2019 Chevrolet Traverse vs. 2019 Toyota Highlander

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the Chevrolet Traverse’s middle seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Toyota Highlander doesn’t offer comfort guides on its middle seat belts.

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 Highlander 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 Highlander doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

Both the Traverse and the Highlander 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 all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Chevrolet Traverse is safer than the Toyota Highlander:

 

Traverse

Highlander

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

15.6%

47%

Neck Stress

198 lbs.

509 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

53/40 lbs.

409/517 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Chevrolet Traverse is safer than the Toyota Highlander:

 

Traverse

Highlander

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

204 lbs.

348 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

41 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

16 inches

HIC

251

372

Spine Acceleration

34 G’s

43 G’s

Hip Force

554 lbs.

829 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The Traverse’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Highlander’s (6 vs. 5 years).

There are over 2 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Toyota dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Traverse’s warranty.

Reliability

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 Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 17th, 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 Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.

Engine

The Traverse RS’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 70 more horsepower (255 vs. 185) and 111 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 184) than the Highlander’s standard 2.7 DOHC 4 cyl. The Traverse RS’ 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 32 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 263) than the Highlander’s optional 3.5 DOHC V6. The Traverse’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 15 more horsepower (310 vs. 295) and 3 lbs.-ft. more torque (266 vs. 263) than the Highlander’s optional 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Chevrolet Traverse V6 is faster than the Toyota Highlander V6:

 

Traverse

Highlander

Zero to 60 MPH

6.7 sec

7.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.2 sec

15.5 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Traverse RS FWD 4 cyl. gets better fuel mileage than the Highlander FWD 4 cyl. (20 city/26 hwy vs. 20 city/24 hwy).

Regardless of its engine, the Traverse’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Toyota only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Highlander LE Plus/XLE/Limited/Platinum.

The Traverse AWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Highlander (21.7 vs. 19.2 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 Highlander doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chevrolet Traverse, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Highlander.

Brakes and Stopping

The Traverse stops much shorter than the Highlander:

 

Traverse

Highlander

 

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

186 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

130 feet

134 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

136 feet

146 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Traverse has larger tires than the Highlander (255/65R18 vs. 245/60R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Traverse LT Leather/RS/Premier/High Country has standard 20-inch wheels. The Highlander’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

The Chevrolet Traverse’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Toyota Highlander 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 Highlander doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

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 Highlander doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Traverse’s wheelbase is 11.1 inches longer than on the Highlander (120.9 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Traverse is 2.9 inches wider in the front and 2.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Highlander.

The Traverse RS handles at .84 G’s, while the Highlander AWD pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Traverse Premier AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Highlander LE (27.8 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

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 Highlander 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 Highlander doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Traverse has .6 inches more front headroom, .9 inches more front hip room, 2.8 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear headroom, 2.6 inches more rear shoulder room, 2.3 inches more third row headroom, 5.8 inches more third row legroom, 2.9 inches more third row hip room and 2.5 inches more third row shoulder room than the Highlander.

Cargo Capacity

The Traverse’s cargo area provides more volume than the Highlander.

 

Traverse

Highlander

Behind Third Seat

23 cubic feet

13.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

57.8 cubic feet

42.3 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

98.2 cubic feet

83.7 cubic feet

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

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 Highlander doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

The Traverse uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Highlander 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.

The Traverse has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Highlander doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The Traverse offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Highlander doesn’t offer a remote starting 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 Highlander doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the Traverse and the Highlander have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Traverse is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Highlander prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

On a hot day the Traverse’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Highlander 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 Highlander doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system.

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 Highlander’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 Highlander offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Traverse has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Highlander.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Traverse is less expensive to operate than the Highlander because typical repairs cost much less on the Traverse than the Highlander, including $104 less for a starter, $12 less for fuel injection and $530 less for a timing belt/chain.

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

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