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2024 Chevrolet Traverse Has Size on Its Side but Lacks Charisma

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General Motors has been dominant in the full-size SUV class for decades now, with Chevy Tahoes and Suburbans and their GMC and Cadillac equivalents commanding huge market share and even bigger profits. So it makes sense that GM would try to apply some of those same lessons to its latest generation of mid-size three-row SUVs. The 2024 Chevrolet Traverse is the first to reach a third generation, and the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave will follow for 2025. The Traverse was already bigger than its peers, and the new one looks more trucky than ever. With a blunt new front end and squared-off shoulders, it’s become even more Tahoe-like.

In keeping with its more rugged look, the Traverse lineup now includes a Z71 off-road trim for the first time. It joins the flood of available rugged-esque models such as the Kia Telluride X-Pro, Honda Pilot TrailSport, and numerous others. Standard equipment on the Z71 includes all-terrain tires, ZF frequency-based adaptive dampers, a twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system, and a 1.2-inch suspension lift. This isn’t meant to be a rock-crawler, but it does have off-road-specific drive modes, underbody skid plates, and extra ground clearance for peace of mind if you frequently point your Traverse toward muddy two-tracks or gnarly gravel roads.

The sporty-looking RS model returns, and it too features the upgraded dampers but gets 22-inch wheels and blacked-out trim. Chevy also offers its Super Cruise hands-free driver-assist technology as standard equipment on the RS, which is the most expensive of the bunch with a starting price of $55,595. The more mainstream LS and LT trims, in the low-$40,000 range, target the heart of the three-row-SUV market, and the Traverse’s core mission hasn’t changed much despite its boxier styling. This remains a utilitarian family bus above all, and while its 204.5-inch length is within half a foot of a Tahoe’s, the Traverse’s unibody construction makes it a bit more maneuverable and carlike in its manners while also offering better fuel economy than its V-8-powered, truck-based big siblings.

New Turbo Four-Cylinder Engine

To that end, the Traverse’s engine compartment is the one area that has embraced downsizing with this new generation. In place of the old 3.6-liter V-6 is a new turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-four (there was a 2.0-liter turbo four offered during the previous-gen Traverse’s run, but most models used the V-6). Related to the 2.7-liter turbo four found in GM’s pickup trucks, this engine puts up big numbers—328 horsepower and 326 pound-feet of torque—that outpace many others in this class. At the same time, the combined EPA estimate for front-wheel-drive models goes up to 23 mpg, from 21 mpg previously, and the all-wheel-drive model now gets 21 mpg combined, an increase of 1 mpg.

The Traverse’s turbo four doesn’t feel quite as strong as its output figure would suggest, and we think that’s partially because of its sluggish throttle tip-in and the vehicle’s stated curb weight of as high as nearly 4800 pounds, which puts it among the heavier entries in the three-row segment and about 200 pounds heavier than before. The engine sounds gruff under hard acceleration, and it sends plenty of noise into the cabin even during more sedate driving. Perhaps the Buick Enclave will feature additional sound-deadening material for better NVH isolation.

The Traverse corners well enough, with good body control, and it has the same firm and responsive brake pedal that has become a GM trademark across vehicle segments. But the slow steering makes it drive every bit as big as it is, causing it to seem as if Chevrolet purposely tuned this model to feel more like a Tahoe. We drove the Z71, which has slightly duller responses due to its chunkier tires, and the RS, which is a bit sharper thanks to its more aggressive wheel-and-tire package, but neither version was particularly engaging to drive.

Lots of Space Inside

The Traverse’s interior plays more on space and versatility than it does on plush accommodations. The biggest upgrade from the old model is the new screen setup, which includes an 11.0-inch digital gauge cluster and a 17.7-inch central touchscreen. But the materials even in the higher-trim RS and Z71 models aren’t particularly nice, and the dashboard design is uninspiring. But for people-hauling duty, there’s plenty to recommend. The airy cabin offers good space in both the second and third rows. The third row also has a decent seating position, with a bottom cushion that doesn’t force your knees into your chest in the same way many other three-row SUVs do. If you slide the second row forward, there’s just enough legroom back there for adults.

Dimensionally, this latest Traverse is all but identical to last year’s model—as before, there’s also quite a lot of cargo space, even behind the third row, and a deep storage bin beneath the load floor. The third row folds flat to open up the space, although it won’t fold if the available second-row captain’s chairs are in their rearmost position. You have to slide them forward first for the third row to have enough clearance to fold, a slight annoyance that could bother those who raise and lower the third row frequently.

Space sells in this segment, and it remains the Traverse’s chief calling card even as the new generation ushers in blockier styling, an off-road trim level, and new technology features. These new offerings don’t move the needle much in terms of increasing the Traverse’s desirability, and the new engine isn’t as convincing of an upgrade as its numbers would suggest. The new Traverse still reads as a midpack player to us, but for those who use all three rows of seats or need as much cargo space as possible, Chevy’s mid-sizer remains a pragmatic choice.

Specifications

Specifications

2024 Chevrolet Traverse
Vehicle Type: front-engine, front- or front/all-wheel-drive, 7–8-passenger, 4-door wagon

PRICE

LS, $38,995; LS AWD, $40,995; LT, $41,395; LT AWD, $43,395; Z71, $47,795; RS, $55,595; RS AWD, $57,595

ENGINE

turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 152 in3, 2494 cm3
Power: 328 hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque: 326 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm

TRANSMISSION

8-speed automatic

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 120.9 in
Length: 204.5 in
Width: 79.6 in
Height: 69.9–72.1 in
Passenger Volume, F/M/R: 60–63/53–55/40 ft3
Cargo Volume, Behind F/M/R: 98/57/23 ft3
Curb Weight (C/D est): 4550–4800 lb

PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)

60 mph: 6.5–6.7 sec
100 mph: 17.2–17.4 sec
1/4-Mile: 14.8–15.0 sec

Top Speed: 130 mph

EPA FUEL ECONOMY

Combined/City/Highway: 21–23/19–20/24–27 mpg

Despite being raised on a steady diet of base-model Hondas and Toyotas—or perhaps because of it—Joey Capparella nonetheless cultivated an obsession for the automotive industry throughout his childhood in Nashville, Tennessee. He found a way to write about cars for the school newspaper during his college years at Rice University, which eventually led him to move to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for his first professional auto-writing gig at Automobile Magazine. He has been part of the Car and Driver team since 2016 and now lives in New York City.  


Source: Reviews - aranddriver.com


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