2019 Chevrolet Traverse

Performance


#9 out of 20 in Midsize SUVs

$29,930 MSRP
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2019 Chevrolet Traverse Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.1

The 2019 Chevrolet Traverse won't satisfy people looking for a thrilling driving experience, but that's not its goal. This SUV aims to be a family-friendly cruiser with a smooth ride and competent handling, and that's what it is. It gets average fuel economy ratings.

  • "The sum total of the new Traverse's added power, reduced mass and low-ratio first gear makes for a noticeable jump in performance." -- New York Daily News (2018)
  • "Shifts feel, as the bard of Honolulu, Bruno Mars, put it, 'smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy.' There's never the sense of constant gear shuffling that we've noticed in many other nine-speeds, and I never detected a moment's indecision when a change of mind about throttle position can result in the gearbox clunking into a gear it belatedly determined was best." -- Motor Trend (2018)
  • "Ride and handling, like the power, are average for the class. I was mostly comfortable, even after a few hundred miles of Michigan roads that occasionally resemble the cratered surface of the moon. The steering feel is as vacant as a dorm room in July. No one's home. Still, the suspension and steering did help the Traverse feel smaller than it actually is. It's big, but unlike the Ford Explorer, it doesn't feel like it." -- Autoblog (2018)

Acceleration and Power

Nearly every Traverse comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that puts out 310 horsepower. The RS trim offers a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 255 horsepower. A nine-speed automatic transmission comes with both engines.

You won't blow by other vehicles in the Traverse, but it moves well enough, and the engines never feel underpowered. The transmission delivers incredibly smooth shifts, and the automatic stop-start feature works better than in many rivals.

With the V6 engine, the Traverse earns an EPA-estimated 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Those are typical ratings for a midsize SUV, though some class rivals are more efficient. The turbo-four engine gets similar ratings – 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

  • "The Traverse feels decidedly average. It has sufficient power, but it's no speed demon." -- Edmunds
  • "While it's not necessarily quick, the V6 never feels like it's struggling or out of breath. It's adequate and should be good enough for most people. … The nine-speed transmission was pleasantly surprising. Unlike the nine-speed in the Honda Pilot or various Jeeps, this one never felt like it was hunting for the perfect gear. The auto stop/start system is one of the best around, with a very minimal delay. Still, I wish I could turn it off." -- Autoblog (2018)
  • "There's no lack of power in the 2018 Traverse. Its 3.6-liter V6 engine smoothly puts 310 horsepower to the ground through the smooth shifting 9-speed automatic transmission. Unlike many other 8-, 9-, and 10-speed front-wheel-drive transmissions we've experienced lately, this one feels just right, downshifting quickly, getting to higher gears swiftly, and providing surprisingly good fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)

Handling and Braking

Chevrolet designed the Traverse as a 3-row family hauler, and it drives with that mission in mind. The ride remains smooth even when the pavement gets rough, and while it hardly feels nimble, the Traverse is easy to drive and maneuver, even in tight spaces. Front-wheel drive comes standard. All-wheel drive is available.

  • "The Traverse changes direction well enough, with a moderate amount of body roll movement due to its size and soft suspension. We weren't expecting a sporty drive experience out of the Traverse, but class leaders such as the Honda Pilot and the Mazda CX-9 feel more composed." -- Edmunds
  • "It's probably the smoothest and most comfortable ride among SUVs in this segment. … The jounce control means that dive isn't bad when sudden brake lights ahead force a harder-than-usual stop. The steering is precise and light, offering good feedback, though the ratio isn't so quick as to feel too twitchy for such a big, tall sport/utility. This is a comfortable, well-balanced SUV that will suit a family with a sportier, more enthusiast-oriented car on the other side of the garage." -- Automobile Magazine (2018)
  • "The suspension is equally adept at quelling bumps big and small, all while keeping the Traverse from leaning too far in corners. The sharp steering puts its electrical assist on the rack instead of the steering column, resulting in better feel, and the brakes not only provide sure stops but feel good doing it. We're not trying to oversell it, and the new Traverse isn't anybody's first choice for fun on a twisty mountain road, but neither is it intended to be. But on drives long and short, this SUV is surprisingly satisfying." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
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