Trucks & SUVs

The Chevy Traverse Makes More Sense Than the Tahoe or Suburban for Most People

Auto giant Chevy produces a wide range of crossovers and SUVs, hoping to meet the SUV-driven demand of today’s market. Its three largest SUVs, the 2020 Chevy Traverse, Tahoe, and Suburban, boast the most passenger space and capability of the entire Chevy SUV lineup. But Chevy’s cheapest and most affordable three-row SUVs of all may just make the most sense. 

Performance and capability: what the Chevy Traverse, Tahoe, and Suburban offer

The 2020 Chevy Suburban is the largest SUV in the brand’s arsenal, offering an expansive 121.7 cubic feet of cargo space and a spacious third row. It also offers a class-leading towing capacity of 8,300 lbs.

But this capability comes at a cost, offering just 14-15 mpg in the city and 21-22 mpg on the highway in Suburbans with the standard engine. Fuel-efficiency in V8 variants doesn’t fall from the V6’s at just 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.

The new 2020 Tahoe falls right in the middle of Chevy’s large SUV family, but while it’s just as long as the Traverse (17 feet), the Tahoe comes with the least cargo space of all three. At just 94.7 cubic feet of cargo space total, the Tahoe’s interior space is considered below-average for the large SUV segment.

But owners of the Chevy Tahoe seem to be sacrificing passenger and cargo comfort for capability, as the Tahoe comes with a maximum tow-capacity of 8,600 lbs. This makes the Tahoe Chevy’s most capable SUV. Its fuel-economy ratings are also on-par with its class, earning 14-15 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.

According to U.S. News, the 2020 Chevy Traverse earns an EPA-estimated 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway for front-wheel-drive versions and 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway for all-wheel-drive versions.

The Traverse can tow up to 5,000 lbs when properly equipped and features a sole V6 engine that makes 310 hp. Its interior space is slightly smaller than the Suburban’s, but it’s exceptional for the midsize segment with three rows for up to eight people and 98.2 total cubic feet of cargo space.

Which is the best value?

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As the biggest SUV of the bunch, the Suburban also carries the heftiest price tag. Starting prices of the 2020 Chevy Suburban begin around $49,700, although the highest trims can start out at around $68,000. The Tahoe, although smaller, isn’t much cheaper than the Suburban. Starting prices for the Tahoe range from around $46,800 to $65,700 for top trims. 

The 2020 Chevy Traverse comes with the lowest base price of the three SUVs, at a substantially lower $29,800. Even in upper trims, the highest base price of the Traverse still falls under the Tahoe and Suburban at $53,200. 

Why the Traverse might be the best choice among Chevy’s big SUVs

The middle-of-the-road Tahoe appears to be the least-reasonable option among Chevy’s large SUVs unless owners have a specific use for its advanced towing capabilities. But most SUV buyers are looking for space, affordability, and family-friendly functionality. And for buyers with towing concerns, a pickup truck is simply a better option. Although the Suburban certainly delivers in way of spaciousness, it may also be too much for the everyday family.

In fact, according to Consumer Reports, the 2020 Chevy Traverse “delivers on room, comfort, refinement, and connectivity” and “serves as a viable alternative to the full-sized Chevy Suburban.” Not only delivering on space and comfort, but the Chevy Traverse is also the most affordable.

Even a fully-loaded Chevy Traverse could cost less than a base-trim Tahoe or Suburban. If you factor in the Chevy Traverse’s fuel-efficiency and savings at the pump, it certainly becomes the most-affordable three-row SUV Chevy makes, as well as the best value.