Trucks & SUVs

This Chevy SUV Has a Disastrous Track Record of Reliability

When you’re an automaker as big as Chevrolet, you’re bound to have occasional hiccups and performance issues with various models. But, there’s one Chevy SUV that has historically earned a terrible reputation for poor reliability. Reliability ratings are typically based on vehicle owner opinion, reports of issues or failures, and overall quality. So which Chevy SUV has such awful reliability, and what problems contributed to such bad rap?

An ownership satisfaction debacle

Chevy introduced the Traverse in 2009 as a replacement and upgrade to the truck-based Chevy Trailblazer. It was the first attempt Chevy made at a true crossover SUV, and it was a great alternative to the much larger Suburban.

According to CarComplaints.com, the Traverse had consumer reported problems almost immediately. In 2009, owners reported excess burning of oil. For 2010, consumers reported everything from engine failure, timing chain code errors, and check engine light warnings.

The worst Chevy Traverse model year

According to the collected data from vehicle owners on CarComplaints.com, 2010 accumulated the most number of overall issues with the Chevy Traverse. But, it’s not what they call the worst model year. The worst year ever for Chevy Traverse was 2011.

The most problematic areas occurred with the engine and power steering. Owners were experiencing engine failure altogether and complete failure of power steering function. A significant concern with owners is the overall cost of repair — the power steering issues, on average, cost $1,300. The engine failure hurt the bank accounts worse with an average replacement costs of $6,400. Many of the issues and failures were occurring just outside the factory warranty limits, too, adding insult to injury with vehicle owners.

What’s new for this Chevy SUV in 2020?

The Chevy Traverse got a redesign and facelift two years ago. So, for 2020, while there are some enhancements worth mentioning, not much has changed in design. New for 2020, the Traverse offers the V6 engine as a standard across the lineup. Both infotainment and navigation systems have been upgraded for more user-friendly tech enhancement. Some of the optional packages were beefed up with extra features as well.

All in all, the Traverse is super spacious, with the roomiest third-row seating in an SUV that isn’t a full-size monster. Despite its rocky start, there’s plenty to get excited about in options, performance, and capabilities. Choose from seven (yes, seven) trim levels to configure the perfect blend of amenities you need within your given budget.

What Consumer Reports predicts for this Chevy SUV

While the Chevy Traverse has shown improvements in past areas of concern, earning the reliability ratings may take time to rebuild. According to Consumer Reports, they base projected ratings for new models, on a historic look back of past model years. They predict a higher owner satisfaction rating of four out of possible five.

After all, most people in recent ownership years, have been happy with the smooth ride and comfortable seating for everyone in the family. Consumer Reports also evaluates the 2020 Traverse with an overall score of 65 out of 100. But, when it comes to predicted reliability, unfortunately, the Traverse is only earning a one out of five.

Considering the Traverse of today is much different from the problematic models of its rookie years, we might suggest giving it another look. There are plenty of satisfied Traverse customers out there now and reviews to back it up. Every model has a bad year from time to time, and it seems Chevy Traverse might be out of the woods.

Be mindful of past problems and maybe take a pass on any used 2010 or 2011 model Traverses for now. But, if a new Traverse sounds appealing, don’t let the bad reputation of the last decade sway you from a test drive.