2024 Chevy Traverse Sports Premium Look but Founders on MPG

The 2024 Chevrolet Traverse is redesigned for a more rugged, premium look, but an ICE-only redux seems shortsighted.

David Kiley, Senior Editor

May 2, 2024

4 Min Read
2024 Chevrolet Traverse_Z71
New Traverse CUV equipped for some bad-road driving, but not necessarily off-road.

ATLANTA – The all-new 2024 Chevrolet Traverse CUV showed off its capabilities on grass and gravel that was off-road in name only. That’s okay, though. Nobody with a brain is going to take this sweet, suburban grocery-getter and kid-carrier for a Jeep.

The Traverse, which sold 116,000 units last year, per Wards Intelligence, compared with Honda Pilot (110,000) Ford Explorer (187,000) and Toyota Highlander (171,000) is in the sweet spot of today’s modern station wagon.

Top to bottom and stem to stern, the Traverse is a quality piece of goods for any family, with the only disappointment being fuel economy. In an age of battery-electrics, hybrids and plug-in hybrids, the Traverse was developed amid a strategy at General Motors of going all-in on BEVs and maximizing internal-combustion vehicle sales and profits while the transition is on. So, this ICE-only 3-row CUV gets 23 mpg combined (10.2 L /100 km) for the FWD version and 21 mpg (11.2 L/100 km)for the AWD version. During a day of driving, we got 18.9 mpg (12. 5 L/100 km) in non-highway driving on secondary roads.

By contrast, the Toyota Highlander gets a combined 35 mpg (6.7 L/100 km). That is an amazing contrast between two vehicles and the strategies of two rival companies. Both vehicles, incidentally, tow 5,000 lbs. (2,268 kg).

The all-new Traverse, which probably suffers a little from going by what is not yet a household name (Detroit has long changed model names too frequently), is the first from GM sporting the 2.5L turbocharged 4-cyl. that will find its way into the 2025 Buick Enclave and 2024 GMC Acadia. In this configuration, the powertrain, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, produces 328 hp at 5,500 rpm and 326 lb.-ft. (442 Nm) of torque at 3,500 rpm.

GM says it tried to dial in a bit more “truck” look to the 2024 Traverse, But we’re not sure we are really seeing that. But Chevy has introduced a Z71 trim with a standard suite of “off-road” features. Again, we only had a chance to test these on a kindergarten-level course that encircles a resort, but it left us thinking that the advisable ceiling on off-roading here is a muddy, sightly rutted dirt road that takes you to a fishing area, cross-country ski course or campsite.

2024 Chevrolet Traverse_ one-touch power-folding seats.png

The equipment that is meant to make snowy road conditions and a bit of mud easier to “traverse” includes: an off-road suspension lift; all-terrain tires  with 18-in. wheels; two-piece skid plate; red tow hooks, twin-clutch AWD system; unique dampers with hydraulic rebound control; terrain driving mode; hill descent control; and a standard trailering package.

The new RS trim is meant to project a sportier grocery-getter. Specific features include: blackout accents on grille, roof rails and moldings; three-spoke flat-bottom steering wheel; SuperCruise; trailering package; 22-in. high-gloss black aluminum wheels; damping for a sportier ride; standard one-touch second-row folding seats and power-folding third-row seat; dual-glass panoramic sunroof; and walkup and exit lighting animation. The second row is two captain’s chairs, while the third row is a bench.

Inside, the center touchscreen is 17.7 ins. (45 cm) with wireless phone charging, wi-fi hotspot and a Google-enabled infotainment system. All trims except for LT have a rear-camera mirror, and the driver can toggle between that view and a no-camera view. The rectangular screen is ample without dominating the center of the cockpit. The faux carbon-fiber trim on the dash is very premium-looking and slick. The steering-column-mounted gear shifter is fussy-feeling. The German automakers love these, but a rotary or piano-key style shifter, or even a nice chunky console-mounted shifter, would be preferable. We get the goal of de-cluttering the center console area, but we’d vote for anything but the new flimsy class of electronic shifters.

There is nothing not to like about the driving experience. There is minimal head-toss or lean when taking turns at 45-65 mph (73-105 km/h) on our route. The CUV stays planted and balanced. It’s all good if slightly pallid. It will be interesting, though, to test the new powertrain pulling a 5,000-lb. load. The front suspension is MacPherson strut, while the rear is a five-link independent.

There is a standard safety suite that families will enjoy having: rear-park assist and rear-vision camera; lane-change alert with side-blindspot alert; rear cross-traffic braking; blind-zone steering assist; traffic-sign recognition; intersection automatic emergency braking; side bicyclist alert; rear pedestrian alert; and teen driver system that mitigates bad behavior including blaring the stereo or driving too fast.

The Traverse CUV redux is a pleasant, attractive package. But is that really enough these days? Chevy is rocking quality scores from J.D. Power for both the first few months of ownership as well as quality and reliability measured over three years. But with Kia and Hyundai climbing the charts with their style, quality and BEV/hybrid offerings, maybe it’s time to overachieve. The fuel economy of the Traverse would be fine if this was 2000, but not in 2024.

About the Author(s)

David Kiley

Senior Editor, WardsAuto

David Kiley is an award winning journalist. Prior to joining WardsAuto, Kiley held senior editorial posts at USA Today, Businessweek, AOL Autos/Autoblog and Adweek, as well as being a contributor to Forbes, Fortune, Popular Mechanics and more.

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