Is the 2020 Chevy Traverse Worth a Test Drive?

By Scott KingLast Updated October 20, 2020
Photo Courtesy: Chevrolet

Ready to ditch the minivan for something a little sportier? The 2020 Chevrolet Traverse has quickly climbed the ranks to become one of the year's most popular midsize SUVs, especially among large families. With an impressive combination of passenger and cargo space, available features and great safety ratings, the 2020 Chevy Traverse is a solid option if you're looking for a reliable upgrade.

That said, you should know the full range of the Traverse’s strengths and weaknesses before making a decision. Buying any SUV is a major commitment, and there are a few things you should know before going all-in on a 2020 Chevy Traverse.

A Spacious and Comfortable Interior

If you're looking for plenty of room for kids, cargo and anything in between, then the 2020 Traverse will not disappoint. It comes with three rows of seating which, depending on the model, can seat either seven or eight people. The seats in the second row are also equipped with Smart Slide technology, making the third row much easier for passengers to access. There’s even enough room for adults, although as with many SUVs, the space is still more challenging to access. And if storage is more your thing, you can fold down the second and third-row seats to enjoy 98.2 cubic ft of cargo space, complete with two hidden storage compartments.

Photo Courtesy: Chevrolet

What’s more, all of that space is comfortable as well. The cabin is also equipped with noise-canceling technology, a two-panel power sunroof and front seats that come complete with heating and ventilating options. The L, LS and LT Cloth trims feature standard cloth seating, while the LT Leather, RS, Premier and High Country models sport premium stitched leather.

Impressive Engine and Towing Power

All 2020 Traverse models come with a 3.6L V6 engine paired with 9-speed automatic transmission, making for a comfortable, smooth drive. If you're looking to attach a small trailer or do any other kind of towing, then you won't be disappointed, as the Traverse comes with an impressive towing capacity of up to 5,000 lbs.

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The Traverse even offers the ability to select different traction mods. You can cruise along with the front-wheel-drive if you're looking for fuel-efficiency or ramp up to four-wheel-drive when road conditions become more challenging. Meanwhile, an off-road setting can give your rear wheels the extra torque they need for handling trickier terrain, and an optional towing mode can make hauling a trailer a much safer experience.

Superior Safety Features

Speaking of safety, the 2020 Traverse earned a 5-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Organization (NHTSA). While the base trim comes standard with safety features that include an antilock braking system (ABS), electronic stability control and driveline traction control to a rear camera, you can also upgrade for additional protection, including forward collision and lane departure warnings and high-definition surround vision for the rear camera. The latter can give you a digital bird's eye view of your surroundings so that there aren't any surprises in the parking lot.

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You'll also rest easier if you ever loan your car to any adolescent drivers if you opt for the Traverse's Teen Driver feature. It can be used to prevent the car from starting without all passengers wearing seat belts, produce an in-vehicle report card with information about how your teen did during their drive and more.

The Fine Print

While the Traverse is a decidedly safe car, many of its best safety features, including some more advanced driver-assist technologies, aren’t available on the base L trim. Although drivers who plan on investing in a costlier trim may not notice the difference, this can be a big disappointment for drivers on a more limited budget, especially because some of the Traverse’s competitors, such as the 2020 Kia Telluride or Toyota Highlander, come with those features by default.

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There are also some places where the Traverse’s performance doesn’t hold up as well. Even though the Traverse’s combined 20 mpg isn’t the worst around, some competitors, such as the Honda Pilot, outclass it. The Traverse also doesn’t deliver quite as smooth of a ride as some of its competitors, in part because of its generous size.

The Final Verdict

The 2020 Chevy Traverse is definitely worth a test drive if you’re routinely moving a lot of passengers or cargo. Whether you're looking for a great vehicle for a large family or the perfect SUV to cart around bikes or work supplies, Chevy has designed the Traverse to be about as roomy as it gets. If you opt for one of the top tier trims, you can choose from a variety of first-class safety and technological features, some of which are optional.

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Although this SUV does have its shortcomings, for most drivers who meet the above description, the Traverse will probably suit them just fine. Which trim to choose may be a harder conversation to have, but overall, the Traverse is worthy of consideration and perhaps even ownership.