By on October 25, 2017

Tahoe and Traverse, Image: GM

It’s called cryptic biodiversity and it’s the process by which genetically diverse species end up looking very similar. This is a big thing with salamanders; apparently the perfect design for amphibian quadrapeds is so obvious that it can be reached via several different pathways. It’s also the reason why I have successfully convinced several convenience store employees that I was, in fact, former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl.

As the automotive market not-so-gently pushes manufacturers towards producing identical-looking products on vastly different mechanical platforms, there’s a bit of amusement to be had in wondering which one of those platforms really serves a certain market segment best. It’s also a source of considerable purchaser angst, which brings us to this week’s question regarding cryptically-biodiverse mommy wagons.

Evan writes,

From reading your stories lately I see that you’re a Chevy owner now… I am looking at getting a three-row SUV for my family with two boys, one seven and one 12. My wife wants a Tahoe. I realized that the Tahoe and the Traverse are almost exactly the same size inside and out. But one is a truck and one is a crossover. And the Traverse is $20,000 cheaper. My wife doesn’t care. She says the Tahoe will last longer. What should we do?

This didn’t make any sense to me at first reading. How could a Tahoe and a Traverse be even remotely comparable? So I ran some of the numbers…

2018 TRAVERSE                  2017 TAHOE
Length: 204.3 Inches            203.9 Inches
Wheelbase: 120.9 Inches      116.0 Inches
Width: 78.6 Inches                80.5 Inches
Height: 70.7 Inches                74.4 Inches
Weight: 4362 lb                      5731 lb

These are two remarkably similar vehicles separated only by the minor fact of a three-quarter-ton weight difference. The reason for this is easy to understand. The Tahoe is basically a short-wheelbase Silverado with a cap on it, while the Traverse is a buffed-up sedan platform with a transverse engine. It would be hard to make a Tahoe any smaller; such a vehicle would have to be a two-door 110-inch-wheelbase Silverado with a cap on it, which would make it a K5 Blazer. Which would be cool, but that’s not the point. When you buy a Tahoe, you’re getting a stubby variant of my majestic Silverado LTZ Max Tow 6.2, powered by a less ambitious 5.3-liter small-block. The Traverse, on the other hand, is about as big as it could possibly get without running into major issues with body stiffness and drivetrain stress. So we have two massively different vehicles that just happen to meet in that three-row, 204-inch-long, 118-inch-ish wheelbase space.

Just how different becomes apparent when you look at pricing. A Traverse LS AWD starts at $34,995, while the equivalent Tahoe LS 4WD runs $51,720. The equipment list is remarkably similar for both vehicles. The Tahoe price difference is partially due to the heavier-duty V8 drivetrain, partially due to the extra materials used, and mostly due to the bulletproof white-collar credibility of the Tahoe badge.

It’s the price difference that makes this such a tough decision. On the face of it, Evan’s wife is absolutely correct. They should buy the Tahoe. It will last longer, cost less to maintain, and retain a far greater percentage of its resale value — particularly if they keep it for more than a decade or over 100,000 miles. It can really tow and it can really haul, should those qualities ever be desired. It’s easier to service, too. Most importantly, it in no way looks like a minivan, TTAC Tahoe Grande photoshops aside.

Yet when you start talking about $35K vs. $52K, some of those differences start to seem less significant. On five-year financing that’s about $275/month. Post-tax, of course, unless you’re gonna Sec179 the thing somehow. It’s unlikely that the Tahoe’s lower cost of ownership and higher value retention will ever claw back that kind of difference. There will probably never be a time when the Traverse would sell for $10k used and the Tahoe would sell for $27k.

If that’s not enough to swing Evan’s wife towards the Traverse, I’d recommend that she drive both of them for a day or so and try all of her usual tasks with each. Like it or not, the Traverse is simply going to be a better machine for family life. It has more interior space, a lower load floor, and better visibility. It probably won’t beat the Tahoe for overall fuel economy — my Silverado returns 16 mpg while pulling an MX-5 on a trailer — but around town it might eke out a tiny advantage. It’s a modern unibody with all the attendant safety, NVH, and rust-resistance advantages.

I’m going to put in my vote for the Traverse here. It’s the better 204-inch salamander and a better vehicle for people with multiple children. It’s not as flashy or upscale as the Tahoe, but $275 each and every month can improve your life in a lot of little ways that might cover the gap and then some. Or you could do what I did and get a Silverado. The equivalent LS 4WD Crew Cab Short Bed is $41,725. That’s a nice halfway point for a vehicle with more utility than either of the ones discussed above. Is that why so many American families are buying trucks? Or are we all simply evolving into a cryptically-generated nation of rednecks?

[Images: General Motors]

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111 Comments on “Ask Jack: Push Me, or Pull You?...”


  • avatar

    But Jackbro, the Silverado is missing the very important third row seats. While third row is not required to transport two kids, it is required when transporting your two kids and their two or three friends, and it’s why people are so gung-ho about three-row SUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      phila_DLJ

      “So you can chauffeur your kids’ friends” is a silly reason to buy a 3-row SUV. Why not just let the friends’ parents chauffeur YOUR kid(s) around? Suckaaaahs!

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        It’s exactly the argument that my wife has for wanting a 3-row SUV. We have 2 boys, similar ages as the OP, and a small lab that rides in a crate.

        She wants to upgrade from her Accord (which I’ll inherit, replacing my old Escape) and get a “tough, rugged, last-forever” vehicle. Like a 4Runner.

        The 3-row 4Runner has little room in the back, and the next step up (full-size) is ridiculously expensive. I’ve suggested a larger crossover, 2 or 3-row, that can meet her driving desires and our family needs.

        So…we wait and I drag my feet. I do like the 4Runner (a slightly used GX460 is a better bargain).

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        DLJ has the right idea.

        Seriously, though…sometimes it’s better to have the kiddies separated. I can think of any number of times when a third row would have been very, very nice.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    If you’re going to go out and get a BOF SUV, just go all the way and get the Suburban. Not much of a price difference vs the Tahoe, but a much more usable 3rd row, better stability when towing, more cargo room, etc. As long as you aren’t space constrained when parking it, the advantages of the truck will be more clear with the Burb.

    Based on how I see them used, most Tahoe owners would be happier with 2 rows of seats and more storage. Anyone who is often hauling more than 5 people is getting a Suburban, a large crossover, or a minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      “Based on how I see them used, most Tahoe owners would be happier with 2 rows of seats and more storage. ”

      Agreed 100%, but everyone with one or more kids MUST have a 3rd row! Nobody can have children without it!

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        a guy I know did just this; he bought a Yukon and yanked the 3rd row seat so he could carry all of his R/C boat stuff.

        • 0 avatar
          Cole Trickle

          The 3rd row folds flat in my 2015 Yukon…why would you rip it out?

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          I owned minivans for years as winter beaters and would remove (older days) the third row or fold flat (newer days) the third row so I would have seating for 4, and the extra on-demand cargo room.

          So I agree with your suggestion that a number of third row owners have the third row “in case.” I have carried up to 7 in my assorted vans through the years, but that was the outlier.

      • 0 avatar
        I_like_stuff

        “Agreed 100%, but everyone with one or more kids MUST have a 3rd row! Nobody can have children without it!”

        Not everyone. I have 2 kids and when I owned a Tahoe (well a Yukon which is a Tahoe by any other name) I specifically looked for one without the 3rd seat. And when I looked to sell it, the fact it didn’t have a 3rd row didn’t affect its desirability. The family that bought it from me also had 2 kids.

      • 0 avatar
        Cactuar

        Not really, three rows is mostly useful when child #3 comes along.

      • 0 avatar
        cbrworm

        Every time I try to strap 5 kids into our 4 door car or SUV, I wish we had something with a third row. Only two of the kids are ours, but they travel in packs. I don’t actually want to own a 3 row vehicle, but I fear that is what the future holds for me.

        It is also lame to go have to take two cars on trips because we want to include a cousin or two, which we frequently do.

        I’m all for brown diesel station wagons with manual transmissions, but the reality is that for many families (even with two kids) 5 seat belts is not sufficient. Especially when at least one of your kids is in a car seat that takes up as much space as a linebacker.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      “Based on how I see them used, most Tahoe owners would be happier with 2 rows of seats and more storage.”

      What I like about the my ’07 ‘Hoe is that I can add or remove the 3rd row as needed. I have 3 kids, mostly I have one seat in the 3rd row and leave the space next to it for storage. For towing I have no issues with the stability. I like the fact that it turns on a dime due to the short wheel base which makes backing trailers into tight spaces so easy.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      And they now have a 2-row, the Tahoe Custom. It’s less expensive, too.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryannosaurus

      Or you can do like I did. I bought a crew cab 1/2 ton PU with the center front seat. 6 seat belts when you need them, and the seat folds down to make a nice cup holder/arm rest when you don’t. To keep my gear dry and safe, I put a leer cap on the back.

      Jack is right about saving some serious money going this route. I would never buy another truck with the fixed center counsel, such a waste of space.

      • 0 avatar
        Caboose

        “I would never buy another truck with the fixed center counsel, such a waste of space.”

        I disagree; my last truck came with a castrated lawyer in between the front captain’s chairs, and I cannot tell you how much it saved me. You just wouldn’t believe how risk averse a fixed counsel is; mine has helped me avoid so many accidents.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          Suburban really is the answer here. As a former Tahoe owner and someone who has ridden in all three rows of the newest iteration, I can tell you the Tahoe is really a 2-row vehicle. The third row is cramped and cuts off 75% of the cargo space.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    My first instinct is to go for the Tahoe. But, really, unless he’s towing a rather large boat or a camper, the Traverse is probably easier to live with. I know the monthly payment would be.

    I realize the Traverse is all-new this year, but I believe its powertrain has pretty much proven itself previously. I am unaware if the 3.6L has any demons in its closet, but if so, I haven’t heard of them. Also, the FWD Ford-GM transaxle (aside from some early teething issues in GM vehicles) is a pretty solid unit. This may be the new 9 speed version, I’m not sure, but I still wouldn’t think the reliability of it would be that much worse than the unit in the Tahoe.

    But, if she wants a Tahoe, the Traverse simply won’t do. You can tell me that I’d be better served by a Camry instead of my Taurus all day long, but if I don’t want or like the Camry, it won’t make a difference. The heart wants what it wants, and if they can swing it, might as well make momma happy.

    I do echo your suggestion of driving them both to be sure, but if she’s like a lot of people, the Traverse can do everything better but it still won’t be what makes her happy.

    • 0 avatar
      a5ehren

      Taurus (even the SHO) doesn’t cost $20k more than a Camry, though.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      “it still won’t be what makes her happy”

      Which, reading between the lines of the Ask Jack question, is what’s at the heart of the matter. I suspect that the Traverse is too common and too much the mommy-mobile in her mind. It’s a rare woman indeed who would look at a $20K price difference and argue that the Tahoe will hang on to that premium based on the facts just as Jack has laid out. But driving something that’s superior in terms of status, well, that’s much harder to put a price tag on.

      • 0 avatar
        nlinesk8s

        Nailed it. A lot of comments below regard reasons you’d want one vehicle or the other, or why you wouldn’t just get a minivan, that being the most practical vehicle.

        And none of them matter.

        And I can’t but think of Europeans, who manage to have actual families in markets where a Mazda 3 GT would be a “large” car.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        We are DINKs with dogs and the salesman wondered why we were looking at a Acadia Limited or 1st Gen Enclave as they are being replaced or already are in the case of the Acadia.

        The Lambda triplets look the part and are a much less expensive than a Tahoe that my wife would be getting honked and flashed at while going over the center line.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      ” I am unaware if the 3.6L has any demons in its closet”

      Earlier Lambdas had widespread issues with timing chains stretching. Mostly from people running crappy oil for 10k intervals perhaps. I would assume that’s been sorted out by now.

      • 0 avatar

        Oh boy. I have put so many timing chains on Travereses. Oil changes or not, it was just a defective design. I just dropped the whole subframe every time. What a piece of junk. Tahoe isn’t perfect, but I’d take one every time over a Tranverse.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          That and the GM 2.4s it seems, my brother has seen many a ‘Nox that jumped timing, and I’ve heard a few in traffic that sounded like absolute death.

          Locally, a guy on CL advertises 2.4/3.6 chain replacements, together with Northstar re-studding. It’s definitely a pattern failure.

  • avatar
    MartyToo

    I don’t know the answer but I’m curious as to whether the Tahoe and Suburban have gone down in quality as has been regurgitated in many quarters.

    If so, will the cost of ownership be what is anticipated in this piece?

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Cars.com has several LS Tahoes starting at $39,000. Obviously I would go with BOF myself, the unibody is a pointless waste of time IMO. If your looking at a Traverse just go ahead and look at the Grand Caravan or the Pacifa, there all minivans just the Traverse doesn’t have the sliding door.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      “.. the unibody is a pointless waste of time.”

      Unless “your” towing a lot, or regularly driving off-road, a BOF set up is pointless.

      I don’t see how either is a “waste of time”. Does it take longer to buy a unibody vehicle? Does it take longer to get somewhere in one? If so, you better trade your SS for an old Caprice, quick! You sure don’t want to be wasting time by driving a unibody.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        It really is a waste, its not more fuel efficient in the real world, it’s not safer, it doesn’t hold its value, it’s what people settle for. Never settle for less than what you want, ever. The frumpy styling on the Traverse is too much to handle, while the Tahoe looks like something that some level of effort went into making. If your going to make some argument that your wife should settle for a frumpy Traverse over a Tahoe she wants, the same argument is applicable for just settling for a Grand Caravan which will be even cheaper and have the same basic design build as the Traverse.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “It really is a waste, its not more fuel efficient in the real world…”

          Wrong. There is a pretty significant difference in terms of MPG between these two vehicles per C/D instrumented testing of Traverse versus Tahoe:

          Traverse:
          https://media.caranddriver.com/files/2018-chevrolet-traverse-test-review-car-and-driverchevrolettraverseawdhighcountry2018.pdf

          Tahoe:
          https://s3.amazonaws.com/amv-prod-cad-assets/files/2017-chevrolet-tahoe-4wd-test-review-car-and-driverchevrolettahoepremier4wd2017.pdf

          The Traverse also is quicker than the Tahoe, handles better, and (most importantly) offers far better braking.

          Plus, it’ll function far better as a people hauler.

          All for $20,000 less. I don’t tow anything, so I’d “settle” for the Traverse any day.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            According to fuelly for 17 Traverses the avg MPG is 17.6, for the 17 Tahoe the AVG is 16.3. So about 1.5MPG difference to not be forced to drive a rolling Jabba the Hutt.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I’m not sold on your source but whatever…clearly the Traverse gets better mileage.

            And it’ll handle better.

            And it’ll brake better.

            And it’ll haul people better.

            And it’ll cost a lot less to buy.

            Seems to me if you’re not into towing, that’s your best bet.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I don’t particularly find fuelly a great indicator of fuel economy as everyone drives differently, but realistically it’s the best representation one can get without real word experience with both. I’ve driven a K2XX crewcab 5.3 silverado and averaged as high as 24 MPG and as low as 14 depending on my driving.

            I sure hope it will handle better since it has no ground clearance, I hope it brakes better since it weighs less, but you know what? So will a 3 row station wagon. There both tall heavy vehicles so neither of those things will make a real world difference. The Tahoe is a much better place to spend time than any crossover, my head not touching the ceiling is worth money to me.

            End of the day the Tahoe is significantly more desireable, but of course they have to subsidize those Bolts somehow.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          And the 2018 Traverse looks like a mini Tahoe/Suburban. Our Acadia Limited gets 27 mpg at 65 mpg…sans Trifecta tuning.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “Unless “your” towing a lot, or regularly driving off-road, a BOF set up is pointless.”

        *You’re

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          This is actually the most useful comment you’ve ever made. Somehow it didn’t end up in non-sequitur Ford bashing.

        • 0 avatar
          CRConrad

          Yeah, that’s why he put it in quote marks.

          The post you’re replying to and mocking its use of “your” where it should be “you’re” was itself a reply to another one, mocking its use of “your” where it should be “you’re”.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    Jack recommended a large CUV. And behold, there was a great earthquake. And the sun became as black as sack cloth, and the moon became as blood. And the seas boiled, and the skies fell.

  • avatar
    silentsod

    My wife and I are doing family planning and a part of that includes vehicle discussion and exploration. The Tahoe has come up and I’ve countered with the Traverse and other vehicles of its ilk because a) we’re not towing b) we’re not modifying any cars and c) there’s a massive price premium (even over the trucks it’s based on) due to form factor and badge.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Silentsod, if you like the size and styling the Acadia Limited is as gussied up as a Denali minus vented seat, twin flow shocks, and satin exterior pieces in the n low $30’s . We got ours down to about 25% MSRP of $46K.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Take your wife to the Chevy dealer and look inside both of them. They are not “almost the same size inside.” Fold the third row up and down. Sit in the second row with the front seats in a realistic position. The reason to buy the Traverse is interior room. The Traverse feels almost like a minivan inside, while the Tahoe has interior space more like a modern compact CUV.

    If you are not towing, hauling heavy cargo, or driving a lot of dirt/gravel roads, then the Tahoe is purely about image. Nearly $20k is a lot to pay for image.

    • 0 avatar
      legacygt

      100%
      The size of the Tahoe is misleading when it comes to interior volume. The only exception may be if you have some particularly boxy cargo that could only be absorbed by the Tahoe’s full boxy-ness. But for fitting typical families and their cargo, the Traverse is much more useful.

    • 0 avatar
      mrwiizrd

      “Nearly $20k is a lot to pay for image.”

      It may seem that way to the TTAC B&B, but it’s really not all that much when compared to the premium folks willingly spend for a Mercedes G-Wagon, Porsche Cayenne or Ford Raptor.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Having sat in a K2XX Yukon third row, they suck. Having said that, I loved just abotu everything else about that truck. It actually felt “special” to drive around in, unlike just about any other mainstream auto (from GM or otherwise) that I’ve been in recently. Even the 5.3L soudns awesome and hauls it around with authority.

      If you actually need the interior room and watch the family budget, Traverse all the way (unfortunately). But man the fullsize GM SUVs are nice driving trucks.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    There are some things the Tahoe can do better, and if those things are priorities, then nothing other than the Tahoe will do (or Yukon or Escalade). But for everything else, and for most people, the Traverse is not only more appropriate, but simply better. And if you’re the kind of person who says ‘the Tahoe and Traverse are nearly identical’ then you’re the kind of person who would be much happier in a Traverse.

  • avatar
    scott25

    Convergent Evolution is the phrase you’re looking for.

    • 0 avatar
      jonsey

      This. Jack likes to start his articles with esoteric subjects and relate them to cars, but sometimes I get the feeling he doesn’t have a full grasp of the concepts he mentions in passing.

      Convergent evolution is when unrelated species that fill the same ecological niche evolve into similar forms because those forms are best for the purpose. A good example would be a coyote and the extinct marsupial tiger.Or a Traverse and Tahoe.

      I’ve never heard of cryptic biodiversity, but some quick research suggests it is when a community looks like one species but is in fact many closely related but genetically distinct species.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Cryptic biodiversity is obviously much more rare. And it lets me make salamander jokes.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Cryptic biodiversity or Convergent evolution are natural selection at work. Vehicles on the other hand are designed by committees constrained to a price point. The former is natural, the latter is not.

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            Similar external pressures exist, though. EPA and CAFE requirements, market tastes for example, that can drive the evolution of design.

          • 0 avatar
            CRConrad

            It’s almost so you could become a believer in Intelligent Design — if only most cars were a little more intelligently designed.

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    Absolutely astonishes me to no end how there is even a market for any of these vehicles (unless towing) when minivans exist. It is a better tool for the job a million times over, and how does a minivan look worse than these horrid looking boxes?

    I just cannot, for the life of me, understand it.

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      It absolutely astonishes me that millions of people watch the Kardashean show and soaps and all sorts of garbage on TV. But they do. I learned long ago that not everyone has the same taste as me, and that’s perfectly OK. Some people hate the way mini vans look and just want a big bad looking SUV instead. Some people would rather walk than drive a Tahoe. And that’s fine.

      It’s like art. There’s no right or wrong answer on “which looks better”. Ask 100 people you’ll get 100 different answers.

    • 0 avatar
      BC

      A big part of growing old is capitulation. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve decided to do something my former self had sworn to never to do and never understood those who did it. I don’t know your life situation or pretend to but I would gamble that you have neither a wife nor kids.

      Additionally, I would point out that 98% of new car buyers are buying an illusion. How is a “sports” sedan not the same thing? How many pickup owners are carting around full loads? The automobile industry is a marketing/fantasy business. Once you have kids, job, and a mortgage you’re even more susceptible to it. So if your wife wants a cross over or you want to pretend you’re not your 3 year olds’ personal butler/butt wiper – you can enjoy a nice SUV and pretend like your most urgent problem is not your upcoming property tax bill.

      • 0 avatar
        Alfisti

        I have a wife and two sons, ages 6 and 2. Family car is an X3 which for two kids is just fine.

        Where i get lost is the minivan vs 3 row SUV for 3 kid families. A sports sedan vs regular sedan at least buys some excitement, there is literally no redeeming feature to the three row SUV, the minivan does everything better if you discount stigma.

        Now i understand stigma but in this corner of the market, who are you impressing? You won life, nice family and can afford a new car, so why is the box more appealing than the minivan?

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          “Family car is an X3”

          Why for the life of someone would they buy one of those horrid vehicles?

          See how easy that is?

          • 0 avatar
            bbbuzzy

            Funny thing is I have an X3 (35i), a 335is convertible (sporty, but not a real sports car), and an AWD Sienna (road trip and ski vehicle). The X3 rocks on the highway when you can use the engine and enjoy the stability. Not so much at lower speeds where overboosted electric steering drains the fun away. The 335is is a fun convertible that let’s me enjoy the manual transmission. The Sienna is a workhorse that deserves lots of respect for its practicality, but the driving experience is not great. Having said that, I sat in the ’18 Traverse and am hoping to replace the ’05 Sienna with one of these in a year or so. The third row, as mentioned, is much roomier and comfortable than a Tahoe and way better than a Suburban/Yukon XL. Those vehicles have a fixed second row, so third row legroom sucks. The Traverse (w/captains chairs) allows the second row to move and allows plenty of room in all three rows for average size folks (I set drivers seat for myself, then second row, and was fine in the 3rd. I’m 5’10” and like to manspread :)

      • 0 avatar
        I_like_stuff

        “How many pickup owners are carting around full loads? ”

        More than you think. In fact I’d say the vast majority at some point do. Does that mean every truck owner has 1500 lbs of cargo in the bed every day? No. But they will use it to tow a boat or an RV or get lumber from Home Depot, garbage run to the city dump (I do that weekly myself and save $30 a month in not paying for trash servicel). Every time I’m at Costco I see trucks lined up by teh entrance with TVs, mattresses, etc in the back. Go to the local landscape outlet on a Saturday and you’ll see a never ending line of trucks loaded up with sand, gravel, mulch. And these aren’t contractors, they’re regular people with projects around the house.

        Two things that always make chuckle when I read comments here:

        1. The hatred of AWD
        2. The belief that nobody who owns a truck uses it for “truck” stuff

        It’s weird.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          You’re right, but then again, Home Depot and the furniture store can rent you a pickup for $25 or so if you need to haul your stuff home. Forty bucks or so gets you a pickup all day from Enterprise.

          Makes more sense to me than spending upwards of $50,000 (or a LOT more) on a truck so that I can use it a couple of times a year to haul stuff. That’s why God made U-Haul, you know.

          But it ain’t my money in the end.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “You’re right, but then again, Home Depot and the furniture store can rent you a pickup for $25 or so if you need to haul your stuff home. Forty bucks or so gets you a pickup all day from Enterprise.”

            Sure but now something you can do on your way home from work becomes a 1/2 day event while you dick around with a rental truck.

            U-haul can’t match a PU truck, not even close. I’ve done both. If you need to spend money on a tow vehicle anyways like me, kill 2 birds with one stone and make it a CC PU.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            The last time I wanted to rent a truck from Home Depot, they insisted they had no trucks, despite two of them sitting in the parking lot. So I went to a different store, where they had lost all the keys.

            Enterprise is a great option, if I wanted to drive a worn-out Mirage or Elantra. Oh, they had a minivan on the lot. That could have worked.

            Honestly, I can see why people would pay $40 grand to avoid that aggravation.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Well, like I said…if someone wants to spend $40,000 to “avoid that aggravation,” then, well…it’s their money.

            But we all know that’s rationalization. If someone wants a truck, then buy it.

            No way I’d do that.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Having finally gotten a taste of pickup truck ownership with my now-departed beater Ranger, I totally “get it.” Having that utility immediately on hand is really something. At the same time, in most use cases for me, having an SUV is ultimately more useful on a day-to-day basis. The perfect solution would of course be to own both. I don’t get the constant attempts at shaming “stop making excuses about utility!” you small car drivers bought your small cars likewise for certain characteristics, fuel economy, affordability, driving dynamics, etc, etc. Don’t tell me you bought your economy car to be frugal buddy, you could have been taking the bus! As you put it Mike, “if someone wants to spend $40,000 to “avoid that aggravation,” then, well…it’s their money.” If you want to spend $15,000 or whatever to “avoid the aggravation” of riding a perfectly good bus, well that’s your money.

          • 0 avatar

            I have quite easily avoided the aggravation of renting trucks or buying a new truck that costs more than my house. I bought an old beater truck that spends most of its time looking broken down in my driveway, but it runs just fine. Maybe the neighbors think Sanford & Son lives here, but guess how much I care.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            The old/beater factor in a truck definitely has its advantages. Of course I ended up taking an orbital buffer to my Ranger and shampooing the carpets and really cleaning it up into amazing cosmetic condition *facepalm.* Couldn’t help myself!

          • 0 avatar
            sco

            never owned a pick-up but having moved to a rural 11 acre property I could use one maybe once a month to haul yard waste, pickup up compost, trailer rental equipment, etc. But I could rent a truck for a day every month and the cost would still be less than insurance alone on even a beater truck (I have multiple under 25 year old drivers on my policy). Buying any sort of truck doesnt pencil out at least for me

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “never owned a pick-up…”

            Try it out, you might be surprised how much you start to appreciate having that open bed.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      They don’t make V8 minivans.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Women who were hauled around in minvans don’t want to drive one. EVER.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    “They should buy the Tahoe. It will last longer, cost less to maintain, and retain a far greater percentage of its resale value”

    How do you figure the Tahoe will last longer? Or is that an inside joke, I’m missing?

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      A GM smallblock is as reliable as the sunrise.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Not in the 5th Generation. This batch is a bit more trouble-prone than the last.

        The powertrain’s probably still more durable than that in a Traverse, but I don’t get the sense the OP is going for 15 years and 300,000 miles.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          And even if he is, and if he rolls a seven while he’s at it and the truck running gear goes the whole 300K without the slightest hitch, the ancillary equipment which they’re both packed to the gills with will be by then breaking for the second time.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The Tahoe’s drivetrain has proven itself of being capable of going well over 200k in high demand applications. The Traverse doesn’t have that history.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      We sold Danger Girl’s 2009 Tahoe with well over 100k miles on it. There wasn’t much to indicate that it wasn’t brand new. Our neighbors put four years and 60k on a Traverse and it looked, and sounded, like an old Celebrity Eurosport with tinworm.

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      I sold my Yukon at 160K miles and it was still very sound. So yeah I get the Tahoe will last, I guess my question was more “how do you know the Traverse won’t last as long”?

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        I’ll add that the ‘Hoe will hold its value & desirability a lot better than the Traverse. But if your not hooking something fairly heavy to the back of it on a regular basis your wasting the ‘Hoe IMHO.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Buying a first-year GM product is just asking for brutal sodomy. I wouldn’t touch any traverse built before August 2018.

    I say get the Tahoe anyway.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    Figure out the monthly cost differential between the two. Include sales taxes (some states have annual property too) and insurance costs as well as car payments. Look at that number, buy the Traverse and discipline yourselves to save for other family expenditures – 529 plan, topping up a 401K or opening a Roth or ? is the somewhat disappointing but prudent thing to do.

    • 0 avatar
      Cactuar

      I agree with you but… prepare to feel the wrath of the YOLO car guys, there are many around here :)

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      Heh. That could be said of anything, right? Buy the $1000 60″ 4K tv? Crazy talk. You can buy a 20″ TV for $150 and put the $850 in a 401k. Live in a 4 bedroom house? Insanity!! For 1/3 of the cost you can live in a studio apartment and invest the rest in a 529 plan.

      Sometimes you have to turn the analytical side of the brain off and just enjoy life in the present. Of course that’s not to say ignore the 401k or 529. But there’s always the balance.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Maybe it’s just my particular Silverado, but it has the worst windshield wipers for winter weather. In snowy/slushy conditions, the wipers just ice up continuously, forcing me to stop and get out to bang the ice off. Even maxing out the defroster at 85 degrees won’t keep them free of ice.

  • avatar

    Consider that putting $275 a month in a savings or investment account for 18 years will go a long way towards paying for a college education.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Ultimately the thing to do would be to rent them for a week and have the Mrs use it for her normal driving and determine which one is easier to live with.

    Of course if she needs the Tahoe to fit in with all the other Tahoes in the drop off line at school then that is probably not going to change no matter how much cheaper and easier to live with the Traverse is.

  • avatar
    Slocum

    My bet is the wife wants a Tahoe for the image but doesn’t want to say so and ‘last longer’ is just what she tells her hubby (and herself) to justify it. If that’s the case, she might be happy with a different, more upscale CUV but probably not the Traverse. But going for a more upscale CUV is going to start eliminating the savings, so….

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    If this guy were a hardcore truck fan, or needed to haul things, the Tahoe would be a better bet. In fact, if that were the case, I’d probably look at picking up a CPO model (this is one of those used vehicles that probably wouldn’t worry me).

    But for everything else, the Traverse is a far better bet…it offers significantly better everyday performance, will function far better as a kid hauler, and will be cheaper to run.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I’ll make it simple: The Silverado should be based on the Traverse. The Colorado should be based on the Trax.

    Considering the arguments and the initial question, to me the Traverse is more than enough vehicle while being both lighter and more aerodynamic will make it marginally more efficient both in town and on the highway (depending on how you drive.) And by no means do you need a massive V8 for a family hauler. Anything larger should be relegated to the Suburban as three-row, haul/tow anything vehicle.

  • avatar
    Johnnyangel

    Happily child-free, I have no interest in either of these beasts. But with this post, Jack, you are filling what I’ve long considered a gap in automotive journalism.

    The thing is, a lot of us have reasons to be interested in a specific brand, whether it’s because of loyalty, dealer reputation, or simple geographic proximity. Therefore the decision we need help with is selecting within a single manufacturer’s product line. And yet the magazines give us the same old tired “Corolla vs. Camry” or “F-150 vs. Silverado vs. RAM vs. F-150” comparisons, which often aren’t that useful.

    Comparisons that would be more novel and useful for a lot of people would be, for example, “Golf vs. Jetta,” “Fiesta vs. Focus,” “Silverado vs. Colorado,” “Yaris iA vs. Corolla iM,” and so on. Magazines will apparently never get wise to this, but as you’ve shown here, TTAC could do it.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Separate the Tahoe bogeyman from the SUV/CUV comparison. It’s GM’s most recognizable luxury product with the markup to match. It’s also GM’s most half-assed real product, bankruptcy broke the their truck development cycle and K2xx is fundamentally an also-ran straight out of 2005. A real frame isn’t free, but it doesn’t cost anything like 1500 pounds, a useable third row, and $20,000.

    What you really want here is an Expedition.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    “It probably won’t beat the Tahoe for overall fuel economy…”

    I find that hard to believe given the weight difference.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I’d get a AWD Sienna over either of these, unless I were towing.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    NeilM

    TMA1 writes: “The last time I wanted to rent a truck from Home Depot, they insisted they had no trucks, despite two of them sitting in the parking lot. So I went to a different store, where they had lost all the keys.”

    Hmm, what does Home Depot know about you that the rest of us don’t? ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      With all those cameras, “recording in process,” probably more than I’m comfortable with. Target just started doing it too. Just another reason to keep shopping with Amazon Prime, and why I’ll buy the DeWalt (“assembled in the USA”) drill from them rather than HD.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Looking at the stats above – the Tahoe could do with more wheelbase (keeping the same overall length.)

  • avatar
    agroal

    An interesting article comparing two completely different vehicles accomplishing the exact same task. Up until the last word. Rednecks? If you compared fried chicken vs. watermelon would you include the word niggers? I seriously doubt it. Long live one sided political correctness!

    • 0 avatar
      romanjetfighter

      is redneck even offensive? i loved jeff foxworthy’s u might be a redneck if…

      making up hypothetical situations then calling people out for hypothetical “hypocrisy” to be inflammatory?

      lol as if comparing a tahoe and traverse is like fried chicken n watermelon? tahoe n traverse target different people. u make no sense

  • avatar

    Must be a generational thing. When I was a young lad 13 the family car was a Dodge Coronet 500. Family of 6. Buckets in front for Dad and Mom and 3 of us sat in the back seat and the youngest – quite inappropriately for safety reasons – sat on the rear end of the center console facing the back seat. We didn’t think much about it as it was what we had. I’m sure my folks would have liked something with a bit more room, but that was for people making more money than our family did.

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