12 Best Family Cars: 2019 Chevrolet Traverse
- Seating for up to eight, but not a huge vehicle
- 10 cupholders, six USB ports
- SmartSlide second-row seats
- Available collision-avoidance braking
- Sporty RS model now available with V6
- Base prices range from $30,925 to $43,895 | Price yours
The Chevrolet Traverse, now in its second year following a major redesign for 2018, continues to garner honors as a roomy and well-equipped family hauler. It’s today’s version of a family station wagon; in other words, it’s a 3-row crossover SUV with available all-wheel drive and seating for up to eight, plus handy conveniences such as six USB ports and 10 cupholders. The folding 3-seat rear bench may not face rearward (as they did in some wagons of yore), but it’s more spacious than you might expect back there, with enough room for teenagers and easy third-row access from the curb side.
In addition to being able to carry most of your kid’s basketball team to the game, the 2019 Traverse boasts plenty of storage space for lawn chairs, strollers and the like. There’s 23 cubic feet behind the third row, nearly 60 with the back row folded, and almost 100 when both rear rows are folded down. There’s also plenty of small stowage spots for knickknacks, including a handy compartment behind the Traverse’s display screen and a spot hidden beneath the rear cargo floor.
The Traverse’s SmartSlide second-row seat, a standard item, makes it easy to get in the third row, aided by a curbside seat that can be tipped and slid forward, even when it’s carrying a forward-facing child seat. The 2019 Traverse also has Teen Driver, a great aid for families with children of driving age. This standard feature, which prevents some safety systems from being shut off, lets parents set driving parameters and even create a driver scorecard for use as an educational tool. Also, when you order your Traverse with the new LT Premium Package, it comes with Surround Vision, which works to prevent low-speed back-up tragedies. Its four cameras provide the Traverse driver with a potentially life-saving 360-degree view around the vehicle. Last, a few of the top Traverse models are available with a Convenience and Driver Confidence Package that includes an 8-inch color touch screen, a power liftgate, a blind-spot warning system and rear cross-traffic alert -- desirable features all.
Two smooth powertrains
The standard engine in the 2019 Chevy Traverse is a 3.6-liter V6 mated to a smooth-sifting 9-speed automatic transmission. This refined powerplant, which puts out 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, feels relaxed in this latest Traverse, which is some 350 pounds lighter than the previous version from 2017. A turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine remains available, but only in the front-wheel-drive RS (there is a new all-wheel-drive RS for 2019, but only with the V6). Note: Although the turbo 4-cylinder puts out 257 horsepower and a stout 295 lb-ft of torque, it drops the maximum trailering capacity of the 2019 Traverse from 6,000 pounds to 1,500. Nor is it quite as efficient as the front-drive V6 model on the highway, returning only 26 mpg versus 27 mpg in EPA testing.
Excellent driving manners
In KBB testing, we’ve been impressed with the way the Chevy Traverse maintains its poise on twisty and rough roads. While this SUV – an excellent alternative to a minivan – is no sports car, its ride is far from floaty and the electric-assist steering offers just the right amount of road feel. All told, we like the 2019 Chevrolet Traverse because it occupies a sweet spot – a carlike unibody SUV with more seats than, say, a new Chevy Blazer, but also none of the around-town unwieldiness of its larger truck-based sibling, the Suburban.
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