-size truck-based SUVs and it has a smaller engine. That gives it slightly better fuel economy, but it's not all that impressive.

The Traverse carries ratings by the EPA of 17 mpg city, 24 highway, 19 combined with front-wheel drive, or 16/23/19 mpg with all-wheel drive. Those ratings land it dead center among three-row vehicles. Only rivals such as the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Ford Explorer 2.0T (front-wheel-drive only), and Honda Pilot are better.

Unfortunately, in real-world drives, we've seen numbers that are typically a bit lower than those estimates.

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September 5, 2016
For 2016 Chevrolet Traverse

MPG - THE WORST

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I bought new 2016 Traverse a couple months ago. I like everything about the car, but one thing totally kills it for me..Biggest issue is 11-13 mpg city and 14 on freeway. I drive it like a 90yo. I am hoping... + More »
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May 22, 2016
For 2016 Chevrolet Traverse

My 2nd Traverse - Great in Snow

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I bought a Traverse in 2009 and drove it for 5 years trading it in on a new one in 2014. We put 130,000 miles on the 2009. This vehicle has been a great, reliable and safe family hauler. It gets impressive gas... + More »
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March 6, 2016
2016 Chevrolet Traverse AWD 4-Door LTZ

Transmission Problem

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My 2016 Traverse LTZ AWD vehicle is less than 3 months old and has less than 3,500 miles. On March 2nd, it stopped working in drive. I had is towed to a Chevrolet dealership (not the one that I purchased it... + More »
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January 23, 2016
For 2016 Chevrolet Traverse

Horrible in the snow !!!

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Very slippery Not recommended at all !!!! Getting stuck in the snow easily
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January 1, 2016
2016 Chevrolet Traverse AWD 4-Door LT w/2LT

Some highs, some lows, I hope I learn to love this car.

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I came from a 2013 ford Explorer XLT which in my mind is a better looking and a more rugged looking SUV. Reliability looks to be the same, both are average. I miss the convenience of coded key pad on the... + More »
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October 10, 2015
2016 Chevrolet Traverse FWD 4-Door LT w/1LT

Chevy Traverse Awesome

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Overall premium SUV. Little more ground clearance required with 2x4 and 4x4 drive option and screen minimum 7"
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October 9, 2015
2016 Chevrolet Traverse FWD 4-Door LS w/1LS

Great ride!!!

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Vehicle meets or exceeds desired performance in all categories!!!
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Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety 8
Features 8
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