By on April 22, 2019

An “odd choice.” That’s how TTAC’s Timothy Cain characterized the Chevrolet Traverse RS when it first appeared in late 2017.

Powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, the apparently sportier version of Chevy’s full-size, three-row Traverse was a mid-range offering with blacked-out clothing  that hardly improved on the V6 model’s fuel economy. Available only in front-drive guise, the four-banger Traverse returned 1 mpg less on the highway than its 3.6-liter FWD sibling, the result of the six-cylinder’s loftier horsepower count. Combined fuel economy improved by only 1 mpg by ticking the RS box.

That was then, and this is now. Chevy’s dropping the 2.0T Traverse.

According to GM Authority, a mid-year change sees the engine disappear from the RS trim, replaced by the model’s now sole powerplant: GM’s trusty 3.6-liter, mated to the same nine-speed employed by both the V6 and 4-cyl Traverses.

To refresh your memory, the turbo Traverse brewed 257 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque — 53 fewer horses than the 3.6-liter model, but 29 additional foot-pounds. That low-displacement, low-end grunt allowed the Traverse to at least claim a 20 mpg city fuel economy figure, which happened to be just 2 mpg below its combined rating.

GM dresses up its RS with blacked-out trim and 20-inch wheels, adding the LT Premium Package and Convenience and Driver Confidence Package for good measure. After-destination MSRP for a FWD RS is $44,295. In other words, no change from the four-cylinder’s 2019 starting price.

While the older LTG engine is no longer available to order, there’s no word on a new downsized Traverse mill waiting in the wings. GM has a new four-cylinder in the form of the LSY, but that engine, found in the Cadillac AT4 and refreshed, 2020 GMC Acadia, is down on power compared to the older engine family. The reality might be that GM already sells plenty of Traverses and didn’t need a configuration with a low take rate to complicate matters.

Traverse sales rose 18.7 percent in 2018, making it the third-best selling Chevrolet behind the Silverado and Equinox. The first three months of 2019 saw sales fall 10.4 percent.

[Image: General Motors]

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20 Comments on “Chevrolet Traverse Update: Huge Crossover Ditches Small Engine...”


  • avatar
    gtem

    Now drop the 2.5NA from the Acadia.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      We’ll see what happens in 2020 to the Acadia – its a hard refresh with the 9-speed auto (replacing the 6-speed) and the turbo 4 becoming an engine option. I just can’t see THREE engine options in the Acadia. I wouldn’t be surprised if the options were Turbo 4 or naturally aspirated V6.

  • avatar
    gasser

    More proof that the shift from NA engines to smaller turbos is a waste of time. More complexity, more service needed, unknown long term longevity, in exchange for little or NO increase in real world gas mileage.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      The automakers don’t care about real world fuel economy – they only care about the CAFE results and manufacturing costs.

    • 0 avatar
      phxmotor

      If this fine vehicle had any ANY any type of hybrid blended into it … it just might justify the tiny little 4 banger.
      Even what is laughingly and all too often dericevly called a “mild hybrid” would do the trick. Cheap reliable and effective these mild hybrids only mistake was using one single alternator/motor. With two… god knows there is plenty of room under the hood for two… when using a 42v system and two 15hp motor/generators … all of a sudden 60-70 extra ft/pounds of torque make for an extra 6-7 mpg added to intown driving. Not to mention a surge of hardcore acceleration “feel”.
      GM learned this trick waaayy back in the 1990’s under the PNGV. This ain’t rocket science. The basic premise of using the 4 cylinder in such a vehicle really isn’t all that bad of an idea.

    • 0 avatar
      MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

      “More proof that the shift from NA engines to smaller turbos is a waste of time. More complexity, more service needed, unknown long term longevity, in exchange for little or NO increase in real world gas mileage.”

      …..SEE ALSO: ecoboost………

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        I’d take the almost 40 mpg at 65 mph in a 2018 Regal TourX 2.0T with torque vectoring AWD over a V6 that would struggle to see 30 mpg any day.

        • 0 avatar
          johnny_5.0

          Norm, this is reality calling to remind you that the TourX is rated at 29mpg highway. Fuelly shows an average of 23.75mpg for all 2018 TourX reporting data. 40mpg is another one of your crazy fever dreams, and you didn’t smoke a CTS-V in a tuned TourX. We now return you to your regular crazy town delusions.

    • 0 avatar
      CKNSLS Sierra SLT

      gasser-

      There is no accuracy what-so-ever in your entire statement.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    I don’t get why they would stick a 4 cylinder in the silverado then.
    Perhaps we eventually get to see the new truck designed 4 here.

  • avatar
    vvk

    The base V-6 Traverse rides on 17 inch wheels, which is probably the main reason the RS does not get much better fuel economy with its ridiculous 20 inch rubber. That’s probably an extra 20-30 lbs per corner in unsprung weight.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I was just thinking the same thing. Massive 20″ wheels can’t be helping mileage wise. Plus the cost of replacing that rubber… ouch! The stock 20″s on my C7 are 61 lbs (wheels & tires), so changing them is not fun. I dropped down to 19″s and saved nearly 9 lbs while at the same time going with wider tires.

  • avatar
    anomaly149

    I wonder if the 2.0T was originally included because the Traverse was slated to be sold in markets that tax by displacement. I can’t find a market list, but the difference between a 2.0 and a 3.6 can be pretty substantial. (see also: why the 2.3 Ecoboost replaced the 3.7L V6 in the Mustang)

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    +1. Big rims are some of the absolute STUPIDEST trends, right up there with vinyl roofs in terms of offering nothing of functional value combined with styling that’s questionable at best. The weight factor, the cost of tires, the way rubber band tires hammer your suspension…its idiotic from a performance and economics standpoint. No fast cars use huge rims/tiny sidewalls either. Look at what anything at the dragstrip, F1/Indy track, Nascar circuit, rally races…they all have a decent sidewall. Yes, you can get bigger more powerful brakes behind them but when you have that added weight, now you NEED them…its a vicious circle. 17-18″ is ideal.

  • avatar
    RS

    “…trusty 3.6-liter” ???

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      It had some teething problems (see timing chains and oil change interval) but has turned into an anvil as far as I can tell.

      Other than I assume some DI carbon build up issues that I’d imagine are about the same as any other DI engine.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Nothing modern with DI+VVT chain driven DOHC etc is an “anvil” anymore IMO. Simply too optimized for efficiency/power at the expense of basically everything else.

  • avatar
    lostboy

    didn’t i read somewhere about a 2.4 turbo in a silverado? why not transplant that engine into this vehicle? (totally guessing about this however)

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