Whether it’s shuttling half the soccer team to an away game, bringing home oversize flea market finds or doing a little of both, large crossover SUVs give you the flexibility that few other vehicles provide. And among these modern beasts of burden, the 2015 Chevrolet Traverse stands out as one of the best available, thanks to its expansive interior space, smooth drive and top crash test scores.
While there’s something to be said for the Traverse’s handsome exterior, its real strengths lie inside. The roomy cabin is attractive and offers seating for as many as eight passengers in three rows. Folding down those seats creates the largest cargo hold in the segment, with plenty of room for whatever needs hauling. Available upgrades including Chevy’s touchscreen MyLink infotainment system and a rear-seat video entertainment system make the cabin just that much more family-friendly.
New this year on models equipped with MyLink is Siri Eyes Free technology, which allows drivers with iPhones 4s and later to ask Siri to read and respond to text messages, place phone calls, play music and more by simply pushing a button on the steering wheel. Owners of Android phones can use the same button to access their phone’s voice recognition capabilities. The rest of the Traverse remains the same, which is just fine by us. It provides an impressively smooth and cozy drive while still being secure around turns, and its V6 engine is reasonably powerful and fuel-efficient.
The Traverse earned an "A" rating from SUVS.com editors, but is still just one of several attractive entries in this large crossover segment. The Ford Flex combines distinctive styling, a more old-school wagon profile and a roomy interior, while the Mazda CX-9 balances more athletic handling with less room for people and cargo. The Toyota Highlander is perhaps the most well-rounded car in the segment and also earned an A rating from our editors. All that said, the 2015 Chevrolet Traverse offers a blend of excellent comfort, remarkable room, good value and a pleasant driving experience.
The 2015 Chevrolet Traverse displays exactly the kind of road manners you’d want in a large, three-row family crossover. The drive quality is comfortable, composed and quiet on the highway, providing an assuredness that drivers switching from bigger truck-based SUVs will appreciate. At the same time, the suspension delivers sure handling and surprisingly good maneuverability for such a large vehicle, although smaller competitors are more responsive to drive on twisting roads or in tight urban spaces.
The 3.6-liter V6 engine is fine for most day-to-day driving conditions, but feels a little anemic when maximum acceleration is called for, such as attempting to pass slower traffic on a two-lane road. The 6-speed automatic transmission generally delivers smooth gearchanges, but can feel a little sluggish when you need a quick downshift in situations like getting up to speed on freeway on-ramps.
The 2015 Chevrolet Traverse is a large crossover SUV with seating for seven or eight passengers depending on the second-row seating configuration. There are essentially three trim levels — LS, LT and LTZ — though the LT model is further subdivided into 1LT and 2LT variants.
Standard features on the entry-level LS include 17-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, roof rails, a rear spoiler, keyless entry, front and rear air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, 60/40-split-folding second- and third-row seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, Bluetooth phone connectivity, the OnStar telematics system, a rearview camera, a 6.5-inch touchscreen display and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary sound jack, a USB/iPod sound interface and two additional USB charge-only ports.
Stepping up to the 1LT trim adds 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated outside mirrors, rear parking sensors, remote ignition, an eight-way power driver seat (with two-way power lumbar), a leather-wrapped steering wheel and wood-grain interior trim. The 2LT includes all of the above and adds auto-dimming driver-side and rearview mirrors, a power liftgate, tri-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, second-row captain’s chairs (the second-row bench seat is still optional) and rear-seat sound controls and headphone jacks. You also get the MyLink infotainment interface, which includes Bluetooth sound connectivity, Internet radio app integration and new Siri Eyes Free technology.
The top-of-the-line LTZ model comes with 20-inch alloy wheels, power-folding mirrors, a blind-spot monitoring system, a rear cross-traffic alert system, forward collision warning and lane-departure alert. Inside there are leather upholstery, driver memory functions, an eight-way power front passenger seat, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel and a navigation system integrated into MyLink. The second-row captain’s chairs are also mandatory.
Some of the upper trim levels’ standard features are available as options. Also available, depending on trim level, are a panoramic sunroof, a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound sound system, a rear-seat entertainment center (includes a house-style electrical outlet) and a towing package.
Inside, the 2015 Chevrolet Traverse features a roomy interior with handsome styling and better-quality materials than those found in earlier models. The overall effect gives the space a look and feel that ranges from pleasant to downright upscale in the top LTZ trim level.
Front-row passengers will enjoy abundant head- and legroom, as will second-row occupants, but the middle-row seat cushions are a bit low. Sliding those seats all the way back alleviates this issue, but effectively kills third-row legroom. The slide release is also difficult to access. The third row is actually roomy enough for adults to fit in comfortably (as long as second-row occupants are generous), though it’s realistically best suited for those of smaller stature or children. This is especially true if you want to fit three across.
As is invariably the case with three-row vehicles, rearward visibility is almost nonexistent when you have a full crew on board, so the standard rearview camera is a huge help. The camera’s image and infotainment system controls are displayed on a 6.5-inch touchscreen that’s mounted a little too low on the dash to view with a quick glance and surrounded by touch-sensitive secondary controls that may look vaguely interesting, but are less functional than normal buttons. The occasionally slow response of the MyLink system to your inputs is another drawback.
Cargo capacity is one of the Traverse’s strong suits, though, with a healthy 24.4 cubic feet available behind the third-row seats, not counting a handy underfloor storage bin. Folding down those rearmost seatbacks is a quick and easy way to open up 70.3 cubic feet of space behind the second row. Lowering both rows of seatbacks creates a spacious cargo hold with a flat load floor and 116.3 cubic feet of room, a total no other crossover (besides the Traverse’s twin, the GMC Acadia) can match.
Standard safety features on all 2015 Chevy Traverse models include four-wheel antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, a rearview camera, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. OnStar is also standard and includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, stolen car assistance and turn-by-turn navigation.
A unique center airbag between the front seats, which is designed to protect occupants from colliding with one another in the event of a side impact, is an option on the base LS trim level and standard on all other Traverse models. Rear parking sensors are standard on all versions except the LS. A blind-spot and rear cross-traffic monitoring system is standard on the LTZ, as are forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning systems. The latter two are optional on 2LT models.
In SUVS brake testing, an all-wheel-drive LTZ required just 119 feet to stop from 60 mph, a better-than-average result for a large three-row crossover SUV.
In government crash tests, the Traverse earned a top five-star (out of five) rating for overall performance, with five stars for overall front-impact protection and five stars for overall side-impact protection. The Traverse also fared well in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, in which it received the highest rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. The Traverse’s seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
The 2015 Chevrolet Traverse features a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 281 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque in the LS and LT trim levels. The LTZ’s dual exhaust outlets bump output up to 288 hp and 270 lb-ft. A 6-speed automatic is the only available transmission, but buyers have a choice of standard front-wheel or optional all-wheel drive.
In SUVS testing, an all-wheel-drive LTZ sprinted to 60 miles per hour in a class-competitive 8.1 seconds. Properly equipped, the Traverse can haul up to 5,200 pounds. EPA fuel economy estimates are 19 miles per gallon combined (17 city/24 highway) for front-wheel-drive models, and 19 miles per gallon combined (16/23) with all-wheel drive. These are average fuel economy numbers for a large, V6-powered crossover.
Agreeable drive quality; generous cargo capacity, even behind the third-row seat; seating for up to eight.
The 2015 Chevrolet Traverse checks nearly all of the right boxes for a large crossover SUV and remains a worthy choice for consumers who need three rows of seating and expansive cargo room.