By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 7.8
The 2016 Chevrolet Traverse 3-row crossover SUV blends the size, higher ride height and family-hauling abilities of a traditional SUV like the Chevy Tahoe with the ride quality and better fuel economy of a full-size sedan. The Traverse and rivals like the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Ford Explorer have struck a chord with buyers seeking a big vehicle but who don't need the towing capacity or off-road capability of a truck-based SUV. Just as appealing for some, it's not a minivan. The Traverse crossover SUV remains a good value and stands out with its larger size and ability to seat up to eight passengers, but trails fresher competitors that boast more advanced safety features and better fuel economy.
If you need a large, 3-row SUV that can accommodate a growing family and starts around $32,000, the 2016 Traverse offers a lot of vehicle for the money. Available traction-enhancing all-wheel drive and the ability to tow up to 5,200 pounds are also appealing.
If you're looking for a 3-row mainstream SUV with the latest safety and driving aids like automatic braking and/or adaptive cruise control, you'll need a fresher competitor like the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander or Ford Explorer. Need to tow more than 5,200 pounds? Look to the Chevy Tahoe.
KBB Expert Ratings
The 2016 Traverse soldiers on for another year with minimal updates. All models now include GM's OnStar 4G LTE connectivity with built-in Wi-Fi that makes the Traverse a rolling hotspot (subscription required after 3-month trial). A new package adds leather seating, blind-spot monitoring and other features to the mid-trim LT.
Despite newer, nimbler and more fuel-efficient competitors, the Chevy Traverse remains a solid crossover SUV to drive and live with. Its 280-plus-horsepower V6 is smooth and strong, and easily gets...
... Chevy's big crossover SUV up to speed in both front-wheel-drive (FWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) form. The Traverse is larger than its midsize SUV competitors, and while it's not very agile, the Chevy doesn't feel overwhelming on the highway. The view to the front and sides is commanding and the ride is comfortable. As with other 3-row SUVs, rear-side visibility is hindered by the last row of seats and small windows. The Traverse offers blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warning, but more advanced driver aids like the 2016 Ford Explorer's self-parking assist and the Honda Pilot's lane-keeping feature are not available.
General Motors recognizes that today's passengers are often glued to their mobile devices. That's why the automaker has added the ability for its vehicles to become rolling Wi-Fi hotspots. The subscription-based service allows up to seven devices to connect via the car's built-in 4G LTE system.
SMART SLIDE 2ND-ROW SEAT
Getting into a 3rd-row seat can be a hassle, especially for less-than-limber adults. But the 2016 Traverse's Smart Slide system feature makes accessing that last row easier with one-handed operation.
The 2016 Traverse has three rows of seats and can be configured for seven or eight passengers. Lower trims are built for eight with a bench seat in the second row, while upper trims can seat seven with a pair of roomy captain's chairs in the second row. Base LS models make do with cloth seating and manual-adjust front seats, while top-line LTZ models have leather seats that are heated and cooled up front. Remarkably, the Traverse is big enough for adults to sit in the third row and still boast enough room behind the seats for groceries.
The Traverse is now seven years into its current design, but its style is holding up thanks to front and rear tweaks made a few years ago. The 2016 Chevy Traverse bucks the blocky shape of a traditional SUV with its handsome, rounded (maybe too rounded at the rear) shape. Top-line LTZ versions feature exterior mirrors with electronic blind-spot monitoring – helpful due to the Traverse's size and compromised sightlines. LTZ models also stand out with dual-exhaust outlets, body-color moldings and chrome accents. Lower trims have a manual liftgate, while higher ones feature a power-operated one.
Beyond its sheer amount of vehicle for the money, the Chevy Traverse offers a good roster of standard features. A base LS model gives you keyless entry, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone connectivity, AM/FM/CD/satellite audio with a 6.5-inch touch-screen display and front and rear USB ports, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity. LT trims add a power driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear park assist, and power liftgate (2LT trim). Top-line LTZ models bring leather, dual exhausts and a small bump in power, Bose premium audio, a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, and blind-spot monitoring with forward collision monitoring.
Options vary across trims for the 2016 Chevy Traverse, but all models can be had with all-wheel drive for better traction instead of the standard front-wheel drive. Other extras include navigation with traffic data, blind-spot monitoring with a rear cross-traffic alert system (standard on LTZ), a power liftgate, 10-speaker Bose audio, rear-seat DVD system, and a dual-panel sunroof. Chevrolet’s MyLink Touch telematics system combines Bluetooth audio streaming, hands-free phone communication, voice recognition, and compatibility with apps such as Pandora. A subscription to the new OnStar 4G LTE system with Wi-Fi is available after the initial 3-month/3-gigabyte trial.
The 2016 Chevy Traverse uses a 3.6-liter V6 with direct-injection and variable-valve-timing technology that helps it achieve a decent balance of power and fuel economy. In LS and LT trims, the engine makes 281 horsepower. Top-line LTZ models have a dual-exhaust system that increases output to 288 horsepower. All models use a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel-drive optional for drivers who need enhanced traction. While its fuel economy trails that of new rivals like the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, it can tow a couple hundred more pounds than those competitors with its 5,200-pound rating, all while running on regular unleaded fuel.
281 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
288 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm (dual exhaust)
266 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 rpm
270 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 rpm (dual exhaust)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg (FWD), 16/23 mpg (AWD)
The 2016 Chevrolet Traverse has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $32,000 for a base LS model with no options. 1LT and 2LT models run $34,900 and $37,400, respectively, while the range-topping Traverse LTZ begins at $43,040. Adding AWD is an additional $2,000. Fully loaded, a 2016 Traverse can reach over $50,000. The 2016 Traverse’s starting price is slightly higher than competitors such as the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Santa Fe and Nissan Pathfinder, all of which are also smaller. Buyers merely seeking a bargain 3-row crossover SUV may find it in the Dodge Journey (just under $23,000 with 7-passenger seating). Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. As for its resale value, we expect the Traverse to be average.