2021 Chevrolet Tahoe vs Traverse
Three-row SUVs can be very appealing to some customers. Out of the many choices in the market, the Chevrolet Tahoe and Chevrolet Traverse are some of the ones that stand out. These are strong, spacious, and reliable vehicles. They do have many of the same qualities, so at first, it may be hard to decide which one would be better. As will be detailed in this comparison, the Tahoe is the more upscale model in many ways. However, the Traverse still has a lot to offer, and it can be a great choice as well.
Size and Styling
The Tahoe is the larger SUV, by a somewhat significant margin. Its maximum cargo capacity, when all of its rear seats have been folded down, is 122.9 cubic feet. This is a number that's hard to beat, and only a handful of vehicles in the market would have more interior space than this. This being said, it's not as if the Traverse is small by any means. The Traverse has a solid amount of interior space, with a maximum cargo capacity of 89.75 cubic feet. This should be more than sufficient for most customers.
Both SUVs have three rows of seats. The Tahoe can have a few different configurations. It can fit seven passengers if it has front bucket seats, captain's chairs in the middle row, and a bench in the third row. It can fit eight if it has a bench seat in its middle row; this is a common layout. It can also fit nine if a customer chooses to get a bench seat in the front row. This is only an option on the base trim, which is the LS.
In the Traverse, customers don't have an opportunity to get a front-row bench seat. Instead, every trim comes with two bucket seats in the first row. Like the Tahoe, the Traverse has a third row that can fit three passengers. Its middle row can either have a bench seat or captain's chairs, so the Traverse can have room for seven or eight total people.
The front and second rows of the Tahoe are quite spacious. Up front, there is up to 44.5 inches of leg room. In the second row, there's 42 inches of leg room, which is more than what most vehicles offer. The third row is smaller, but still relatively roomy, with there being 34.9 inches of leg room. Adults should be able to fit back there without too much of an issue.
Since the Traverse isn't as large, it doesn't have as much leg room. Its third row leg room is 33.5 inches, making it a great place for children and smaller adults to sit. The second row is comfortable, having 38.4 inches of leg room. In the front row, there's up to 41 inches of leg room.
It makes sense that the Traverse would be the easier SUV to park. It has an overall length of 204.3 inches, a width of 78.6 inches, and a height of 70.7 inches. In comparison, the Tahoe is 210.7 inches. It's wider and taller than the Traverse, too, with a width of 81 inches and a height of 75.8 inches. When it comes to size, everyone will have a personal preference about whether a certain vehicle is just the right size, too small, or too large. The reality is that both of these Chevys are on the larger side when compared with the average SUV.
Most Tahoe models sit eight inches off the ground. This is slightly higher than the ground clearance of the Traverse, which is 7.51 inches. There are some Tahoes with a different typesof suspension that can have a ground clearance of up to ten inches. High ground clearance can be useful when traveling over uneven terrain, but at the same time, most people want SUVs that children can easily climb in and out of.
These SUVs are sturdy and powerful. Their boxy frames make them appear to be rugged and suited for all kinds of adventures, and the modern touches like the LED lights and classic bowtie emblems help these Chevys look more stylish. The Tahoe has a more imposing stance, due to its larger size and the fact that it can ride on 22-inch wheels. The largest wheels that the Traverse can have measure 20 inches.
With both models, certain trims can have exterior accents to make them more visually interesting. Some trims have blackout features to give them an aggressive appearance, and others have chrome accents to add to their sophistication. LED Daytime Running Lamps and LED tail lamps are standard in both vehicles. LED headlamps are standard in the Tahoe and available in the Traverse.
The Traverse's higher trims can have some extra features. They include either a power-operated programmable liftgate or one that has a hands-free function, side rails mounted onto the roof, fog lamps, and assist steps. The Traverse can have an expansive two-panel sunroof. The front panel can slide or tilt open, and the fixed rear panel can let in more natural light.
These elements, and more, can be found in the Tahoe. The Tahoe can have automatic wipers, a hands-free tailgate that can project the Chevy emblem on the ground, and power-retractable assist steps that can light up when someone approaches the vehicle. A panoramic sunroof is available on all trims of the Tahoe.
With any one of its three available engines, the Tahoe is going to beat the Traverse when it comes to capability. Most Tahoe models run on 5.3-liter V8 engines. One of these engines will provide 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. Working together with the V8 is a ten-speed automatic transmission. The Tahoe feels responsive and powerful, and it's definitely up for a challenge. When equipped with the proper gear, it can tow up to 8,400 pounds.
Under the hood of the High Country trim of the Tahoe, there's a 6.2-liter V8 engine. With its massive size, it's able to do a lot. It can make 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. Anyone would feel confident getting behind the wheel when this much power is available.
A third option is a turbo-diesel engine that has a displacement of three liters. It comes with the same amount of torque (460 pound-feet) as the 6.2-liter V8 has. The diesel gives the Tahoe 277 horsepower.
With all of this power, the Tahoe isn't going to surprise anyone with its fuel economy. As expected from a SUV of this size, it doesn't do that well in this area. The best it can do is an estimated 22/26 (city/highway) miles per gallon, and that's with a diesel running it. A Tahoe with a 5.3-liter engine earns an estimated 16/20 miles per gallon, and one with the larger V8 has a fuel economy of 15/20 miles per gallon. Having all-wheel drive could slightly lower those numbers.
The Traverse does a little better than the non-diesel Tahoes, at least in fuel economy. It earns an estimated 18/27 miles (city/highway) per gallon. This isn't great for a modern vehicle, but it's likely to be satisfactory for customers in the market for large SUVs.
A V6 powers the Traverse. It has a displacement of 3.6 liters, and it makes 310 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. Chevy has given the Traverse a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Both the Traverse and Tahoe are available with all-wheel drive. If all-wheel drive isn't needed, then the Tahoe would have rear-wheel drive and the Traverse would have front-wheel drive. Rear-wheel drive is often seen in high performing vehicles like sports cars and premium SUVs, and some people may prefer it.
In the Traverse, there's a standard StabiliTrak system to maintain stability and traction. Trailering equipment is optional, and the Traverse can only be used to tow up to 1,500 pounds. There's an automatic stop/start function to conserve gasoline when the vehicle is stopped in traffic or at a red light.
The Tahoe has those same features, and it can have much more. Certain trims can come with an adaptive air ride suspension. With this feature, the air springs can make adjustments in order to smooth out the ride. Plus, adjustments can be made to level the vehicle if the rear cargo area is loaded down with heavy equipment. Most trims have rear multi-link suspension and a coil-over-shock style suspension up front.
To help with hauling cargo, the Tahoe comes standard with trailer sway control. The SUV can predict when the trailer may sway back and forth by monitoring steering input, and it can then apply the trailer brakes to keep things in control. It can also have a tire pressure monitoring system to keep an eye on the pressure in a trailer's tires.
Designed for rugged terrain, the Tahoe has some useful programs. First, it has a limited-slip rear differential to ensure that the rear wheels are turning at the same speed when dealing with uneven road or trail surfaces. It can either have a single-speed transfer case or a two-speed transfer case.
Comfort, Options and Performance
Things are equally impressive in the cabins of these Chevy SUVs. The Tahoe has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in all of its trims. Wireless charging is found in select trims, as are integrated navigation and a Bose sound system with ten speakers. All Tahoes have 10.2-inch touchscreens, Bluetooth, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and Wi-Fi capability.
Most of those same components can be found in the Traverse, at least in the higher trims. However, the Traverse is limited to having a seven- or eight-inch touchscreen, depending on the trim. In addition, the base trim doesn't have SiriusXM, and while the Traverse has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, they're not wireless.
Seating material in both the Tahoe and Traverse ranges from cloth to perforated leather. Many trims have heated front seats, with the more premium ones having heated and ventilated front seats and heated rear seats. Even the steering wheels in these SUVs can be heated. Minor features like these can really enhance the overall driving experience, and many customers are prepared to pay extra for these types of things.
In many ways, the top trims of these vehicles are just as nice as the models made by luxury companies. For instance, the Tahoe and Traverse can have a power-adjustable steering column; remote start; memory settings for the driver's seat, steering column, and exterior mirrors; and a rearview camera mirror. This mirror can be a traditional mirror, but when the cabin is loaded down and it's difficult to see anything with the mirror, it can double as a display. Through this display, a driver can see a live feed provided by the rearview camera.
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It can be difficult to keep an eye on everything at once, and that's why Chevrolet has equipped many of its vehicles with driver-assist technologies. Both of these SUVs have the potential to hit their brakes and/or correct steering in order to prevent certain types of accidents. Before taking those corrective measures, they would alert drivers to the problem.
The standard list of driver-assist systems in the Tahoe includes forward collision alert, pedestrian detection, a following distance warning function, and automatic emergency braking. It also has a a rear park assist feature that lets drivers know when they're getting too close to objects.
Higher trims of the Tahoe have front and rear parking assist, which can come in handy when parallel parking or parking in a garage. These higher trims will have blind zone monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and lane keep assist. The blind zone monitoring system can be enhanced to take the length of a trailer into account.
Unfortunately, the Traverse doesn't have these same standard features. Automatic braking, forward collision alert, blind zone monitoring, and a few other systems are only standard on the RS, Premier, and High Country. Some of the mid-level trims have these components as optional, but they simply aren't available on the lower trims.
With both the Tahoe and Traverse, an HD surround vision camera is available. Many drivers may rely on these types of cameras when parking, as they provide a 360-degree perspective of how the SUV is doing in relation to other objects.
Which Model to Choose?
While the Traverse has a lot going for it, including a spacious cabin, nice interior amenities, and a capable engine, the Chevy Tahoe has more to offer. It's much more powerful than the Traverse is, and customers get to choose from three great engine choices. The Tahoe is larger as well, and it has the better technology and safety package.
The biggest disadvantage to the Tahoe is its price. For some people, the cost of the Tahoe will be prohibitive. The Tahoe starts off with a cost of $51,295, and it goes all the way up to $71,395. That last price is for a rear-wheel-drive High Country trim without any additional options.
In contrast, the Traverse has a reasonable starting cost of $30,995. Its most expensive trim is priced at $52,395. This a huge price discrepancy when compared with the Tahoe.