Chevy’s popular three-row, midsize SUV returns for the 2023 model year, providing a sensible option for those seeking ample seating and lots of interior cargo space. The model has proved popular since its introduction in 2008, giving Chevy a family-friendly SUV that filled the role previously occupied by the brand’s Uplander minivan, which was discontinued in 2007. The crossover approach has proved hugely popular over the last decade, combining all the best elements of the roomy minivan with the ride height of a pickup and the versatility of an SUV, and the 2023 Chevy Traverse is a great example of the trend.
Chevy gave the Traverse a modest mid-cycle redesign for the 2022 model year, so the 2023 version remains largely unchanged. The redesign primarily focused on styling, keeping the model fresh in the eyes of consumers while also adding a generous complement of tech and safety features. Most noteworthy is the expansion of the SUV’s suite of standard automated driver-assistance features, with Chevy adding everything from emergency braking and pedestrian detection to lane-keeping assist and automatic high-beam headlights. The automaker has also revisited the SUV’s interior, tweaking the upholstery and adding a new 8.0-inch display mounted inside the SUV’s gauge cluster as an optional feature. So how does the new 2023 model stack up? Join us as we take a closer look at how a spacious cabin, impressive fuel economy, and comprehensive trim options combine to make the 2023 Chevy Traverse one of the most exciting entries in the midsize SUV class.
The 2023 Chevy Traverse is notable for its sizable interior, outclassing many of its rivals in the midsize SUV class to deliver a roomy cabin that can accommodate plenty of passengers and their cargo. Slotting in above the midsize Chevy Blazer in the brand’s current SUV lineup, the expansive Traverse represents the upper end of what can logically be considered a midsize SUV. Sure, there are some larger, full-size SUVs available on the market, but most of these use a more truck-like body-on-frame construction that has some major drawbacks when it comes to fuel efficiency, ride comfort, and handling. Larger midsize SUVs represent a real sweet spot in the market, and the 2023 Traverse is no exception.
The Traverse’s three rows of seating can accommodate either seven or eight passengers, depending on the trim. The Traverse’s three highest trims, the RS, Premier, and High Country, actually offer one less seat than the entry-level LS or LT trim. In the upper trims, the second-row bench seat, which can seat three passengers, is replaced with two standalone captain’s chairs. This setup injects a little luxury into the second row, providing a seating option that should be more than comfortable enough for most adults and making access to the third row easier to boot. Drivers opting for the LT trim can choose to keep the second-row bench seat, but the three higher-end trims all come standard with captain’s chairs.
No matter what row you’re sitting in, the Traverse provides some generous dimensions for drivers and passengers alike. The front row gets 42.8-inches of headroom and 41-inches of legroom, but it’s the second and third rows where the midsize SUV truly begins to shine. The second row features 38.4 inches of legroom and 40 inches of headroom, making the rear seats almost as comfortable as the front row. All too often, third-row seats can seem like an afterthought on some of today's SUVs, with automakers throwing in cramped third-row seats that are not actually a practical seating option for anyone over the age of 10. The 2023 Traverse bucks this trend with a relatively spacious third row that gives passengers 33.5 inches of legroom and 38.2 inches of headroom.
Cargo capacity is another area where the midsize Traverse gets the chance to show off. If you go by the raw numbers, the Traverse is already a standout in its class, with 23 cubic feet of cargo area behind the third row that expands to 57.8 cubic feet when the third row is stashed away and up to 98.2 cubic feet when all the seats are down. These figures are good enough to elevate the Traverse above class rivals like the Ford Explorer, Kia Telluride, and Toyota Highlander, but it’s the SUV’s deft interior design that really makes it seem so roomy. The Traverse has a number of clever storage options hidden throughout, including class-leading cubby storage in the first row and the ability to stow six carry-on suitcases without even sacrificing third-row seating.
From the affordable entry-level LS all the way up to the luxurious High Country, there’s a trim package out there that’s sure to satisfy every Traverse driver. Let’s take a close look at each trim and how easy it is to customize the popular midsize SUV.
The LS trim is the best Traverse trim for drivers on a budget, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at it. Chevy has injected some sophisticated styling into the Traverse, even at the LS level, with 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, tinted rear privacy glass, and more. The SUV is also well outfitted from a technology perspective, featuring many of the safety and convenience features one might expect from a much higher-end model. These include heated power side mirrors, the Infotainment System 3 with a 7-inch color touchscreen, push-button start, and an impressive six USB ports spread throughout the cabin.
Those with larger families will appreciate the model’s tri-zone automatic climate control system, which gives passengers the ability to tweak the AC or heat to their liking across all three rows. As we mentioned previously, the LS is the only Traverse trim to come standard with the second-row bench seat. This is a bit of a mixed blessing as it does increase the capacity to eight passengers, but at the cost of comfort, given the absence of captain’s chairs.
Drivers can easily upgrade to the LT Cloth, which might just be the best value of the bunch. The higher price brings with it features like an 8-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support, black roof rails, 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels, and a wireless charging pad, as well as a number of tempting equipment packages that go a long way in expanding the SUV’s safety and convenience features. The Safety Package comes standard on the LT Cloth model and includes Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Optional equipment packages that can be paired with the LT Cloth trim include the Convenience and Driver Confidence Package, which has an 8-inch color touchscreen with a hidden storage area, heated front seats, remote start, and a power liftgate.
Moving up, the LT gets a luxurious upgrade that sees the addition of leather upholstery throughout the cabin. That alone would probably be enough to justify the increased price, but Chevy has added a number of refined features for good measure, such as a programmable power rear liftgate and popular connected in-vehicle apps like Spotify. The Convenience and Driver Confidence Package becomes the standard on the LT Leather trim, and an optional LT Premium Package adds navigation, HD Surround Vision 360-degree monitor, a 120-volt outlet, and a 10-speaker Bose Premium sound system.
The RS represents the upper half of the available 2023 trims with a sporty package that stands out from its LS and LT counterparts. The RS trim comes standard with all the same features offered in the LT Leather trim and LT Premium Package but adds Jet Black perforated leather upholstery with red accent stitching, 20-inch dark aluminum wheels, and a moody, blacked-out chassis that features black trim, badges, roof rails, and grille. It might not be as comprehensive as some of the other trim packages on offer, but it does a great job of giving the SUV a more mature, aggressive appearance.
The trim includes everything found on lower trims as well as a few components all its own, including 20-inch machined-face aluminum alloy wheels, auto-dimming driver’s side mirror, dual exhaust outlets, and a hands-free power liftgate. That alone would probably make the Premier’s higher price tag seem like a bargain, but Chevy hasn’t stopped there, throwing in a power tilt/telescoping steering column and a driver’s seat, side mirrors, and steering wheel that will automatically adjust to accommodate two different users. An innovative Safety Alert Seat can vibrate to let drivers know which direction a potential collision might be coming from, and an 8-inch digital instrument cluster replaces the old-fashioned gauges found on other Traverse trims. The Premier is available with three interior color choices, but those looking to really make a statement might want to check out the Redline Edition, which throws in 20-inch gloss black wheels, blackout trim, dark tail lamps, Redline decals, and a dual Skyscape sunroof.
The top-tier trim offering for 2023, the Traverse High Country, adds almost every equipment option mentioned thus far, not to mention a power third-row folding seat, chrome roof rails, and more. This trim comes with second-row captain's chairs that give backseat passengers all the same comfort as those riding up front. The front row sees the addition of heated and ventilated front seats.
As a dependable family vehicle, blistering power isn’t really at the forefront when it comes to vehicles like the 2023 Traverse. Regardless, Chevy has made the engine a priority, outfitting the SUV with an impressive 3.6-liter V6 that does an admirable job of making the SUV feel considerably more spritely than its 4,310 pounds might suggest. With the ability to output 310 horsepower, the 3.6-liter engine is a solid choice for the Traverse, not to mention the only option for the 2023 model year. 266 lb-ft of torque gives the SUV some respectable acceleration, and while most Traverse drivers won’t have too many opportunities to rocket from zero to sixty at a moment’s notice, it’s still good to know that the feat could be accomplished in as little as 6.5 seconds.
The Traverse might not wow the average pickup or large SUV driver when it comes to its 1,500-pound towing capacity, but those looking to add a little brawn can easily upgrade the SUV with the addition of Chevy’s available trailering equipment. Available for an additional charge on the Premier and High Country models, the trailering equipment ups the SUV’s towing capacity to 5,000 pounds and adds a trailer hitch as well as a heavy-duty cooling system that prevents the engine from overheating when towing heavier loads. These components are the perfect complement to the Traverse’s selectable Tow/Haul mode, which is responsible for adjusting the transmission based on towing weight. Trailer sway control, which is part of the SUV’s StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control System, ups the ante even further, giving drivers the confidence to navigate with confidence no matter how much weight they’ve got hooked up to the hitch and preventing trailer sway by applying the brakes should the load start to get off-kilter.
The Traverse comes standard with front-wheel drive with all-wheel drive as an available option, and all versions come paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. This transmission, as well as the inclusion of a particularly well-designed automatic stop/start function, give the Traverse some of the best fuel economy in its class, with 18 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway with front-wheel drive. The city number might not blow anyone away, but considering the SUV’s size, the 27 MPG highway figure is enough to land the Traverse the top spot in its category.