Earlier this year I drove the excellent Acadia AT4, so now it was time to try out the 2020 Chevrolet Traverse AWD in High Country spec, the Chevy version of GMC’s Denali. The Traverse is enormous inside thanks to an 8.4 inch longer wheelbase than on the Acadia (120.9 inches vs. 112.5 inches). It’s also wider than the Acadia by 2.8 inches in the front and 2.5 inches in the rear. That gives the Traverse a simply massive 98.2 cu ft of cargo space with the 2nd and 3rd rows folded.
The High-Country trim offers lots of leather and soft feel plastics and a host of additional standard options over all other trims such as Enhanced Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Power 60/40 split-folding third row bench seat, standard all-wheel drive, a heavy-duty cooling system, IntelliBeam headlamps and some nifty 20-inch polished aluminum wheels.
GM uses its now familiar 3.6-liter V-6 which provides 310 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque, plenty to move the Traverse from 0-60 in 6.5 seconds. The V6 is mated to GM’s excellent nine speed automatic transmission.
The Chevy Traverse is bigger than its competition in nearly every way!
We didn’t have a chance to try any real off road driving due to time constraints, but we tried all the other modes. Setting off in 2WD with the right pedal floored induces wheel spin so we kept it in AWD all week. With AWD engaged the Traverse will go 0-60 in 6.5 seconds, not bad at all and quicker than most rivals.
On The Road
The Traverse is surprisingly quick and can be hustled along in a pretty car like way, in fact, it’s not truck like at all. It steers well, stops when asked, even from high speeds and it purveys an overall sense of satisfaction without trying too hard. Even if you dive too fast into a corner, yes, the front end pushes a bit but then it regains its composure and powers through. Chevy’s engineers have done a masterful job in suspension and steering tuning.
The ride is very good and isolates passengers from San Diego’s pothole strewn roads. Throttle and brake inputs are super smooth, making progress sublime and body roll is kept to a minimum. Despite having AWD, it’s not going to function like a Jeep Grand Cherokee off road, seeing that it only has 7.2 inches of ground clearance, but pick a trail with few rocks and you can certainly get somewhat lost in the wilderness.
The Traverse uses a nine-speed automatic transmission, which gives its power-train a very high level of refinement, shifts are almost imperceptible, and it never feels like it gets caught out.
I averaged 16.5 mpg during one week of testing, which is not great, in fact closer to the EPA City number of 17 than the combined of 20. I imagine most owners should be able to get close to 20 mpg given the type of vehicle it is. We tend to drive hard.
The front seats are very comfortable with electric adjustment for both driver and passenger. There’s also tons of space in front, a handy storage bin in the center armrest and that signature GM hidden compartment in the center of the dash that is raised and lowered with the push of a button. The second row feels just as spacious as the front and my tester had the second-row captain’s chairs, First Class anyone?
The third row is tight, kids will fit but since the third row sits directly over the rear axle, longer journeys could be tiresome. Rear-seat access, however, is excellent, especially entering from the passenger side. Go ahead and fold those seats down and you’ve tons of room for cargo. Fold the second row as well and you’ll have more space than almost anything in this class, it’s cavernous and the load floor is completely flat.
The Infotainment 3 system is standard offering in the Traverse, and it works great, the controls are easy to use it’s a huge step forward from the system it replaced. The touch screen is complemented by physical buttons for power button and volume, a home button and a back button. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard as expected.
As mentioned, my tester was the High-Country Trim, and it comes with most of the options you would consider. The bad news is the sticker is $54,790, which is a lot. Of course there are other less expensive trims you could choose from and if, as in my case, you don’t need so much space, then GM has another option in the shape of the excellent Acadia AT4.
BASE PRICE: $53,200
AS TESTED PRICE: $54,790
VEHICLE TYPE: Front-engine, front-/all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
ENGINE 3.6-liter DOHC 24-valve V-6
TRANSMISSION: 9-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
POWER: 310 hp @ 6,800 rpm
TORQUE: 266 lb-ft @ 2,800 rpm
O–60 mph 6.5 secs
CARGO VOLUME: 23 cu ft, 57.8 cu ft 3rd row folded, 98.2 cu ft with second and 3rd rows folded
CURB WEIGHT: 4,362 lb
FUEL ECONOMY Combined/city/highway: 20/17/25 mpg
OUR FUEL ECONOMY: 16.5 mpg
PROS: Great ride, spacious inside, moves along at a good pace
CONS: Not particularly economical, thirsty
2020 Chevrolet Traverse AWD High Country Review