Chevrolet Traverse Update: Huge Crossover Ditches Small Engine

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • RS RS on Apr 22, 2019

    "...trusty 3.6-liter" ???

    • See 1 previous
    • Gtem Gtem on Apr 23, 2019

      @PrincipalDan 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.

  • Lostboy Lostboy on Apr 23, 2019

    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)

  • Redapple2 Another bad idea from the EVIL gm Vampire.
  • Daniel J Alabama is a right to work state so I'd be interested in how this plays out. If a plant in Alabama unionized, there are many workers who's still oppose joining and can work.
  • ToolGuy This guest was pretty interesting.
  • NJRide So this is an average age of car to be junked now and of course this is a lower end (and now semi-orphaned) product. But street examples seem to still be worth 2500? So are cars getting junked only coming in because of a traumatic repair? If not it seems a lot of cars being junked that would still possibly worth more than scrap.Also Murilee I remember your Taurus article way back what is the king of the junkyard in 2024?
  • AMcA I applaud Toyota for getting away from the TRD performance name. TuRD. This is another great example of "if they'd just thought to preview the name with a 13 year old boy."