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2021 Chevrolet Traverse

Consumer Reviews
0 Reviews
2020
The Car Connection
2020
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
April 17, 2020

Buying tip

The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse goes on sale in late 2020.

features & specs

AWD 4-Door High Country
AWD 4-Door LS w/1LS
AWD 4-Door LT Cloth w/1LT
MPG
17 city / 25 hwy
MPG
17 city / 25 hwy
MPG
17 city / 25 hwy
MSRP
$53,100
MSRP
$34,900
MSRP
$39,200

The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse is a big family mover with an update on the way next year.

The Chevy Traverse is among the most prolific three-row family crossovers on the road and there’s hardly a cul-de-sac or suburban shopping center without one. 

It’s popularity is a blessing and a curse. The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse is the same as last year's version, ahead of an update for 2022.

It’s a 5.8 for now.  (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Review continues below

Under the hood, the Traverse is largely the same. A 3.6-liter V-6 that makes 310 horsepower is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission and front- or all-wheel drive. The combo is confident, but the all-wheel-drive system isn’t automatic—drivers have to switch in and out of all-wheel drive for traction. 

The Traverse steers well and tracks down the middle of the road with comfort thanks to a four-wheel independent suspension that soaks up road imperfections well. 

Up to eight can fit into the 2021 Traverse’s three rows of seats, although seven-passenger configurations are available (and more comfortable for adults). 

The second row gets 38 inches of leg room, which is plenty of space for long legs, and the third row riders get 33 inches. Behind all three rows of seats, the Traverse offers 23 cubic feet of cargo storage that can expand to nearly 100 cubic feet with rows No. 2 and 3 folded. 

Official crash-test data for the Traverse isn’t yet available, but Chevy charges more for automatic emergency braking on most models. We think that should be standard equipment for a family-first crossover.

Chevy hasn’t yet said how much the Traverse will cost when it goes on sale later this year, or what trims it’ll be available in, but we’ll update this space once that rolls in.

5

2021 Chevrolet Traverse

Styling

The new Traverse looks tough enough to tackle any family task.

This year, the 2021 Traverse carries on with the same look as the year before. Next year, the Traverse gets an update to bring it in line with the truckier Tahoe and Suburban.

We give it a 6 for style based on a handsome interior.

The Traverse is more rounded and softer compared to the rest of Chevy's SUVs. The Traverse is more upright than before, however, and we prefer it.

Inside, the cabin is filled with mostly soft-touch materials that look better with more money thrown at the Traverse. Stay tuned. 

Review continues below
6

2021 Chevrolet Traverse

Performance

Sticking with a tried-and-true powertrain combo, the 2021 Traverse is confident and comfortable on the road.

The 2021 Chevy Traverse moves into a new decade with a powertrain stuck in the last one, and an all-wheel-drive system that’s mostly from the last century. 

The lone engine in the Traverse is a 310-hp 3.6-liter V-6 paired to a 9-speed automatic that drives the front or all four wheels. Its acceleration is on par with the competition, but a pushbutton all-wheel-drive system feels a little outdated by now. It’s a 6 for performance thanks to plenty of tug from the V-6, but that’s all. 

The V-6 is readily up to the task of hauling a Traverse full of passengers and cargo. It accelerates from a stop smoothly and relatively briskly, when pushed, and can tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped. 

Chevy’s 9-speed automatic transmission is one of the better ones on sale. It shifts smoothly and imperceptibly, flittering through gears with a preference for fuel economy. 

The Traverse is big and heavy, which is reflected in its fuel-economy ratings and the way that it drives. There’s no mistaking the big crossover’s bulk, although it tracks down the middle of a highway confidently. 

The Traverse rides on a four-wheel independent suspension that’s comfortable and quiet. Other vehicles that are related (or distantly related) to the Traverse in the General Motors’ stable—Cadillac XT6, GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave—offer adaptive dampers that make the ride a little more composed, but we’re just fine with the Traverse anyway. 

Review continues below
9

2021 Chevrolet Traverse

Comfort & Quality

The 2021 Traverse flexes on carrying people and gear with plenty of room for both.

With the 2021 Traverse, Chevy has one of the largest three-row crossovers in its class, large enough to fit eight with room behind for cargo. 

We give it a 9 for comfort: it’s good at carrying people and cargo—especially in the first two rows that are very comfortable. 

Chevy hasn’t yet specified all of the trim levels for the 2021 Traverse, but we expect it to largely follow the 2020 version. Based on that, we’d stretch out, take our shoes off, and take the long way across Kansas. 

The front seats are comfortable, with plenty of room for widebodies. There’s good small-item storage, too; Chevy this year added a wireless phone charger and wireless smartphone compatibility software to help keep forward command clean and clutter-free. 

The second row is a three-person bench in base models, upgradable to two captain’s chairs in higher trims. Rear passengers get 38 inches of leg room, and their own set of USB chargers. Three children across the seat should be comfortable, although three adults may be a little pinched. 

In the third row, there are 33 inches of rear-seat leg room, which is enough for some adults for short trips. This year, Chevy added available USB ports in the wayback too, which should help warring tweens keep quiet on long hauls. 

Behind the third row, the Traverse offers 23 cubic feet of cargo room, which is more than similarly sized competitors from Dodge and Honda. 

With the third row folded, the Traverse’s cargo capacity balloons to 58 cubic feet, and with the second row folded it jumps to nearly 100 cubic feet, which is comparable to a traditional minivan. 

Review continues below
5

2021 Chevrolet Traverse

Safety

The Traverse has mostly good crash-test scores but lacks standard automatic emergency braking.

The 2021 Traverse hasn't yet made a date with a wall but considering its mechanical similarities to the 2020 version that has, we can make some specific predictions.

Federal testers gave the Traverse a five-star overall score for crashworthiness, and the IIHS gave it top "Good" scores in its battery. Only the Traverse's headlights rated "Acceptable" or "Poor."

Chevy charges more for automatic emergency braking on LT trims, which we think should be standard throughout the range. Only the Traverse Premier and High Country models are equipped with it as standard, along with active lane control and adaptive cruise control. The IIHS rated the system as "Superior" at avoiding forward crashes with cars and pedestrians at 12 and 25 mph. (The High Country model's ratings are slightly lower.)

Outward vision is a challenge in the big crossover and we recommend blind-spot monitors if they're not already equipped.

 

 

Review continues below
5

2021 Chevrolet Traverse

Features

Automatic emergency braking is the 2021 Traverse’s newest trick, among other good family features.

The 2021 Chevy Traverse is mostly well-equipped for family life on the road, but critically lacks one feature when life takes an unexpected turn.

It's a 5 for features based on its generously sized touchscreen on all models, which earns a point above average, but we take it back for automatic emergency braking that's not only extra money but also limited to top trim levels.

Base Traverse L models cost about $31,000 and include cloth upholstery, 18-inch wheels, power features, six USB ports, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive isn't available on base models.

The Traverse LT is where we'd spend our hard-earned money, about $36,700 with front-wheel drive or $40,400 with all-wheel drive. The Traverse LT offers a power-adjustable driver's seat, second-row captain's chairs, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and upgraded cloth. It also makes available more options including an 8.0-inch touchscreen, heated seats, a power liftgate, and parking sensors. All-wheel drive is a steep upgrade on LT versions, but includes those options as standard equipment.

At the top of the pile, the Traverse High Country costs more than $55,000 and includes all-wheel drive as standard equipment. It adds premium audio by Bose, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, power-adjustable front seats, heated first and second row seats, a wireless smartphone charger, active safety features, leather upholstery, 20-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, and cooled front seats.

Review continues below
4

2021 Chevrolet Traverse

Fuel Economy

Among three-row crossovers, the Traverse is relatively fuel-efficient.

It’s too early for official EPA data for the 2021 Traverse, but based on its similarities with last year’s version we can make some predictions.

When equipped with all-wheel drive, the Traverse earns an EPA rating of 17 mpg city, 25 highway, 20 combined. With front-wheel drive, that rating climbs a little to 18/27/21 mpg. Both numbers are a 4 on our fuel-economy scale. 

Compared to other three-row crossovers, that’s fair. The Ford Explorer rates up to 24 mpg combined and the Honda Pilot earns up to 23 mpg combined. Hybrid versions of the Explorer and Highlander do much better, however. 

Review continues below
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$29,800
MSRP based on FWD 4-Door L
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5.7
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 5
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety 5
Features 5
Fuel Economy 4
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