I’m the dad of a toddler living in suburban New Jersey, so it probably won’t surprise you to learn that I have an SUV. But while I currently lease a three-row SUV that gets the job done, I’ve been really curious about the 2020 Chevy Traverse—and when I got the chance to borrow one for a wintry weekend, I jumped at the opportunity. Here’s what I discovered after taking the High Country on a spin through the city, the country and the suburbs.
It handles nicely, with some added pep
The 3.6L V-6 DOHC direct-injection engine with 310hp has ample power for anyone looking to use the High Country as a daily commuter vehicle. It handled extremely well for an SUV of its size, and I had no trouble driving it through the tight streets of Manhattan. It also did well on a trip to get a Christmas tree in rural New Jersey with my family.
The interior dimensions are uniquely comfy
As soon as I stepped into the car and sat down in the driver’s seat, I could feel the amount of interior space, which felt liberating compared with other SUVs I’ve driven (including the one I’m currently leasing). It was also incredibly easy to maneuver in and out of the two back rows, as there is plenty of headspace. We effortlessly installed our toddler’s rear-facing car seat into the third row—my wife sat next to him on the drive home and marveled at how roomy the SUV felt.
Second-row captain’s chairs should be the standard for three-row SUVs
This was my first time being in an SUV with second-row captain’s chairs, and I immediately understood the appeal. They made getting in and out of the third row a breeze. If you don’t need eight seats and have young children, a space between the second-row seats makes getting in and out of the vehicle so much simpler and less time-consuming. It definitely made me wish I had this setup in my leased SUV. The seats in the third row, on the other hand, need to be manually lifted up and down in the Traverse, while they’re automatic in my leased SUV.
The feature I never knew I wanted? HD Surround Vision
As someone who’s been driving since before the introduction of rear-vision cameras, I thought this would be an “extra” feature that was completely unnecessary for me. (Just use your mirrors and look backward!) But now that I’ve experienced it, I can definitely see why drivers would want this feature, especially in a larger vehicle. It makes maneuvering and parking in tight spots simple and safe, with no second-guessing, which is exactly what you should be looking for in a family-friendly vehicle. (This feature is standard in the RS, Premier and High Country.)
Safety features are top priority
For me (and most parents), safety is of utmost importance, and the High Country comes standard with all the safety features I’m looking for and more: front and side airbags, lane change alerts, side blind zone alert, rear cross travel alert, rear park assist, automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, following distance indicator, front pedestrian braking and IntelliBeam headlamps. Whew! It’s a lot…but a lot is good.
There’s an infotainment and Wi-Fi hotspot
One of the toughest parts of trying a new car? Trying to adapt to using a different navigation system while driving. Luckily, the touch screen is easy and intuitive to use and has Apple CarPlay compatibility, but I was most impressed with the built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. For families with tons of devices, this is a fantastic feature.
For what you get, it’s refreshingly well priced
The High Country trim I test-drove, almost fully loaded with all the features and accessories, starts at $50,900, but Chevy offers multiple less expensive trims starting at $29,800. One drawback: Although I was driving what would be considered a luxury model, the interior control design didn’t feel in line with a high-end vehicle. The vibe was a bit plasticky and didn’t have the leather or steel materials I usually associate with a luxury car.
The bottom line
The Traverse High Country is a comfy three-row SUV that comes with all the safety features, amenities and ease of use that I’m looking for as a dad of a toddler. When my current lease ends, I would definitely consider getting the Traverse. It’s a good value for all the features, and although the interior controls aren’t exactly the style I was hoping for, the safety features and other amenities make it a car I’d love to call my own.