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2022 Chevrolet Traverse vs Toyota Highlander

2022 Chevrolet Traverse vs Toyota Highlander

2022 Traverse vs Highlander - How Do They Stack Up? Which is Better?

The Chevy Traverse and Toyota Highlander are two nice options for those looking for three-row SUVs. They have the amount of seating that many people need, and they have great capability as well. The two companies have put in many convenient and high-tech features into the cabins of these vehicles, making them even more competitive.

The Powertrain

Under the hood of a Chevrolet Traverse, there's a V6 engine. It's a 3.6-liter version that can make 310 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. This is enough capability to make the SUV feel powerful and athletic, even when weighed down with a full cabin.

This engine is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. It provides the right amount of power at various speeds, and it shifts quite smoothly. Drivers do have the opportunity to manually shift, if they choose to.

Towing capacity is 5,000 pounds when the Traverse is properly equipped, and the Toyota Highlander can do the same. This is a solid number that gives people a lot of freedom to haul work equipment, bikes, ATVs, small boats, or even small campers. The Traverse can come with a hitch guidance feature as part of its rear vision camera; this can make it easier to line up the vehicle perfectly with a trailer. There's even a close-up hitch view that's available on select models. The Highlander doesn't have this feature, but it does have trailer-sway control to help drivers stay in control.

The Traverse can either come with front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The all-wheel-drive system is always on and ready to make adjustments if any of the wheels experience any issues with traction. A standard five-link rear suspension, front stabilizer bar, and MacPherson strut coil spring suspension in the front all help the SUV handle uneven terrain.

With the Toyota Highlander, there are two choices for the powertrain. One is a traditional powertrain, and the other is a hybrid system. The regular engine is almost the same size as that of the Traverse. It's a 3.5-liter V6 that delivers 295 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. A difference of 15 horsepower when comparing the Highlander and Traverse may not be that significant for most drivers.

The hybrid version of the Highlander uses a set of electric motors and a 2.5-liter engine. Combined horsepower is 243. While some other vehicles have hybrid versions that are actually more powerful than their traditional counterparts, this is not the case with the Highlander.

Toyota has given customers the choice of getting their Highlanders with front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The hybrids have an electronic on-demand all-wheel drive system, and the non-hybrids can either have regular all-wheel drive systems or dynamic torque vectoring AWD. This last feature allows the vehicle to better adapt to different situations. Each rear wheel has an electromagnetic coupler so that the vehicle can decide how to split power to the rear wheels. Note that hybrids with front-wheel drive have two electric motors and those with all-wheel drive have an additional motor that delivers power to the rear wheels.

The XSE trim of the Highlander is unique. It has a sport-tuned suspension so that it can exhibit better handling. All non-hybrid trims have eight-speed electronically controlled automatic transmissions, and all hybrid trims have electronically controlled continuously variable transmissions.

Toyota has equipped the Highlander with a few different drive modes. Regular models have Sport, Eco, and Normal modes, in addition to Snow mode. They have Snow mode even if they have front-wheel drive, which can give people some peace of mind if they ever have to deal with wintry weather. If there's an all-wheel-drive system, there would also be a Multi-Terrain Select program that offers mud and sand as well as rock and dirt modes. The hybrids have an EV mode that can be used to conserve fuel and rely exclusively on electric power alone; it only works for limited periods of time. Hybrids with all-wheel drive have Trail mode, too.

When it comes to fuel efficiency, obviously the Highlander Hybrid does the best. It can earn up to 36 miles per gallon in the city and 35 miles per gallon on the highway. This fuel economy isn't amazing, but it is pretty good considering the vehicle's size. The regular Highlander has an estimated fuel economy of up to 21 miles per gallon in the city and 29 miles per gallon on the highway, and having all-wheel drive results in an estimated fuel economy of 20/27 (city/highway) miles per gallon.

The Traverse, when set up with front-wheel drive, can achieve 18 miles per gallon in the city and 21 miles per gallon on the highway. Having all-wheel drive would result in a decrease of one mile per gallon for both city and highway driving. These numbers aren't stellar either, but they are comparable to what the non-hybrid Highlander can do.


These vehicles are on the larger side. For people who are used to compact vehicles, the size of the Traverse and Highlander may take some getting used to. The Traverse is the longer vehicle out of the two, as it has a length of 205.9 inches. The Highlander, in comparison, is 194.9 inches. The Traverse is about two inches wider as well, so it may be harder to fit in certain parking spots.

On the other hand, the Highlander has a higher ground clearance than the Traverse does. However, this difference is only about half an inch.

Interior size is important to consider when getting a three-row SUV. Some models have smaller third rows which aren't that ideal for adults or taller passengers. Some might feel that the Highlander fits in this category. It has 42 and 41 inches of leg room in its first and second rows, respectively, but it only has 27.7 inches of leg room in its third row.

Passengers will be much more comfortable in the Traverse. It has 33.5 inches of third-row leg room. Things might be tight on longer road trips, but many adults could fit back there. Second-row leg room is 38.4 inches, which is not as much space as the Highlander offers. People in the front should be fine with 41 inches of leg room.

Both models offer the option of getting captain's chairs in their middle rows. This would bring seating capacity down from eight to seven. Some people would be fine with that compromise since it means that a bit of space would be opened up in the middle of the cabin. Otherwise, it could be a little difficult for larger passengers to climb all the way into the back row.

Presumably, potential buyers looking into getting vehicles of this size will care about cargo space. Maximum cargo capacity in the Traverse is 98.2 cubic feet, a number that's quite impressive. This is considerably more space than what the Highlander offers, which is 84.3 cubic feet.

Behind the rear seat of the Traverse, there's 23 cubic feet of space. Lowering the back row down can increase cargo volume to 57.8 cubic feet. The Highlander only has 16 cubic feet of space behind its third row. Lowering the third row results in a cargo volume of 48.4 cubic feet. Clearly, the Traverse is going to win the matchup if someone is mostly concerned with interior room.

These days, vehicles can come with all sorts of modern equipment to make drives more pleasant and to keep poeple informed and in touch with others. The Traverse can have a 3.5-inch, a 4.2-inch, or an eight-inch driver information center. It's easy to access information using this display. Plus, the SUV can either have a seven-inch or eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Voice recognition is standard, and so are SiriusXM and WiFi capability. All of these components are so convenient to have, and on long trips, passengers can take advantage of the fast internet connection. Select trims have integrated navigation and wireless charging, too.

The Highlander has similar components. First, the digital information display can either measure 4.2 or seven inches. Its location right in front of the driver makes it easy to read.

The lower trims of the Toyota all have eight-inch touchscreens with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. They, too, have SiriusXM. They also have another feature that's not found on the Traverse. It's Amazon Alexa, and it can communicate with other Alexa devices and be used to look up various kinds of information. Like the Traverse, the Highlander has Wi-Fi compatibility, and it has an optional navigation program. The most high-end trims of the Highlander can have 12.3-inch touchscreens.

It's likely that these vehicles are going to be transporting multiple mobile devices when their cabins are full of passengers. Fortunately, the Traverse has six standard USB ports. A few ports have been placed in each row of seating. Wireless charging is available. The Toyota comes with five USB ports, and it can have wireless charging as well.


Many people will be happy to hear that both of these models come standard with driver-assist technologies. To help prevent frontal collisions, they both have collision alert systems and automatic emergency braking. Pedestrian detection is very useful in parking lots and in urban areas. They also have automatic high beams, lane keep assist, and rear vision cameras.

Blind spot monitoring is standard on the Highlander, but on the entry-level trim of the Traverse, it's only optional. The same is true for rear cross traffic alert. The higher trims of both SUVs can have 360-degree cameras, but only the Highlander is available with a head-up display.

Another way in which the Toyota has the better safety package is by having adaptive cruise control as a standard component. Adaptive cruise control can maintain a certain speed, but it the leading vehicle slows down, the program can make the right adjustments so that proper distancing is maintained and the Highlander follows traffic patterns safely. Unfortunately, adaptive cruise control is not even an option on the lower trims of the Traverse. It is, though, included in mid-level and higher trims.

What the Traverse does have is a Teen Driver program. It's a setting that can be activated when new drivers are behind the wheel. It can limit certain features, automatically turn on specified safety systems, and provide a report of how the driver did. It comes with a "Buckle-to-Drive" feature that ensures that the driver's seat belt has been fastened before someone can shift from Park to Drive.

Which Has the Best Value?

Vehicles of this size aren't cheap by any means. That being said, these two models are reasonably priced. The Traverse is a bit more affordable, having a starting cost of $33,700. The entry-level trim have a nice technology package, several driver-assist mechanisms, and tri-zone climate control. The first trim of the Highlander is very comparable both in terms of its price and its amenities. It costs $35,855, so the Traverse has the edge when it comes to value.

At the other end of the respective lineups, there are the Traverse High Country and the Highlander Hybrid Platinum. Whereas the entry-level trim of the Traverse was cheaper than its Toyota counterpart, the opposite is found when comparing the nicer models. The Highlander Hybrid Platinum costs about $49,500, with the regular Platinum costing approximately $48,000. The Traverse High Country tops that with a cost of $51,200.

These high-end trims are decked out with many high-tech and sophisticated features. The Traverse High Country, for example, has a power-folding third row, a two-panel sunroof, 20-inch wheels, and perforated leather seats. The Platinum trim of the Highlander has a panoramic sunroof, a 360-degree camera, heated and ventilated front seats, and a heated second row. It's hard to say which trim is better since they both have some impressive elements.

Which is Better?

The Chevrolet Traverse is stronger and bigger than the Toyota Highlander. This will likely be important as potential buyers decide which model to get. Anyone who needs more cargo space and prefers there to be a decent amount of room in the third row will most likely lean towards the Traverse.

In contrast, the Highlander can have a bigger touchscreen and it has more advanced technology, including programs that can enhance safety. For those who simply need a third row for children or for the occasional trip, the Highlander would do just fine. Another thing working in the Highlander's favor is that it's available as a hybrid. People can end up saving money in the long run by getting a hybrid version of the SUV.

The base trim of the Traverse seems to be a better deal than the base trim of the Highlander. When looking at the mid-level and higher trims, the reverse is true. This may play a role in the decision-making process also.

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2021 Chevrolet Traverse VS Toyota Highlander
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