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First Drive: 2024 Chevrolet Traverse – More Tech and Rugged Charm Makes This SUV a Winner

by | May 2, 2024

Chevrolet is eager to show the world that it can still compete in the three-row SUV segment with the 2024 Chevrolet Traverse. New styling aims to make it more rugged than before while a completely revamped interior adds more comfort and technology. 

The 2024 Chevrolet Traverse is entering the model year with a heavy revamp

The Chevrolet Traverse has always been a versatile three-row SUV that was good at traversing the urban jungle while providing families with the space and capability needed to make the trip to school or a long family trip more enjoyable. However, the SUV was never known for its manners off the trail, and it preferred to leave trail running to more capable members of the Chevy family like the Tahoe. 

However, the brand is changing the script for 2024 and is now attempting to make the Traverse into a more capable offering that allows it to better channel its connection to the brand’s other SUV offerings while still standing out in a crowded pool of entries all fighting for attention. 

 Traverse channels its rugged side 

The front and rear styling attempts to make the Traverse channel its wild side

When Chevrolet redesigned the exterior styling of the 2024 Traverse, they wanted the SUV to have a package that was more cohesive and not feel like it was designed by two different design committees on opposite ends of the GM Tech Center as was the case with the outgoing model. 

The new Traverse’s front end attempts to channel this newfound unity with a larger front grille being flanked by reworked front lighting. Unlike the old model, the lights are now a two-piece affair with the upper lights being DRLs with integrated turn signals while the headlights themselves are now mounted in the corners of the reworked front bumper. The side profile has chunkier elements, and the wheel arches are more pronounced. The rear styling is still odd-looking, but the taillights now flow into the rear fenders and have a sharper look to them. 

Chevrolet has also done a better job differentiating each trim level with the RS getting blacked-out accents and a dual exhaust system with quad-exhaust tips. Meanwhile, the Z71 embraces the trail life and gets chunky all-terrain tires, skid plates, and a slight suspension lift to help it cope with obstacles better. The exterior styling also gets minor trim alterations to help it mesh with the rest of the Z71 model family.

Traverse interior Super Cruises into focus 

Reworked interior gets higher quality materials and a massive infotainment system

Slip inside the interior of the 2024 Traverse and you’ll find that the cabin gets higher quality materials and a massive infusion of technology. Chevrolet had Z71 and RS models for us to try out in Georgia and both of these trim levels get higher quality materials and seats that are noticeably more comfortable than before. The base LS model gets a second-row bench seat that allows it to haul eight passengers but all other trim levels pitch this setup and replace it with second-row captain’s chairs which cuts occupant capacity to seven. Fold the second and third-row seats down, and occupants will be able to take full advantage of its expanded 97 cubic feet of cargo space to haul all kinds of gear.  

However, the Traverse’s ability to haul people and cargo plays second fiddle to the new technology that has found its way into the SUV. A massive 17.7-inch infotainment system is standard on all Traverse models with the system getting Chevrolet’s Google-based software with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also being bundled in standard. A slightly smaller 11.0-inch digital instrument cluster also comes along for the ride and delivers crisp clarity and feedback for essential functions. 

The 17.7-inch infotainment screen gets wireless Apple CarPLay and Android Auto standard

The 2024 Traverse will also get Chevrolet’s Super Cruise feature for the first time ever. Unlike past iterations of Super Cruise, GM says that this latest version benefits from mapping updates that now allow it to operate not only on freeways but also on select roadways. Chevrolet reps we spoke with say that these updates are meant to help bring in more subscribers to Super Cruise especially those that might have otherwise passed on the system due to its old freeway-only restriction. 

Four-cylinder performance attempts to balance power with efficiency 

The outgoing V6 gets pitched for this turbocharged four-cylinder. Chevrolet says that it makes more power and gets better efficiency than the old motor

Performance for all 2024 Traverse models comes from a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that replaces the long-running 3.6-liter V6. But while the engine is smaller, it still manages to make more power with Chevy saying that it’s capable of producing 328 horsepower. That’s noticeably more than what you got before and the engine also shares some of its DNA with the slightly bigger 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that also powers the Chevrolet Colorado pickup. An eight-speed automatic continues to be the lone transmission available. 

Trail ready 

The Z71 proved to be a commendable steed out on the trail

Our experience with the Traverse started out on the trail with the off-road-focused Z71 model. A large patch of grass allowed us to get up to a decent amount of speed and it became apparent that Chevrolet focused on suspension tuning with our tester delivering a glass smooth ride even when going over rougher sections of the field. This is mostly due to the adaptive dampers that the Z71 gets which are tuned to drown out the bulk of the bumps and impacts that might otherwise be noticeable in rivals. The wide-open prairie eventually transitioned into tighter wood-lined trails that allowed us to get a better grasp of the Z71’s personality.  

This portion of the drive allowed us to experience the Traverse’s Hill Descent Control as well as a separate feature that allowed us to hold the SUV in place on crests. The Traverse felt smaller than it really was most of the time, with a small section of tight turns being the only reminder to tread gingerly to help the SUV navigate them successfully. The skid plates also proved handy when we encountered a rouge branch out on the course with the plates preventing the surprise obstacle from damaging the SUV’s delicate internal components. The Z71 is also the only model in the family to get all-wheel drive standard with this trim getting a beefier twin-clutch system 

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Street smart 

The RS model is the trim to go for if you’re looking to make a style statement with your Traverse purchase

After our brief run on the trails, we shifted our drive onto formal roadways where we had a chance to experience the RS model. The RS is supposed to be the sportiest member of the Traverse family and while it’s not an outright performance model, the SUV did make a good first impression. The engine is a bit buzzy but it delivers a decent amount of acceleration with sport mode sharpening up the responses from the transmission. 

Our tester did a good job delivering good handling behavior on the winding rural roads that we encountered on our route to a local coffee shop but we wish that the brakes did a better job communicating to the driver with the pedal itself occasionally feeling wooden and vague. The steering is also too light but look for that latter item to not be noticed by the bulk of family buyers. They will probably instead focus their attention on the Traverse’s towing rating which can go up to 5,000 lbs when equipped with the optional towing package. 

Front-wheel drive is standard for the most part but buyers can also add it on as an option. A prominent exception is the Z71 model which gets all-wheel drive standard. The EPA says that a front-wheel drive equipped Traverse can get 20/27/23 mpg in city and combined driving. Adding in all-wheel drive causes those figures to dip to slightly to 19/24/21 mpg in the same categories.  

 

Pricing

The Traverse’s pricing ladder puts it in contention with some of the segment’s best

Pricing for the 2024 Chevrolet Traverse starts at $38,995 for the base FWD LS model when you include the $1,395 destination fee. Prices go up as you climb the trim ladder with the rugged Z71 model starting at $47,795 while the range-topping (for now) RS model starts at $56,090. All-wheel drive adds $2000 to LS, LT, and RS models with the Z71 being exempt due to it getting the feature standard. 

This pricing also puts it squarely in the crosshairs of rivals like the 2024 Ford Explorer. The 2025 model will eventually make its way to dealerships, but the Traverse will still have to contend with the outgoing Explorer’s full trim ladder which includes models like the Platinum and King Ranch that offer more luxury features. 

Another Traverse rival is the 2024 Kia Telluride. The Telluride has proven to be a potent sales success for Kia and while it has a V6 as its only powertrain, it has a trim ladder that’s very similar to the Traverse’s and a pricing ladder that’s also on par with the Chevy’s. 

Final thoughts 

The Chevrolet Traverse will be a vital cog in Chevrolet’s broader SUV sales plans

When viewed by the sum of its parts, the 2024 Chevrolet Traverse is a vastly improved offering. While its exterior styling is hit or miss, the Traverse’s revamped interior not only addresses some of the issues that dogged the old model, but also builds on it by adding an improved infotainment system and better ergonomics to improve its family hauling credentials.  

The 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is also a big gamble in the Traverse and it will be interesting to see if it can pick up where the axed 3.6-liter V6 left off when it comes to delivering the enhanced levels of performance and fuel economy Chevrolet is advertising in real world driving. 

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