As you know, we’ve been spending the last week driving the 2020 Chevrolet Traverse RS. While we’ll need to wait until 2022 to get the refreshed Traverse, we figured it was a good idea to take the current edition out for a spin.
We already shared with you in the past how its turbocharged 2.0-liter LTG I4 engine – which produced 257 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque – was replaced by the naturally-aspirated 3.6-liter LFY V6 rated at 310 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. That engine is mated to the GM nine-speed automatic transmission, driving either the front or all four wheels.
It’s now time for us to answer the questions you sent us about the 2020 Chevrolet Traverse. We sorted out what we believe to be the most relevant ones. Here goes.
Q: Can the start/stop system be disabled on the Traverse?
A: Not yet. While driving the Traverse, we were disappointed to not find a similar start/stop kill switch as in the 2020 Cadillac XT5 we recently drove. That feature will be added as part of the mid-cycle refresh, whose release date has unfortunately been pushed back to 2022 due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Q: How does it compare to the Tahoe? Both are about the same size, but quite a large price difference. How is the ride and handling?
A: This is actually a good question since both of these models serve a similar purpose: carry families to the shopping mall, to soccer practice or up to the cottage over the weekend. While similar in size, they’re obviously aimed at two different types of customers.
The Tahoe is a rear-wheel or four-wheel-drive, body-on-frame SUV which uses the same GM K2XX architecture as the previous-generation Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, while the Traverse is a front-wheel or all-wheel-drive, unibody crossover built on the GM C1 platform. The Tahoe can tow up to 8,600 pounds with the optional trailering package, while the Traverse’s tow capacity is limited to 5,000 pounds.
As for ride and handling, the Traverse is much more carlike than its big brother, allowing it to be better suited for urban daily driving. That said, while we still didn’t drive the redesigned Tahoe, we did ride in the passenger seat of the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban. We were genuinely impressed by how compliant the all-new independent rear suspension was and how rock solid the GM T1 architecture felt. That said, the Traverse still has a more carlike driving feel.
Q: Is the 310-horsepower V6 adequate? Or would a 400-horsepower, twin-turbo 3.0L V6 from Cadillac work better in this? How about the 5.3-liter L83 V8 engine that makes 355 horsepower from the Chevy Silverado?
A: While we’ll never disagree with someone’s desire to get more power out of their midsize crossover, the truth of the matter is that the Traverse doesn’t need more than what it has. Chevrolet already made the wise decision of removing the turbocharged four from the lineup as it didn’t deliver any notable improvements in performance or fuel economy while being less smooth than the 3.6L V6.
If you take a look at the Traverse’s key rivals – the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride – they’re all powered by tried and proven naturally aspirated V6 engines of similar specifications. In fact, only the Dodge Durango offers an optional V8 engine in this class.
Q: I would like to know your opinion on the transmission. I have a 2019 model, and shifting is very smooth with normal driving. However when you floor it for passing, downshifts seem to hesitate and feels lazy.
A: This is an interesting question as we not only observed the same shifting issues as you did, but found the nine-speed automatic gearbox to operate differently than in other vehicles. In the XT5, we had no complaints, but in the Traverse, we did notice its calibration to be a bit rough around the edges. Downshifts did in fact have longer delays than in other applications. Here’s to hoping these calibration issues will be addressed when the Traverse receives its mid-cycle refresh.
Q: I am curious to know if they are going to update the 2018 model with wireless Apple CarPlay. It currently does some things wirelessly, but it’s not the same as connecting to the Traverse. Any insight into this?
A: Retrofitting older versions of the Traverse’s infotainment interface with wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay is unfortunately more complicated than it seems. It’s just not something that can be modified via an over-the-air software update or at the dealership. The feature will be added to the 2022 model.
Q: Would you pony up for an Enclave for the same money?
A: Before we answer this one, it’s important to underline that the entry level price of the Traverse is considerably lower than the Enclave’s. The base MSRP for a front-wheel-drive Traverse is $30,995 versus $41,195 for an Enclave Preferred. That’s before applicable rebates, of course. However, once you start climbing up the trim levels, the price gap closes, with the Enclave topping off at $57,295 versus $55,390 for a Traverse High Country. That’s all before adding options and packages.
At this point, it’s really a question of personal taste and the amount of luxury you’re looking for in your GM midsize crossover. While technically identical to a Traverse, the Enclave is more upscale inside, especially in Avenir trim due to its fancier cabin materials, improved noise deadening and significantly more comfortable seats.
Also consider that the Enclave is a tad smaller inside than the Traverse, with maximum cargo capacity slightly dropping to 97.6 cubic feet versus 98.2. That said, this difference shouldn’t affect your hauling needs too much.