2020 Chevy Traverse High Country climbs peaks and valleys of suburbia

The 2020 Chevy Traverse High Country handles domestic errands as capably as a shared calendar and as comfortably as a rec room when the kids are in bed. 

Bigger than a Blazer but not quite as large as a Tahoe, the Traverse three-row crossover SUV makes its slow swan song before a refreshed model bows for 2022. 

That gives shoppers another chance to check out this overlooked family hauler in a segment teeming with flashier, newer entrants. The Traverse doesn’t have the striking looks of the 2020 Kia Telluride or the 2020 Hyundai Palisade, or the great value of the 2020 Honda Pilot, but it is the largest, roomiest mid-size three-row SUV. Contrary to popular opinion, size is not everything, which explains why the plainer 2020 Chevrolet Traverse earned a TCC Rating of 5.8 out of 10

Trimmed up in top High Country trim, however, the Traverse is loaded with features, including a dual-pane sunroof, second-row captain’s chairs and a slew of safety and convenience features. But the all-wheel-drive model I tested came with a staggering price at $54,395, including destination.  

2020 Chevrolet Traverse High Country

2020 Chevrolet Traverse High Country

2020 Chevrolet Traverse High Country

2020 Chevrolet Traverse High Country

2020 Chevrolet Traverse High Country

Hit: Handles everything suburban short of being a Suburban

On one weekend day, my daughter and I sandwiched a softball game between a hockey tournament, roundtripping 120 miles in six hours for three games. We ate two meals, she made two uniform changes, one cat nap, and we hauled an extra player as well as two loads of hockey gear and the as-large equipment bag for the softball team. There was also a small cooler. Other three-row crossovers could handle such familiar weekend duty, but not with the roominess of the Traverse. Longer, wider, and with better head room than competitors, the Traverse opens up like a full-size SUV but handles like a car. 

Did pulling off such usual weekend duty require the High Country trim? No, but the cooled front seats, power-folding 60/40-split third row seats, eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, heated mid-row bucket seats, adaptive cruise control, and in-car wi-fi sure made it better. I also used it to pay my taxes with my laptop in a parking lot, sheltered the starting infield from a lightning storm, made a Costco run without folding down the seats, and generally handled myriad suburban errands.

Miss: $54,395

Only the 2020 Ford Explorer Platinum is more expensive in this segment, and that’s loony. The Honda Pilot Elite and Toyota Highlander Platinum are about $5,000 or 10% less; the top trim and package in the 2020 Kia Telluride, which was our Best Car To Buy 2020, undercuts the High Country by nearly $7,000. The only knock against the Telluride is they’re in such demand customers are waiting months to take delivery. Good news for Traverse shoppers is GM has been generous with incentives this year, including a $2,500 rebate through August 3, according to CarsDirect.   

2020 Chevrolet Traverse High Country

2020 Chevrolet Traverse High Country

2020 Chevrolet Traverse High Country

2020 Chevrolet Traverse High Country

2020 Chevrolet Traverse

2020 Chevrolet Traverse

2020 Chevrolet Traverse High Country

2020 Chevrolet Traverse High Country

Hit: Easy-to-use technology

Whether it was Apple CarPlay or GM’s native navigation system, the Traverse was up for the command. The large icons on the 8.0-inch touchscreen meant there wasn’t much fiddling, and the volume and tuning buttons on the back of the steering wheel almost have an old-school simplicity compared to all the newfangled infotainment screens out there. 

Driver-assist features such as adaptive cruise control and active lane control were easy to use as well, though the large Traverse liked to sway between the lines more than stay between them. 

Miss: See the $ above

Given how aggressive GM has been with pricing this year, and the cutthroat competition over the next year as Chevy readies the next Traverse, be on the lookout for deals if a large, but not full-size, three-row SUV is on your radar. 

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2020 Chevrolet Traverse High Country

Base price: $54,395, including $1,195 destination

Price as tested: $54,395

Drivetrain: 310-hp 3.6-liter V-6 with 9-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive

EPA fuel economy: 17/25/20 mpg

The hits: Roomy, comfy, well-equipped

The misses: Too expensive.

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