Big Guy Test Drive: 2016 Chevrolet Traverse Review
I’ve been behind a Chevy Traverse many times and wondered, “With a butt that big, why did they put such small lights on it?”
Well, I thought that the Traverse deserved a more in-depth review than that, and so I took one for a test-drive. Based on what my wife and I are in search of, I’ve been looking at a couple of factors for our future SUV: Does it fit me; will it carry our junk on road trips; will it carry other people and their junk, and do I actually enjoy looking at and driving it.
Although I hold to my complaint about its derriere, I like the visual appeal of the 2016 Traverse. The Tahoe and Suburban with their boxy corners practically scream, “Look at my giant SUV, everybody!” Chevrolet gave the Traverse a more swooped look, giving it a bigger-on-the-inside feel. It wasn’t until I opened the door that I remembered it was meant to built to carry it all.
The big guy test
Room-wise, you couldn’t ask for much more than the Traverse. In the car world it’s a big guy, so it’s friendly to big drivers. But, and this is a big but, I don’t like the driver’s seat. It’s one of those seats that feels like it goes only a third of the way down your butt and halts. In addition, my head felt way closer to the ceiling than I thought it would have, and seat movement didn’t really improve that scenario – it just made me lose more butt room.
2016 Traverse at a glance
Seats: 8 passengers
MPG: 17 city, 24 highway
Engine: 3.6L V6
Towing: 5,200 lb. max when properly equipped
Assembled in: Michigan, Tennessee
Let me be clear – I wasn’t terribly uncomfortable driving the Traverse. But I’m not sure if I’d be able to say the same after a couple of hours on the road.
Space for our junk
At risk of sounding too repetitive, this vehicle is huge. But you might face a bit of an issue when it comes to long road trips. In full-on cargo mode with all of the seats put down, there’s enough room to move a small apartment, but only two people. You can fit four people (or five for you bench seaters) and carry some of their belongings. Or you can fit two families in the vehicle and carry nothing else.
Now, you could throw everyone’s junk on the roof and tie it down, or buy the tow package and tow a small trailer. But for money’s sake it might make more sense to buy a smaller SUV with a moderate amount of cargo room that fits just a few less people. It all depends on your situation.
You could probably find the nooks and crannies necessary to put a lot of stuff inside the Traverse, but that could affect the room and comfort for the people who own it all.
Back seat passenger hell
The 2016 Traverse comes with two third-row seating options. The first is a second row bench that folds forward. This option is preferable for those who would like to force their friends to do gymnastics to get into their seats. The second and much less frustrating option includes captain’s chairs. I can fit comfortably in these seats, so a vast majority of you could as well.
The sheer amount of passenger room in this vehicle is beautiful. If you have a lot of kids, and those kids have friends, and all of those kids go to basketball practice at the same time, this is your vehicle.
Ride and drive quality
Driving the 2016 Traverse was pleasant enough. I wasn’t really thrown around by any bumps and the cabin space remained nice and quiet through acceleration. However, it does suffer from a bit of heavy steering. I had driven the more nimble Equinox beforehand, and moving to the Traverse felt like driving a tank comparatively. And while it is bigger, it’s still a little sluggish.
New to the 2016 Traverse is the 4G LTE wifi hot spot, something that my wife loves even though I’m not sure why it’s so advantageous. Either I pay Chevy or Verizon to use a device in the car, so why make things complicated? I should write about that.
A “Driver Confidence” package is also available on LT trims of the 2016 Traverse, which gives you a host of reminders when you’re about to run into something.
You should consider this vehicle if:
If you have a large family or you’re going to be consistently hauling people back and forth on short to medium hauls. That covers most large-family situations, from sporting events to day trips. In captain’s chair mode, the Traverse can seat 7 people without any of them being very uncomfortable. And even at my size, the captain’s chair has so much room that it feels like riding in luxury.