Transmission shifts smoothly.
Fuel economy lags behind competition.
The 2019 Chevy Traverse is ideal for growing families who need to carry extra cargo during the day. It received a complete redesign last year and gets more legroom in the second and third rows. In this regard, it’s set up well against its three-row Japanese competitors like the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-9, and the Subaru Ascent.
The Traverse is one of the roomiest three-row crossovers available. And that suited us well this week as we drove the 2019 Chevrolet Traverse AWD LT (Leather).
What’s New For 2019
The Chevy Traverse carries over unchanged for the 2019 model year but gets a newly available eight-inch touchscreen.
Features & Options: LT Packages Add Goodies
The 2019 Chevrolet Traverse AWD LT Leather ($41,000) comes standard with second-row captain’s chairs in place of a bench. This reduces seating capacity to seven but improves accessibility and comfort. The LT also gets roof rails, mirror-integrated turn signals, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat.
The LT also comes standard with leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power-adjustable passenger seat, color driver information display, power liftgate, and a remote start. Safety features include rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. It does lack automatic braking like some of the competition, however. With the 2019 Chevy Traverse, some safety features are only available on the top trims.
The LT Premium package ($3,095) added 20-inch wheels, navigation, a 10-speaker Bose sound system, 120-volt power outlet, auto-dimming rearview mirror with a built-in rearview camera display, and a top-down parking camera.
Total MSRP including destination: $45,090. By comparison, the 2019 Chevy Traverse starts at $29,930.
Interior Highlights: Impressive Storage
Stepping inside the newly-remodeled Traverse reveals a big, comfortable cabin for active families. The Traverse is one of the largest vehicles in the class and it pays dividends for families on the inside. There’s abundant space for adults in all three rows, and getting in and out is easy. You’ll have plenty of room for car seats, sporting equipment, water bottles, the kids’ electronics, and anything else you need for the week ahead.
It’s easy for someone of any size to find the perfect driving position with the eight-way power adjustable seat, although visibility out back is limited due to larger rear pillars. However, the rear cross-traffic alert and blind spot monitoring came in handy to help with the limited visibility.
Up front there’s lots of storage and the wide console is impressive.
In the second-row, the captain’s chairs are particularly appealing because it makes for easier to access the third row. Second-row passengers have more than 38 inches of leg clearance, with rear-seat riders getting 33 inches. Behind the third row, there’s a generous 23 cubic feet of cargo-carrying ability. With the third row folded flat, cargo space passes 58 cubic feet, reaching 98.2 cubic feet with only the front seatbacks upright.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The 2019 Traverse carries on with the same 3.6-liter V6 from before the remodel, but it gets an additional 29 horsepower. Totals now come in at 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft. of torque. The engine couples nicely with a nine-speed automatic, a pairing that helps achieve up to 17/25 city/highway and 20 combined mpg with all-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive models improve to 18/27 city/highway and 21 combined.
If you’re in the market for something with a bit more fuel economy, select the sporty-ish RS trim, which gives you a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. You’ll get 20/26 city/highway mpg, and even though you sacrifice a few horsepower (down to 257), you’ll gain a few lb-ft. of torque (up to 295) thanks to that turbocharger. The 2.0-liter turbo engine is only available in front-wheel drive.
When compared to the competition, the 2019 Chevy Traverse ranks dead last in terms of fuel economy. Although not as large, the smaller Equinox does much better in terms of fuel economy.
Related: The new Chevy Equinox is perfect for city dwellers. Here is our full review.
Driving Dynamics: Stable But One Glaring Drawback
The Traverse has sufficient power for any family and their driving needs. It’s not going to win any races, but who buys an SUV to be a performance car? The bigger Traverse feels stable on the open road, and we felt reasonably confident in the mountains west of Denver.
Traverse comes with a smooth-shifting nine-speed automatic that never had to hunt to find the right gear. That’s not easy driving from Denver (5,280 feet) all the way up to 8,000 feet elevation. The 2019 Chevy Traverse handles and steers like most other large three-row SUVS. It leans a little in the corners but overall, it feels steady at highway speeds.
One drawback is the optional all-wheel drive system, which functions too much like a setup from the past. The Traverse has a truck-like dial on the console that can be switched from 2WD to 4WD. We like the full-time all-wheel drive systems you don’t have to think about. An all-wheel drive system that simply does the right thing when you need it, without driver input, is much better for families on the go.
Conclusion: Solid B+
Chevy took direct aim at growing families when they redesigned the Traverse. The LT comes nicely equipped and has plenty of passenger and cargo room. Overall, the Traverse is worth a look if you need a spacious family hauler.
Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy
2019 Chevy Traverse Gallery