Crossover & Midsize

The Toyota Highlander Outshines the Chevy Traverse In 1 Major Way

The Toyota Highlander still reigns as one of the most popular three-row SUVs. This Toyota faces fiercer competition these days, and rivals like Chevy Traverse are starting to catch up. Although, you may agree that the Highlander outshines the Traverse in one critical category. 

Driving the Toyota Highlander vs. the Chevy Traverse 

A burgundy 2020 Traverse in gravel.
2020 Chevrolet Traverse | Chevy

The 2020 Toyota Highlander and the 2020 Chevy Traverse are among the best-selling midsize SUVs of the year. A new Highlander starts at $34,600, and a new Traverse begins at $29,800. Neither of the two is incredibly agile. Instead, we recognize the Highlander and Traverse for their gentleness and smooth ride quality. 

Even though these SUVs offer similar driving experiences, there are a few distinctions that will help you decide between the two. The Highlander gets its power from a 295-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine linked to an eight-speed automatic. We’d say the Highlander is best described as easy-going. This accomplished ride offers sufficient power and responsiveness.

2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum
2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum | Toyota

The Highlander returned 22 mpg overall in Consumer Reports’ road test, which is average for the class. If fuel economy is one of your top priorities, you’ll want to consider the hybridized Highlander, which has an EPA rating of up to a combined 36 mpg.

Chevy’s Traverse has earned rave reviews for its power and supreme comfort ride comfort. The Traverse features a 310-hp 3.6-liter V6 and a nine-speed automatic. As CR highlights, the main downside to the Traverse is its fuel economy. The Traverse returned a combined 20 mpg in CR’s road test, which is below-average.

Cabin comforts 

2020 Toyota Highlander Interior
2020 Toyota Highlander Interior | Toyota

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The Highlander and the Traverse and can accommodate up to eight people in their standard configurations. If you opt for captain’s chairs on either model, seating reduces to seven. Both come with handsome cabins and have many available upgrades, including leather and heated seats. Some say the Traverse’s interior is more modern, but that’s up for you to decide. 

2020 Chevrolet Traverse interior
2020 Chevrolet Traverse interior | Chevrolet

The Highlander and the Traverse offer plenty of in-car tech. Toyota’s Highlander comes with an 8-inch touchscreen, and the Traverse has a 7-inch one. Both come with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a wifi hotspot. But with the Highlander, you get Amazon Alexa standard too.

Regarding advanced safety, the two models are disparate. The Chevy comes with a Teen Driver Assist system and a rear-seat reminder. With the Toyota, you get more modern safety functions, including pedestrian and cyclist detection and lane departure warning. You’d have to upgrade for features like these on the Traverse.

Where the Toyota outshines the Chevy

2020 Chevrolet Traverse parked outside a house with a family excited to get into the SUV
2020 Chevrolet Traverse | Chevrolet

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The Highlander and the Traverse present similar driving experiences and interior elements. However, CR found that the Traverse offered additional conveniences, such as more usable cargo space. CR actually gave the Traverse a higher road test score than the Highlander. The Traverse scored a 95; the Highlander got an 86.

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid driving on road in the sun
2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid | Toyota

Even though the Traverse got a better road-test score, CR ranks the Highlander much higher overall. The 2020 Highlander received a four out of five for predicted reliability. Conversely, the 2020 Traverse got a one out of five, CR’s lowest ranking. In fact, CR has given the Highlander above-average reliability scores since 2001, while the Traverse has checkered past regarding dependability.

So, if predicted reliability is among your primary concerns, the Highlander has a clear advantage. It’s hard to go wrong with a used Highlander, and CR says it’s likely to last 200,000 miles or more. The Traverse has more to prove regarding dependability.