2019 Chevrolet Traverse vs. 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Traverse are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Traverse has a standard front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

The Traverse (except L/LS/LT/RS) offers optional Front Automatic Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Grand Caravan doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Traverse offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Traverse (except L/LS/LT/RS)’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Traverse (except L/LS) offers an optional Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Grand Caravan only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

The Traverse has standard OnStar®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Traverse and the Grand Caravan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Traverse’s corrosion warranty is 1 year and 40,000 miles longer than the Grand Caravan’s (6/100,000 vs. 5/60,000).

Chevrolet pays for the first scheduled maintenance on the Traverse. Chevrolet will pay for the first oil change, lubrication and any other required maintenance in the first year. Dodge doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Grand Caravan.

There are over 27 percent more Chevrolet dealers than there are Dodge dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Traverse’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Traverse has a standard 170-amp alternator. The Grand Caravan’s 160-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 19th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 42 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 23rd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Chevrolet 6 places higher in reliability than Dodge.

Engine

The Traverse RS’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 35 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 260) than the Grand Caravan’s 3.6 DOHC V6. The Traverse’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 27 more horsepower (310 vs. 283) and 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (266 vs. 260) than the Grand Caravan’s 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Chevrolet Traverse V6 is faster than the Dodge Grand Caravan:

 

Traverse

Grand Caravan

Zero to 60 MPH

6.7 sec

7.9 sec

Quarter Mile

15.2 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90.6 MPH

87.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Traverse FWD V6 gets better fuel mileage than the Grand Caravan (18 city/27 hwy vs. 17 city/25 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Traverse’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Traverse AWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Grand Caravan (21.7 vs. 20 gallons).

The Traverse has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Chevrolet Traverse higher (6 out of 10) than the Dodge Grand Caravan (3). This means the Traverse produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Grand Caravan every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chevrolet Traverse, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Grand Caravan.

Brakes and Stopping

The Traverse stops much shorter than the Grand Caravan:

 

Traverse

Grand Caravan

 

60 to 0 MPH

130 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

136 feet

153 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Traverse has larger tires than the Grand Caravan (255/65R18 vs. 225/65R17).

The Traverse LT Leather/RS/Premier/High Country’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Grand Caravan’s 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Traverse has standard 18-inch wheels. Only 17-inch wheels are available on the Grand Caravan. The Traverse LT Leather/RS/Premier/High Country has standard 20-inch wheels.

The Chevrolet Traverse’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Dodge Grand Caravan only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Traverse has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Chevrolet Traverse has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Dodge Grand Caravan has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Traverse has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Traverse is 1.7 inches wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Grand Caravan.

Chassis

The front grille of the Traverse uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Traverse uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Traverse has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Grand Caravan can only carry 7.

The Traverse has 1.5 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front legroom, .7 inches more rear headroom, 1.3 inches more rear legroom and .3 inches more third row headroom than the Grand Caravan.

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Traverse High Country’s third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The Traverse’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The Grand Caravan’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Traverse Premier/High Country’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Dodge Grand Caravan is limited to 3600 pounds. The Traverse offers up to a 5000 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The Traverse uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Grand Caravan uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the Traverse Premier/High Country, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, steering wheel position (with optional power wheel adjuster) and outside mirror angle. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Traverse Premier/High Country’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

On a hot day the Traverse’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Grand Caravan can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Traverse LS/LT/RS/Premier/High Country’s available exterior keypad. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system.

Keyless Access standard on the Traverse allows you to unlock the doors, cargo door and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Dodge Grand Caravan doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Traverse has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Grand Caravan only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

Consumer Reports rated the Traverse’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Grand Caravan’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The Traverse has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Grand Caravan has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the SXT/GT.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Traverse (except L/LS/LT/RS) detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Traverse has standard extendable sun visors. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer extendable visors.

When the Traverse Premier/High Country is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Grand Caravan’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Traverse Premier/High Country has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Grand Caravan offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Traverse Premier/High Country keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Traverse’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Grand Caravan SE/SE Plus doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Traverse High Country has a standard Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Standard smartphone integration for the Traverse allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, playing internet radio stations and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

Bluetooth wireless connectivity is standard on the Traverse, connecting the driver and passenger’s cell phones to the vehicle systems. This allows them to use the vehicle’s stereo and hand controls to place calls safely and easily. Bluetooth costs extra on the Grand Caravan.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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