2009 Chevrolet Traverse Review – a lot more than what meets the eye

Chevrolet Expert Reviews

By Francis Cebedo


  • The power is very satisfying
  • Ride and handling negotiate a perfect balance
  • Build quality and fit feels very good
  • Seating for up to eight passengers and a ton of luggage
  • Easy to drive for its class
  • Split-folding third-row seat is easy to operate
  • very good  tow rating
  • 115 Volt outlet provided
  • Well designed, flowy interior dashboard


  • Styling is not distinctive at all
  • Transmission is slow to down shift
  • Tires are a bit noisy
  • Roof rack is nosy at speed
  • Bose Stereo is really not that good
  • Abundance of plastic and hard materials on the dashboard

The Chevrolet Traverse deserves a second look. Its non-descript styling and unusual size does not really stand out to the uninformed eye. And lets face it. Most of us are uninformed because this is a new model from Chevy. The styling reminds me of a big Pontiac Vibe. It looks aerodynamic or flowing, but it does not have any distinctive styling cues that announce its individuality. The size looks like a mid-size SUV but with a closer look, you realize that it is a much larger vehicle.

So join us in our quest to drive and discover the real Chevrolet Traverse. It is surprising and it is worth a second look. The Traverse is big, but it is small. It is powerful, yet efficient. There is something here worth exploring.

2009 Chevrolet Traverse

This is where the Chevy Traverse shines. It is a big vehicle, but it has impressive power. All this power comes from one amazing engine that can be compared to the best Europe and Japan have to offer. The 2009 Chevrolet Traverse has a 3.6L V6 with a block made of aluminum as well as the cylinder head. The valve train has variable valve timing and 4 valves per cylinder. The engine is equipped with high-pressure fuel injection with a compression ratio of 11.4 to 1. The horsepower is 286 hp for the dual exhaust. The torque is rated at 253 lb-ft and the vehicle can tow up to 4,500 pounds.

What all this translates to is a very capable vehicle with a lot of get up and go. The 0-60 acceleration figure has been measured at 7.6 seconds. We can attest to its awesome power as the Traverse managed to squeal the massive tires on our test car. And at speed, the passing speed and punch is equally impressive. This V6 engine is more powerful than many V8s we’ve tried and it can sip gas at 24 mpg with a light touch on that tempting gas pedal.

We did find the downshift to be a couple ticks too slow and gets in the way of getting the most out of this peppy engine.

Handling is another great asset of this car. It really drives like a much smaller vehicle. Steering is a little bit light but it is much improved over previous Chevrolet cars we’ve driven. Cornering is really a delight since we usually don’t have much fun on twisty roads on a vehicle this big. Braking is a bit of a drag and we’re quickly reminded that we’re in a 4,800 pound vehicle.

Build is quite surprising. We feel Chevrolet has stepped up its game with this vehicle. Everything fits well and is aligned. We’ll forever be annoyed at the knobs and switches that are always a step below this cars oversees competition. Also, the green led dot matrix readout displays remind me of the DOS operating system from my old PCs.

Still, this is surprisingly good and we are happy with the strides Chevy has taken with the Traverse.

2009 Chevy Traverse interior

Inside the roomy cabin of the Traverse is an attractive dashboard layout in a two-tone color scheme with brushed aluminum and chrome trim. The lines of the cockpit flow very well from the dashboard to the door panels. Gone are the flat, boxy lines from old GM SUVs. This interior is definitely a step up from many U.S auto interiors we’ve grown accustomed. Some of the things still holding it back are the abundance of hard plastic surfaces. Also, our patience is growing thin with the green ‘dot matrix’ displays Chevrolet uses. They are not up to the standards that the Chevy Traverse establishes.

The front seats are comfortable but a bit flat. They can really benefit from more shaping and contouring that will help keep the driver in place on twisty roads or those daily freeway on ramps. Depending on the configuration chosen, the Traverse seats either seven (with second-row captain’s chairs) or eight (split-folding second-row bench seat) passengers in three rows. The first- and second-row seats are quite comfortable and supportive, and the split-folding third-row seat  which is often a kids-only zone in traditional SUVs — can accommodate adults in reasonable comfort. Maximum cargo capacity is a generous 117 cubic feet with second- and third-row seats folded down, and even with all three rows of seating in use, there is still a useful 24 cubic feet of luggage space. The roominess and versatility of the Chevy Traverse interior is pleasantly surprising.

2009 Chevrolet TraverseThere really is not much to say about the cars exterior. It works and it blends well. It’s smooth and flowy. The front and side panels work pretty well specially with the huge 20 inch wheels on our test car.  Though, the rear is its big Achilles heel. It just doesn’t work well and looks very unflattering on this vehicle.

Chevy could have gone with a much more distinctive look on this car. The GMC Acadia for example has a good stance to it and people can identify the car. Unlike a minivan, SUVs have a lot of styling potential and the competition has stepped up their game. The design flows but it doesn’t stand out. So we recommend getting it in a bright and highly visible color to counter its non-descript looks.

This car is a great value at $29,000 and will be a bargain if discounts are offered. The power, handling, quality, and seating room just deliver a lot for the money.

The competition for this car are:  Honda Pilot, GMC Acadia, Mazda CX-9, and Saturn Outlook, Dodge Journey, Ford Flex, Hyundai Santa Fe, and Toyota Highlander.

2009 Chevrolet Traverse cargo area Chevy Traverse generous cargo space Chevy Traverse rear spoiler integrated over rear liftgate

This car doesn’t jump out at you and say, “buy me and love me.” Rather it works at you from all angles and proves that it’s worthy of your consideration. And as you get to know the Traverse, you will be impressed by its power, handling, economy and versatility.

Build Interior Performance Handling Styling Value Overall
Rating 4.5 4.0 5.0 4.5 3.5 4.5 4.3/B

2009 Chevrolet Traverse

Chevrolet Traverse Photo Gallery

Chevy Traverse specs

Chevrolet Traverse Specs

Official website for Chevrolet cars, hybrids, trucks, and SUVs – www.chevrolet.com

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  • Dan says:

    Bought a 2011 traverse, traded in a land rover lr3 hse. Was looking for better gas milage and somehting that is not in the shop for repairs all the time. Found both, wife loves the room and ride of the chevy. Does not have all the bells and wistles as a land rover, however you get over the “hey look at me” for a vehicle that does what is supposed to do. Which in our case is very important, the onstar was a major selling point as well as the chevy dealership we went to. No complaints for the car so far, smooth ride, good in snow, and seems to be well built. Oh almost forgot the ROOM, can not be beat by any other cross-over, period.

  • Chevrolet Traverse says:

    Thanks for sharing the useful information about this car.I really like 2009 Chevrolet Traverse. The 2009 Chevrolet Traverse is awesome car.It’s all features are fantastic such a automatic headlights, split-folding second- and third-row bench seats, full power accessories etc.It offers roomy atmosphere which is really good for long journey.There are some safety features which are very impressive such as front seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags for all three rows, antilock disc brakes.For more details refer http://www.automotivecraze.com/2009-chevrolet-traverse-review/

  • Heather says:

    I have driven the Traverse and I have to say I had a hard time trying to keep my giddyness down in front of the salesman. I wanted to push him out of the way so I could just drive this new thing HA! However the salesman took the wheel first to let me know more of the important things about the vehicle ,towing , engine , seats , gas mileage ect.I have to say this SUV has EVERYTHING I need – SPACE – for my legs when I take a long drive to visit parents . SPACE for my growing 2 children , SPACE for our luggage.The traverse offers a look inside that I can bring friends out to dinner in and have parents sit comfortably in the back . Thanks to Chevy for giving us a car that offers the people QUAILITY with good looks and style that other dealers forgot about ..I am blown away with the whole package. I have been reasearching other vehicles for half a year now and this is the one for us . If you are picky like me and you know what you want this SUV deserves a test drive from you.Stepping down from a minivan or stepping up from a car.. it is perfect .

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