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2024 Chevrolet Traverse First Drive Review: Zaddy Looks, Dad-Bod Strength, Sugar Daddy Amenities

The redesigned Traverse now gets Super Cruise, an off-road-ready Z71 trim, and a lot more standard features.

byBeverly Braga|
Beverly Braga
Beverly Braga.
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GM insists on calling the 2024 Chevrolet Traverse a midsize SUV. I don't agree. The vehicle has a legitimate third row, not just a penalty box for children (and the occasional adult). To me, this is a full-size. The rest of Chevy's claims are admittedly more accurate. For example, it says the '24 Traverse is brand-spanking new, and yes indeed it is. New trims, new 'do, new colors, more safety, more power, more screens, more space—yeah, it's got all of that. Best of all, the Traverse is now available with Super Cruise. Huzzah!

Superlatives aside, the all-new Traverse is genuinely packaged with even more goodies than before, many of which are standard. According to Chevy's talking heads, the RS model is now a "true RS" this time around and there's even a first-ever Z71 off-road-ready version. Uh-huh. More on that later.

The Basics 

On design alone, the three-row SUV experienced a glow-up. A far cry from its initial van-like vibes, today's Traverse is all rugged edges and chiseled jawlines. By dropping the design heft, the third-generation Traverse is decidedly handsome. Its styling features strong character lines with sheet metal flexes in all the right places. Like a fine wine, I guess some things do get better with age.

Dimensionally, the new vehicle is smaller in size than the outgoing model by a fraction of inches here and there. Yet it wins on spaciousness, with more room for legs, shoulders, knees, and toes. Headroom has actually gone down by the thinnest of margins, but cabin comfort and new tech features more than make up for that. 

Standard seating remains an eight-passenger configuration with second-row captain's chairs available on all except the entry-level LS. I was only able to experience the seven-pax version but could easily maneuver my five-foot-two frame throughout the interior like it was a giant funhouse. And if I needed an additional hiding space, the rear cargo area features a large underfloor storage bin. Even with a couple of overstuffed backpacks and a tripod, there was still room to spare. 

The center console and dashboard were also reimagined with spaciousness in mind. The gear shifter is now a steering wheel-mounted gear stalk, which allows for more storage nooks and crannies, including additional cupholders behind the center bin. The reorganized dash has a new 11-inch instrument screen that's paired with a standard (and best-in-class) 17.7-inch center touchscreen. Best in class or not, the latest infotainment screen is more than twice as large as the previous version, which now seems tiny at 8.0 inches. Both screens feature large, easy-to-read icons in pleasant colors. The UX doesn't require a user manual to learn, and the system is snappy to use. 

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Driving Experience 

All Traverse trims feature the same engine. The outgoing 3.6-liter V6 is replaced with a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. This smaller engine is spunkier, producing 328 horsepower and 326 lb-ft of torque, a gain of 18 hp and 60 lb-ft over the V6.

Debuting GM's "ePhaser" technology that's said to smooth out stop-starts, fuel economy has improved as well. Front-wheel-drive models are now rated for 20 mpg city, 27 highway, and 23 combined versus the previous generation's 18/27/21. All-wheel-drive Traverses return 19/24/21 compared to last year's 17/25/20. And this is all great… on paper.

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I'll preface this by saying that every Traverse I tested was an early production model. The biggest letdown with the new engine is the sound. V6s traditionally offer a relatively guttural growl. Even if it's not powerful, it sounds like it is! But in a large vehicle with a cavernous engine bay such as the Traverse, the four-banger sounds distant. Off the line at low rpm, regardless of drive mode, its whine and whirr is more befitting of a small sedan, not a three-row crossover. Its aural aspirations are just that: wishful thinking. To be fair, yes, the 2024 Traverse has more power, but it's also nearly 200 pounds heavier than before. The RS AWD which weighed 4,602 pounds last year now weighs 4,792. Might as well put "+18 hp" on a sticker and call it even.

However, at speed, power delivery is smooth as is that all-new eight-speed automatic transmission. As long as you're not turning every stoplight into drag race practice, the new turbo does its job and, frankly, does it well while shifts between gears are barely perceptible. What is perceptible is how quiet the cabin is. Driving dynamics are composed, too, and the brakes have some bite on them. And you'll want that stopping confidence when cruising around in a two-ton SUV. With Super Cruise on, though, the new Traverse approaches road-tripping zen. 

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Super Cruise is the absolute highlight of this car. Activated with a simple steering wheel-mounted button, the system was flawless on the highway. On rural roads, it is still figuring things out. The biggest hiccups occurred during lane merges. In one instance, as the merging lane ended and black asphalt transitioned into prominent white hatch markings, the Traverse happily continued straight ahead over the white marks. I took control and righted the ship, of course. During another lane merge sans change in road markings, a notification specified that Super Cruise was deactivating because the lane was about to end. 

Are the inconsistencies a genuine demerit? Not at all. I was driving through the back roads of Georgia and was surprised the system worked at all. And outside of merging, which one should pay attention to anyway, Super Cruise was a reliable co-pilot. There were no random spurts of acceleration or hesitant braking around corners. If I wanted that experience, I would've attempted to use Enhanced Automatic Parking Assist again (It parked the vehicle but with all of the confidence of a twitchy, nervous, newly-permitted driver).

The highly-touted and new Z71 trim Traverse is off-road capable in the same way an AWD hatchback can traverse rough patches and sticky situations. Our unpaved circuit was a meandering stroll through the woods of a lakeside resort. Not at all an off-the-grid, extreme ascent but for those looking to access a campground or follow a dirt path to a trailhead, the Z71 has you covered.

Chevrolet Traverse Features, Options, and Competition 

The Traverse LS starts at $38,995, which includes $1,395 in destination fees. The mid-level LT has an MSRP of $41,395, while the top-of-the-line RS climbs to $55,595. Opting for AWD adds another two grand, an upcharge that applies to all trims except the Z71. The Traverse Z71 is AWD-only and sits below the RS on the pricing sheet at $47,995. Compared to the previous gen, the new Traverse costs about $3,000 more. There's a good reason for the jump.

Newly standard are the aforementioned larger digital cluster and infotainment screens as well as LED lights up front. Also standard is a robust safety package that includes Chevy Safety Assist and additional ADAS features including automatic emergency braking, a following distance indicator, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, high beam assist, and front pedestrian braking. The 2024 Traverse adds another 14 safety systems on top of that, either previously offered in a package or all-new. These include rear cross-traffic alert, rear park assist, lane change alert, adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera view, blind-zone steering assist, and side bicyclist alert. 

The LT is anticipated to continue as the Traverse volume leader and, as such, includes roof side rails, a power-adjustable driver's seat, and second-row captain's chairs. The LT also gains access to Super Cruise, a panoramic sunroof, a Bose surround sound system, a Trailering Package, and 20-inch wheels. The RS essentially becomes the all-inclusive trim while the Z71 gets exclusive outdoorsy bits like Hill Descent, all-terrain tires, 1.2 inches of added ground clearance, a Terrain drive mode, skid plates, damper tuning, and a twin-clutch AWD system.

According to Chevy, Traverse's direct competitors are the Ford Explorer, Hyundai Palisade, and Kia Telluride. The long-running Explorer is the only rear-wheel-drive model of the group but tacks on a $645 acquisition fee on top of a $1,595 destination charge to start at $39,100. The Explorer does best the others in fuel economy with an EPA-rated 20/27/23 mpg for AWD EcoBoost models. The value-packaged, features-laden South Korean duo were both recently refreshed for 2023. As the only completely redesigned vehicle of the bunch, the Traverse lands in the middle on price but offers more in terms of power, room, safety, and hands-free driving availability.

The Early Verdict

The 2024 Chevrolet Traverse is handsome but not flashy. With zaddy looks, dad-bod performance but sugar daddy-level amenities and features? I consider that a win. Show up for the kids' soccer matches in an RS and you'll turn some heads. Make that a Z71 and rival dads will wonder if those red tow hooks are legit (They sure are!). 

Chevy's new three-row is impressive in how it does the basic, daily driver stuff really well. As a family hauler, city dweller, and road trip vehicle, the Traverse is comfortable, quiet, roomy, and safe. Plus, it looks good! As an off-the-grid companion, based on that short countryside loop, it's underwhelming. However, given its targeted audience, the new Traverse hits its marks in stride.

2024 Chevrolet Traverse Specs
Base Price$38,995
Powertrain2.5-liter turbo-four | 8-speed automatic | front- or all-wheel drive
Horsepower328 @ 5,500 rpm
Torque326 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm
Seating Capacity7 or 8
Max Towing5,000 pounds
Curb Weight4,504 pounds (FWD)
4,793 pounds (AWD)
Cargo Volume23 cubic feet behind first row | 57 cubic feet behind second row | 98 cubic feet behind third row
EPA Fuel Economy20 mpg city | 27 highway | 23 combined (FWD)
19 mpg city | 24 highway | 21 combined (AWD)
Quick TakeHandsome, strong, loaded. Where has this guy been all my life?
Score8/10
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