2020 Chevrolet Traverse

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
June 17, 2020

Buying tip

A 2020 Traverse LT Cloth has good standard equipment and more available options. Its starting price for more than $36,000 is more realistic for many family buyers.

features & specs

AWD 4-Door High Country
AWD 4-Door LS w/1LS
AWD 4-Door LT Cloth w/1LT
17 city / 25 hwy
17 city / 25 hwy
17 city / 25 hwy

The 2020 Chevy Traverse is a three-row family mainstay with plentiful interior space.

With the 2020 Traverse, Chevrolet has a three-row crossover that hits all the right notes like pop music—but with more substance. 

This year, the Traverse ditches a slow-selling turbo-4 and adds better infotainment software in top models.  

It’s a 5.8 on our overall scale, boosted by its overall comfort. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Review continues below

Like last year, the Traverse is available in L, LS, LT, RS, Premier, and High Country trims. It starts at just over $30,000 and tops out at more than $53,000 in top trims with all-wheel drive. 

The Traverse is a smoothed-over but rugged-looking family hauler that was refreshed for 2018. It skips some of the looks from Chevy’s newest pickups and SUVs, namely the Tahoe and Suburban, which are bigger than the Traverse.

The inside is relatively clean and user-friendly, with a 7.0- or 8.0-inch touchscreen in the center. 

A 3.6-liter V-6 powers the Traverse and is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission and front- or all-wheel drive. It makes 310 horsepower and returns up to 22 mpg combined, which is on par with crossovers its size. The Traverse can tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped. 

Three rows of seats are fitted into the Traverse, with room for up to eight. The wayback is big enough for adults on short trips and behind the third row there are more than 23 cubic feet of room for cargo, which is big for its class. 

Automatic emergency braking is reserved for top trims as a spend-up extra in many configurations and not available in base versions. 

Base Traverse Ls are front-wheel drive only and don’t offer all-wheel drive. Our recommended version is a Traverse LT that costs $36,595 with front-wheel drive or $40,395 with all-wheel drive. It includes a power-adjustable driver’s seat, upgraded cloth interior, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, second-row captain’s chairs, and more available options, including automatic emergency braking for more than $36,000 or $40,000 with all-wheel drive.


2020 Chevrolet Traverse


The 2020 Traverse is better than bland, but could use some of GM’s newest digs.

The 2020 Chevy Traverse has worn well in the automaker’s lineup, but may now need a rethink compared to the Tahoe/Suburban slotted above it. 

We give it a point above average for a cabin smoother than our local R&B station. It’s a 6 for style. 

The Traverse is more upright than it has been previously, borrowing some looks from Chevy’s blockier SUVs. It has a strong shoulder line, but it’s starting to look a little like sweatpants compared to Chevy’s starched and creased trucks. 

Inside, the cabin gets better with more money thrown at it, but every version gets soft surfaces and a durable feel. 

The center console is deep and wide, with plenty of small-item storage. Top trims look convincingly luxury, but ask a lot of money for the privilege.

Review continues below


2020 Chevrolet Traverse


Down to just a V-6, the Traverse hits all the family basics like Sunday Hometown Buffet.

Pared down to just one engine compared to last year, the 2020 Traverse’s performance story is easy. 

A 3.6-liter V-6 that makes 310 hp and 266 pound-feet of torque is the only engine available. It’s teamed to a 9-speed automatic and front- or all-wheel drive. It’s a 6 on our scale. 

The 2.0-liter turbo-4 from prior years was boxed out by the V-6, which was better suited to the Traverse’s sizable heft anyway. Since the V-6 offers similar fuel economy and better acceleration, we could see the writing on the wall. 

The standard V-6 makes good torque across its power band, and there’s enough grunt to spin up the front wheels. 

Chevy’s all-wheel-drive system is stuck in the 1990s, it requires button taps to turn on and we’re perplexed on why it reappeared in the most recent crossovers. 

The 9-speed in the Traverse is well-equipped for the task and fires off quick shifts without much fuss. 

Steering the Traverse is predicable for a big, heavy crossover. It pitches and rolls like a big ship (it is) but it stays pointed in the right direction with a big on-center spot in the steering wheel. 

The Traverse rides atop a four-wheel independent suspension that smothers road imperfections well.

Review continues below


2020 Chevrolet Traverse

Comfort & Quality

Set the starting lineup, then stuff them into the 2020 Traverse. They’ll fit.

The 2020 Traverse is right-sized for American families, all 4.5 family members with 50 pounds each of requisite gear. 

There are six USB ports, up to eight seats, and at least 10 cupholders. We mathed all of the above and landed at a 9 for comfort. 

The front seats are comfortable and long-haul friendly with enough room for wide, Midwest American bodies. There’s good small-item storage up front too, with just enough cubbies for devices and odd-sized cups. 

Second-row riders get good space as well, with more than 38 inches of rear seat leg room. Second-row captain’s chairs help separate warring adolescents, ask us how we know. The rear doors open wide for easy access, especially with full hands and a child seat. 

The third row is spacious too. With 33 inches of leg room and an upright seating position, adults can sit in the wayback for short stretches; a 6-foot-3 editor fit for short trips to dinner without complaints—at least many of them. 

There are 23 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third row, which better than many in its class. With the third row folded flat, that space balloons to 58 cubes—98 cubic feet with just the front row seats in place. 

Most Traverses are finished well with good feeling materials and high-buck interiors, although the Buick Enclave and Cadillac XT6 are nicer places to be and related to the Traverse.

Review continues below


2020 Chevrolet Traverse


Crash-test data in the 2020 Traverse is incomplete.

Federal testers have good things to say and gave the Traverse a five-star overall score, but four stars for front crash safety and rollover protection. The IIHS gave the Traverse top "Good" scores on all its crash tests, but noted that the Chevy's headlights rated "Acceptable" or "Poor."

Automatic emergency braking is a spend-up extra on LT trims and higher, but standard on top trims. That’s not great for a family vehicle and GM would do well to reconsider that position. The IIHS had good things to say about the system, however. The agency noted that it avoided collisions with vehicles at 12 mph and 25 mph, and avoided most crashes with pedestrians at similar speeds. (The High Country model's ratings are slightly lower.)

Traverse Premier and High Country models have automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control as standard equipment. 

Outward vision in the Traverse is a challenge; we consider blind-spot monitors and parking sensors to be mandatory in the big crossover.


2020 Chevrolet Traverse


There’s a 2020 Traverse for nearly every family, but not all include features families need.

Chevy bundles most of the features families want in a three-row crossover into the 2020 Traverse, but frustratingly charge more for the one feature they need. 

Starting from an average score, the Traverse gets a point above average for its 7.0-inch touchscreen that’s standard on most models—upgraded to an 8.0-inch screen on others—and loses a point for automatic emergency braking that’s not only a spend-up extra, but only available on some trims. It’s a wash and a 5. 

The base 2020 Traverse L costs $30,995 and includes cloth upholstery, six USB ports, 18-inch wheels, power features, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. All-wheel drive isn’t available on base models. 

We’d skip over the Traverse LS and head to the Traverse LT that costs $36,595 with front-wheel drive or $40,395 with all-wheel drive. Traverse LT models offer power-adjustable driver’s seat, upgraded cloth interior, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, second-row captain’s chairs, but more importantly, more available options. The LT Cloth version offers an available 8.0-inch touchscreen, heated front seats, power liftgate, and parking sensors. All-wheel drive is a spend-up option on LT versions at $3,800 but it includes most of those options as standard equipment. Automatic emergency braking is available on LT versions as well. 

The Traverse High Country is top of the pile and costs $55,390, including all-wheel drive. It includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Bose audio, power adjustable front seats, heated front and second-row seats, leather upholstery, wireless smartphone charger, active safety features (that we cover above), 20-inch wheels, cooled front seats, leather upholstery, panoramic sunroof, and a power liftgate.

Review continues below


2020 Chevrolet Traverse

Fuel Economy

Among three-row crossovers, the 2020 Traverse keeps pace with its fuel economy.

The fuel-economy story for the 2020 Chevrolet Traverse is relatively simple. 

Down to just one engine, paired to front- or all-wheel drive, the 2020 Traverse manages combined fuel economy in the low-20s. 

With all-wheel drive, the Traverse rates 17 mpg city, 25 highway, 20 combined. That’s a 4 on our scale. 

With just front-wheel drive, the Traverse rates 18/27/21 mpg. 

Three-row family crossover competitors do better, but not by much. The Honda Pilot rates up to 23 mpg combined, and the new Toyota Highlander manages up to 24 mpg. Hybrid versions of the Highlander and Ford Explorer do even better.

Review continues below

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Styling 6
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 9
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