The Chevrolet Traverse first emerged as the brand’s top-end family crossover back in 2009, and lasted until 2017. We’re now in the second generation, and GM decided to give the model it’s mid-cycle refresh for the 2021 model year. With it, we get more aggressive styling inspired by the Blazer that’s now translated up and down Chevy’s lineup. The updated model also gets more standard safety equipment, as most of its competitors like the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander and Volkswagen Atlas have done the same.
2019 was the model’s best-selling year yet, with nearly 150,000 examples of the Traverse finding owners. To date, Chevrolet dealers have sold 1.3 million units, so it makes sense for GM not to stray too far from a working formula here. Up front, the Traverse gets new standard LED headlights, with turn signals integrated into the upper daytime running lights. While there’s still a split chrome grille with the bowtie front and center, the one in the 2021 Traverse also gets chrome trim around the edges, so it looks like a single unit. A piece of black trim runs underneath the upper light assemblies straight through the grille as well, giving the impression of one continuous piece.
As far as refreshes go, it’s more of the same around the back. LED taillights are standard fare, but what does immediately attract your eye is what looks like a faux wood piece in the center of the liftgate. As with the chrome, that may just be a feature on the luxurious High Country trim, but it’s an interesting bit of flair that we wouldn’t normally expect in the 2021 Chevy Traverse. The sporty RS trim will black out those accents to create a more sporty aesthetic. The Traverse also gets four new wheel designs to distinguish the car from the pre-facelift model.
Standard safety features across the range
Apart from the new look, the updated Traverse does cast a wide net when it comes to standard safety equipments. Now, features like automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, automatic high beams and a following distance indicator are standard even on base models. The Traverse’s competitors also offer that sort of standard safety gear as it’s becoming compulsory to achieve the coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award.
Adaptive cruise control is available as an option on 3LT, RS and Premier trims. GM’s Safety Alert Seat which vibrates when you get too close to obstacles, comes standard on Premier and High Country.
When it comes to creature comforts, the 2021 Chevy Traverse does get more updates on top of its exterior changes. Chevrolet touts new seating trim options as well as an available two-panel “SkyScape” sunroof with a rear power sunshade. A new 8-inch display is available in the instrument cluster, while the infotainment system also now supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. As a family hauler, all three rows in the Traverse get USB charging ports, while wireless charging is an option on higher-end models.
As before, the 2021 Traverse claims best-in-class cargo space. With the rear seats folded, it manages up to 98.2 cubic feet of cargo area, which handily beats the Ford Explorer’s 87.8 cubic feet and the Toyota Highlander’s 84.3 cubic feet.
No powertrain changes for 2021
There’s only one engine available for the Chevrolet Traverse as of 2020. GM’s 3.6-liter LFY V6 engine comes standard across the range, replacing the 2.0-liter turbo engine that was available in the RS through 2019. It’s the same unit that’s in the GMC Acadia and Cadillac XT6, producing 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. Both front and all-wheel drive models mate up to a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Chevrolet did not mention pricing for the 2021 Traverse, but we should have that information soon.