The Traverse is a perfect alternative to a minivan that comes with handsome looks, spacious cabin, and a brilliant engine+transmission combo

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The Chevrolet Traverse is a three-row SUV that can best be described as a better-looking and equally practical alternative to a minivan. It offers the best cargo space in the segment, and courtesy of its length and wheelbase, it doesn’t come with a cramped third row. A V-6 engine is the only option offered across the range, but will suffice the needs of most of the owners. There is no dearth of features, but most of them are either optional or offered only in the top trim, which means a complete, loaded SUV will be quite pricey. We got to test the Chevy Traverse in its top avatar, the High Country trim, with an all-wheel-drive configuration, and here are our impressions of this bowtie product.

Chevrolet Traverse Drivetrain, Fuel Economy, and Towing Capacity

  • 3.6-liter, V-6 engine
  • 310 Horsepower
  • 266 pound-feet of torque
  • Nine-speed automatic gearbox
  • Front-wheel- and all-wheel-drive layouts available
  • Towing capacity of 5,000 pounds
  • Combined fuel economy of 20 mpg
2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Driven Drivetrain
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The Chevy Traverse is offered with only one engine option all across the range. This is a 3.6-liter, V-6 engine that churns out 310 horses at 6,800 rpm and 266 pound-feet of torque at 2,800 rpm. The engine has enough power to keep you happy at all times. Power is sent to all either the front wheels or all the wheels via a slick nine-speed automatic gearbox.

The engine is smooth and silent, and coupled with the fantastic gearbox, you won’t find it lacking at any point. It features an auto start/stop system, too, and surprisingly, it was seamless and not as annoying as it is in most cars. A Drive Mode Selector is also offered with four modes to choose from – front-wheel-drive, all-wheel-drive, off-road, tow/haul. As for the performance figures, the Traverse takes 6.9 seconds to hit the 60 mph mark from a standstill and goes all the way up to 130 mph.

What Is The Traverse’s Fuel Economy?

2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Driven Exterior
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The Traverse isn’t the most fuel-efficient engine out there. It delivers 17 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined. The Explorer returns figures of 21 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 24 mpg combined. The Ford SUV comes with a smaller, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, so a higher economy is expected. However, the Pilot also features a six-pot engine that displaces at 3.5 liters, but it delivers 20 miles in the city, 27 miles on the highway, and 23 miles combined for every gallon of fuel burned, making it a much more fuel-efficient than the Traverse.

The Traverse comes with the biggest fuel tank – 21.7 gallons. The Explorer and the Pilot have 17.9- and 19.5- gallon fuel tanks, respectively.

How Much Can The Traverse Tow?

2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Driven Drivetrain
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The Chevy SUV can tow up to 5,000 pounds, which is on par with the Honda Pilot. The Explorer takes the cake here as it can tow 600 pounds more than its rivals.

Chevrolet Traverse Exterior Design

  • LED headlights and taillights
  • 18- to 20-inch wheel sizes
  • Eight different exterior shades
  • Dual-panel sunroof
  • Hands-free gesture tailgate
  • Wheelbase longer than the Explorer and Pilot
2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Driven Exterior
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The Traverse has ‘please all and offend none’ kind of looks. It isn’t a crowd puller, per se, but doesn’t look weird either. There is a single grille design, but every trim gets a different finish, unlike the Ford Explorer which comes with different grille designs. It features auto on/off headlights in the High Country trim. The headlights, by the way, are LEDs, and so are the daytime running lights.

The base trim comes with 18-inch wheels whereas the top trim rides on a 20-inch set. Despite breaching the $50,000-mark in its top avatar, the SUV comes with an undersized 18-inch spare tire. Why the cost-cutting, Chevy? A dual-panel power sunroof is also present on the top trim. The LED taillights have an uncanny resemblance to the pre-facelift Jaguar F-Pace’s design, doesn’t it? The SUV also comes with some other features like a hands-free gesture tailgate, heated wing mirrors, keyless entry keypad, etc.

2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Driven Interior
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The Chevy Traverse is offered in eight different exterior shades:

  • Satin Steel Metallic
  • Silver Ice Metallic
  • Summit White
  • Mosaic Black Metallic
  • Black Cherry Metallic
  • Graphite Metallic
  • Cajun Red Tintcoat ($495)
  • Iridescent Pearl Tricoat ($995)

How Big Is The Traverse?

2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Driven Exterior
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The Chevrolet Traverse is the longest vehicle of the lot. It measures 204.3 inches in length, whereas the Ford Explorer and the Honda Pilot measure 198.8- and 196.5 inches. It is 78.6 inches, which is exactly the same as the Honda Pilot, and just 0.3 inches less than the Ford Explorer. The heights of all the three SUVs are also almost the same, with the measurements rated at 70.7 inches for the Traverse, 70.6 inches for the Pilot, and 69.9 inches for the Ford Explorer.

Despite being 5.5 inches longer than the Explorer, the Traverse’s wheelbase at 120.9 inches is just 1.8 inches longer than the Blue Oval product. However, it is almost 10 inches longer than the Pilot’s 111-inch wheelbase. The Traverse also boasts of the widest tracks, measuring 67.3 inches at the front and 70 inches at the rear. The Explorer and the Pilot are narrowly beaten with 66.9-and 66.3-inch tracks, respectively.

2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Driven Exterior
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Chevy Traverse vs competition exterior dimensions
Chevy Traverse Ford Explorer Honda Pilot
Length 204.3 198.8 196.5
Width 78.6 78.9 78.6
Height 70.7 69.9 70.6
Wheelbase 120.9 119.1 111
Front Track 67.3 66.9 66.3
Rear Track 67 66.9 66.3

The Traverse’s ground clearance is rated at 7.5 inches, which means it sits 0.2 inches higher than the Pilot, but 0.4 inches lower than the Explorer. As for the angles, the approach and departure angles are rated at 15.5- and 23.2 degrees for the Chevy Traverse, 20.1- and 22 degrees for the Ford Explorer, and 19.7- and 20.8 degrees for the Honda Pilot.

How Much Does The Traverse Weigh?

2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Driven Exterior
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The Chevy Traverse weighs 4,362 pounds, which makes it just 17 pounds heavier than the Ford Explorer, but over 300 pounds heavier than the Honda Pilot.

Chevrolet Traverse Interior Design

  • Straight-forward, well-laid-out cabin
  • Premium cabin feels only in the top trim
  • Plenty of storage spaces
  • Fairly spacious third row
  • Best-in-class maximum cargo space of 98.2 cubic feet
  • Eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa
2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Driven Interior
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The High Country trim, when opted with the front-wheel-drive configuration, comes with a default Jet Black theme as the only option. But, when you opt for the all-wheel-drive layout, you get an option to pick between that and a dual-tone Jet Black/Loft Brown interior theme that comes with perforated leather upholstery for the seats. Our test vehicle came with the latter. It looks very plush and premium overall. Even the door pads and the console surrounds feature the same upholstery. In terms of seating, the Traverse comes with seven- and eight-seat configurations, the difference being only the second row where you can opt for either a bench seat or captain chairs.

The Traverse features a meaty four-spoke steering wheel that comes with a digital-analog instrument cluster behind it. The multi-information display was a 4.2-inch screen here, but the lower variants come with a smaller 3.5-inch screen. There is plenty of storage space all around the cabin, including 10 cup holders! Chevy even offers USB ports in every row.

2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Driven Interior
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Some interesting features on the top High Country trim include:

  • Automatic heated steering wheel
  • Heated rear outboard seats
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control
  • Wireless charging
  • Keyless Entry
  • Start/Stop system
  • Memory settings
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Chevy Traverse Technology

2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Driven Interior
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The Traverse comes with a seven-inch touchscreen system on the lower models and an eight-inch touchscreen on the higher trims. Both of them run on Chevy’s Infotainment 3 system. The top High Country trim also features navigation. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are offered as standard. The system also allows to directly download apps like Spotify, Pandora, Fox Sports, etc. Chevy is also offering in-built Alexa that lets you connect to your smart home devices while you’re on the road. For you audiophiles, Chevy also offers a 10-speaker Bose audio system setup on the top trim.

Is The Traverse Spacious?

2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Driven Interior
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The Traverse is fairly spacious, but so are the rivals. It is longer than both the other SUVs, but Chevy seems to have made use of that to increase the cargo space. Even the longer wheelbase isn’t translated very effectively since its legroom is the best only in the third row.

In the front, it offers a headroom of 41.3 inches and shoulder room of 62.1 inches. The Explorer and the Pilot offer 40.7- and 40.1 inches of headroom, and 61.8- and 62 inches of shoulder room. The Traverse offers the least amount of hip room, measuring 58.1 inches, which is an inch less than the Pilot and 1.1 inches less than the Explorer. With a 41-inch legroom, it is almost on par with the Pilot’s 40.9-inch rating, but two inches less than the Explorer.

2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Driven Interior
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It’s the same in the case of the second row as well. The Traverse offers headroom of 40 inches, shoulder room of 62.2 inches, hip room of 56.9 inches, and legroom of 38.4 inches. The Explorer’s dimensions stand at 40.5 inches of headroom, 61.9 inches of shoulder room, 59.1 inches of hip room, and 39 inches of legroom. As for the Pilot, it offers 40.2-, 62-, 57.3-, and 38.4 inches of headroom, shoulder room, hip room, and legroom.

The Traverse comes with a third-row headroom of 38.2 inches, whereas the Explorer and the Pilot offer 38.9 inches each. It offers 57.5 inches of shoulder room, which is more than the Explorer’s 54.6-inch shoulder room, but 0.1 inches less than the Pilot. The Traverse has a slight edge over the other two SUVs when it comes to the hip room and legroom in the third row. It offers 48.5 of hip room, which is almost eight inches more than the Explorer and almost four inches more than the Pilot. With 33.5 inches of legroom, it beats the Ford and the Honda which have ratings of 32.2- and 31.9 inches, respectively.

Chevy Traverse vs competition interior dimensions
Chevy Traverse Ford Explorer Honda Pilot
Front Headroom 41.3 40.7 40.1
Front Shoulder Room 62.1 61.8 62
Front Hip Room 58.1 59.2 59.1
Front Leg Room 41 43 40.9
Rear Headroom 40 40.5 40.2
Rear Shoulder Room 62.2 61.9 62
Rear Hip Room 56.9 59.1 57.3
Rear Leg Room 38.4 39 38.4
3rd row headroom 38.2 38.9 38.9
3rd row shoulder room 57.5 54.6 57.6
3rd row hip room 48.5 40.9 44.6
3rd row leg room 33.5 32.2 31.9

How Much Cargo Can The Traverse Carry?

2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Driven Interior
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Since the Traverse is the longest, it boasts of the best cargo capacity. With all the seats in place, it offers 23 cubic feet of space, which is 4.5 cubic feet more than the Pilot and 4.8 cubic feet more than the Explorer. Flip down the third row and the SUV offers 57.8 cubic feet of space. This is around two cubic feet more than the Pilot’s 55.9 cubic feet of space, and almost 10 cubic feet more than the Explorer’s 47.9 cubic feet of space.

With all the second and third rows flipped down, the Chevy offers 98.2 cubic feet of space at your disposal. In comparison, the Ford SUV offers 87.8 cubic feet of space, whereas the Honda offers only 83.9 cubic feet of cargo space.

Chevrolet Traverse Pricing

2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Driven Exterior
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Chevy offers the Traverse in seven different trims, which includes two iterations of the LT trim. Here’s the starting price of every trim:

  • L – $30,995
  • LS – $34,095
  • LT Cloth – $36,595
  • LT Leather – $40,295
  • RS – $44,895
  • Premier – $46,995
  • High Country – $52,095

Is The Chevrolet Traverse Better Than The Ford Explorer?

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Ford has had the Explorer SUV in its lineup since the early 90s. The Explorer is available in five trims in total. The top model is plush and luxurious, and comes with an impressive list of features. Depending on the trim, the Explorer comes with two engine options – a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder mill that makes 300 horses and 310 pound-feet of torque, and a 3.0-liter, V-6 EcoBoost that churns out 365 ponies and 380 pound-feet of torque. In the sporty ST trim, this V-6 produces 400 horses and 415 pound-feet of torque. Ford also offers a 3.3-liter hybrid engine here. The Explorer can tow between 5,300 and 5,600 pounds, again, depending on the trim and configuration. The Ford Explorer starts at $32,225 and goes all the way up to $54,480.

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Chevy Traverse vs Ford Explorer
Chevy Traverse Ford Explorer
Engine 3.6L DOHC direct injection 2.3-liter EcoBoost I-4
Fuel Premium Premium
Horsepower 310 @ 6800 300 HP
Torque 266 @ 2800 310 LB-FT
Transmission Hydra-Matic 9T65 nine-speed automatic 10-speed automatic with SelectShift
Drive AWD AWD
Towing Capacity 5000 5600
Fuel Economy 17/25/20 21/28/24
Curb Weight 4362 4345
Fuel Capacity 21.7 17.9

Read our full review on the Ford Explorer

Is The Chevrolet Traverse Better Than The Honda Pilot?

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If you’re ready to compromise on the aesthetics, the Honda Pilot is a pretty good proposition. It comes with a spacious cabin and plenty of creature comforts and tech features. The Pilot is offered in seven different trims but comes with just one engine option – a 3.5-liter, V-6 mill that makes 280 horses and 262 pound-feet of torque. When compared to the rivals, these figures are lackluster. As a utilitarian SUV and as a replacement for a minivan, the Pilot ticks all the boxes. But, if you want something sportier and that you can connect with, there are other options in the market. The Pilot starts at $32,550 and tops out at $48,720.

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Chevy Traverse vs Honda Pilot
Chevy Traverse Honda Pilot
Engine 3.6L DOHC direct injection 3.5-liter V-6
Fuel Premium Premium
Horsepower 310 @ 6800 280 @ 6000
Torque 266 @ 2800 262 lb-ft @ 4700
Transmission Hydra-Matic 9T65 nine-speed automatic 9-Speed Automatic
Drive AWD AWD
Towing Capacity 5000 5000
Fuel Economy 17/25/20 20 / 27 / 23
Curb Weight 4362 4158
Fuel Capacity 21.7 19.5

Read our full review on the Honda Pilot

Chevrolet Traverse Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Driven Interior
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  • Rear Vision Camera
  • Rear Camera Mirror
  • HD Surround Vision
  • Teen Driver Technology
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Forward Collision Alert
  • Front Pedestrian Braking
  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert
  • Rear Park Assist
  • Rear Vision Camera
  • Rear Camera Mirror
  • HD Surround Vision
  • Teen Driver Technology
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Forward Collision Alert
  • Front Pedestrian Braking
  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert
  • Rear Park Assist

Chevrolet Traverse Warranty

2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Driven Exterior
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The company offers a bumper-to-bumper limited warranty of 3 years/36,000 miles, and a 5-year/60,000 miles powertrain limited warranty on the Traverse.

Chevrolet Traverse Optional Packages

2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Driven Exterior
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Hit The Road Package: $1,245

  • Bright roof-mounted cross rails
  • Molded assist steps

Floor Liner Package: $405

  • Integrated cargo liner
  • Floor liners in all the three rows

Interior Protection Package: $270

  • All-weather cargo mat
  • All-weather floor mats in all three rows

Cargo Package: $195

  • Retractable cargo shade
  • Vertical cargo net

Roadside Safety Package: $145

  • First Aid Kit
  • Highway Safety Kit

Black Accent Package: $615

  • Front and rear black bowtie emblems
  • Black finish grille

Chrome Essentials Package: $275

  • Bright sill plates
  • Chrome mirror caps

LT Premium Package: $3,095

  • Rear camera mirror
  • HD Surround Vision
  • Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Premium System with Navigation
  • Eight-inch touchscreen
  • 10-speaker Bose premium audio system
  • 120-volt power outlet
  • 20-inch all-season black wall tires

Blackout Package: $1,185

  • Black fog lamps
  • Black exterior badging
  • Black bowtie emblems
  • Black finish grille
  • Black rear license plate applique
  • Black mirror caps

Chevy Safety Assist: $625

  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Forward Collision Alert
  • Front Pedestrian Braking
  • Following Distance Indicator
  • Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning
  • IntelliBeam

Convenience and Driver Confidence Package: $1,795

  • Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Plus system
  • Eight-inch touchscreen
  • Navigation
  • Multi-color Driver Information Center display
  • Heated front seats
  • Universal Home Remote
  • Remote Start
  • Power programmable liftgate
  • Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Rear Park Assist

Redline Edition: $2,495

  • 20-inch Gloss Black painted aluminum wheels with Red accents
  • Gloss Black window surround
  • Dark tail lamps
  • Black mirror caps and door handles
  • Black painted rocker and wheel openings with Black Ice inserts
  • Black Ice grille and license plate applique
  • Black Ice fog lamp bezels
  • Black Traverse badges with Red outline
  • Black Chevrolet exterior bowties
  • Black roof rails
  • Dual Skyscape two-panel power sunroof
  • Trailering equipment finished in Iridescent Pearl Tricoat, Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White, or Mosaic Black Metallic
  • Leave it
    • Interior feels cheap on lower trims
    • A smaller, four-pot turbo engine should be offered, like in the Explorer

Source: Photo Credit: Phil Daix

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read full bio
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