2020 Chevrolet Traverse vs. 2019 Toyota 4Runner

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 4Runner 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 4Runner 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 4Runner doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

The Traverse (except L/LS) offers optional Automatic Emergency 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 4Runner doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Traverse (except L/LS)’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 4Runner 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 4Runner only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The Traverse (except L/LS)’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the Traverse (except L/LS)’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the Traverse uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The 4Runner uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

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 4Runner 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 4Runner have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available all wheel drive.

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 4Runner:

Traverse

4Runner

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

216

267

Neck Injury Risk

15.6%

47%

Neck Stress

198 lbs.

438 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

53/40 lbs.

488/468 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

3 Stars

HIC

333

367

Neck Injury Risk

35.2%

57%

Neck Stress

128 lbs.

271 lbs.

Neck Compression

51 lbs.

58 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

258/133 lbs.

453/353 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 4Runner:

Traverse

4Runner

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.9 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

161 G’s

179 G’s

Hip Force

204 lbs.

233 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

20 inches

HIC

251

507

Spine Acceleration

34 G’s

43 G’s

Hip Force

554 lbs.

895 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 4Runner’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’ 2019 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 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.

Engine

The Traverse’s 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 40 more horsepower (310 vs. 270) than the 4Runner’s 4.0 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Chevrolet Traverse is faster than the Toyota 4Runner:

Traverse

4Runner

Zero to 60 MPH

6.5 sec

7.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

17.3 sec

22 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.8 sec

7.8 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

16.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

88 MPH

Top Speed

130 MPH

105 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Traverse gets better fuel mileage than the 4Runner:

MPG

Traverse

FWD

3.6 DOHC 6-cyl.

18 city/27 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC 6-cyl.

17 city/25 hwy

4Runner

FWD

4.0 DOHC 6-cyl.

17 city/21 hwy

AWD

4.0 DOHC 6-cyl.

17 city/20 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 4Runner doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

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 4Runner 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 Toyota 4Runner (3). This means the Traverse produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the 4Runner 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 five-speed automatic is available for the 4Runner.

Brakes and Stopping

The Traverse stops much shorter than the 4Runner:

Traverse

4Runner

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

201 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

136 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Traverse has larger tires than the 4Runner (255/65R18 vs. 245/60R20).

The Traverse’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 65 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 4Runner’s standard 70 series tires. The Traverse’s optional tires have a lower 55 series profile than the 4Runner Limited’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Traverse has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the 4Runner.

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 4Runner 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 Toyota 4Runner has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Traverse’s wheelbase is 11.1 inches longer than on the 4Runner (120.9 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Traverse is 3.6 inches wider in the front and 3.4 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the 4Runner.

The Traverse RS handles at .84 G’s, while the 4Runner TRD Off-Road pulls only .71 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Traverse RS AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.5 seconds quicker than the 4Runner TRD Off-Road (27 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 29.5 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

Chassis

Unibody construction lowers the Traverse’s center of gravity significantly without reducing ground clearance. This contributes to better on the road handling and better off-road performance and stability. In addition, unibody construction makes the chassis stiffer, improving handling and reducing squeaks and rattles. The 4Runner uses body-on-frame design instead.

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 4Runner 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 4Runner doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Traverse High Country AWD is quieter than the 4Runner TRD Off-Road:

Traverse

4Runner

At idle

41 dB

43 dB

Full-Throttle

76 dB

76 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

69 dB

Passenger Space

The Traverse has standard seating for 8 passengers; the 4Runner can only carry up to 7.

The Traverse has 2 inches more front headroom, 1.6 inches more front hip room, 4.3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.4 inches more rear headroom, 5.5 inches more rear legroom, 1.2 inches more rear hip room, 4.4 inches more rear shoulder room, 3.9 inches more third row headroom, 4.2 inches more third row legroom and 5.2 inches more third row hip room than the 4Runner.

Cargo Capacity

The Traverse’s cargo area provides more volume than the 4Runner.

Traverse

4Runner

Behind Third Seat

23 cubic feet

9 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

57.8 cubic feet

46.3 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

98.2 cubic feet

89.7 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 4Runner doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Traverse (except L/LS) offers an optional power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or on the Traverse Premier/High Country, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Servicing Ease

The Traverse has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The 4Runner doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

An Oil Life Monitor is standard on the Traverse to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes based on actual driving conditions. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Toyota doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the 4Runner.

Ergonomics

The Traverse (except L/LS) 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 4Runner doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The engine computer on the Traverse automatically engages the starter until the car starts with one twist of the key and disables the starter while the engine is running. The 4Runner’s starter can be accidentally engaged while the engine is running, making a grinding noise and possibly damaging the starter and ring gear.

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 4Runner doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Traverse’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The 4Runner’s parking brake has to released manually.

The power windows standard on both the Traverse and the 4Runner 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 4Runner prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 PIN entry system. The 4Runner doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

The Traverse’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The 4Runner’s power mirror and cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

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 4Runner only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as 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 4Runner has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Limited/TRD Pro.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Traverse (except L/LS) detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The 4Runner doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Traverse’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 4Runner’s power mirror controls are on the dash where they are possibly hidden by the steering wheel and are awkward to manipulate.

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 4Runner’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 4Runner offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the Traverse and the 4Runner offer available heated front seats. The Traverse Premier/High Country also has standard heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the 4Runner.

On extremely cold winter days, the Traverse’s optional (except L/LS) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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 is only available on the 4Runner Limited.

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 4Runner doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Traverse owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Traverse will cost $735 less than the 4Runner over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Traverse is less expensive to operate than the 4Runner because typical repairs cost much less on the Traverse than the 4Runner, including $45 less for a water pump, $22 less for a muffler, $191 less for a starter, $21 less for a fuel pump and $439 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

The Chevrolet Traverse outsold the Toyota 4Runner by 6840 units during 2018.

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

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