Best & Worst Chevrolet Traverse Years

The Chevrolet Traverse is an incredible car that will last for generations. Here are the best years for each generation and which years to avoid.

Use this guide to discover which Chevrolet Traverse years to avoid and which years that are the best.

We’ll explore the Chevrolet Traverse’s best and worst years, breaking down the features, reliability, and considerations for each generation.

Leveraging extensive research and data from various reputable sources such as Consumer Reports, NHTSA recalls, and owner ratings, we will analyze the Chevrolet Traverse to reveal insights into its strengths, weaknesses, and the factors influencing its value.

From safety features and technological advancements to common problems and recalls, this guide aims to help you choose the right model year, be it for a new purchase or understanding your current vehicle.

The Chevrolet Traverse is a full-size crossover SUV that has been a vital part of Chevrolet’s lineup since its introduction in 2008 for the 2009 model year.

A member of the GM Lambda platform, it offers ample space, impressive performance, and has become a popular choice among families. Its evolution through generations showcases varying levels of success in areas like reliability, technology, and overall performance.

Now, let’s dive into the different Chevrolet Traverse generations.

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Table of ContentsShow

Chevrolet Traverse Generations

The Chevrolet Traverse has undergone significant transformations through its generations.

Let’s take a brief look at the table that provides a detailed overview of all Traverse generations from 2009 to the present.

1st generation2009-2017
2nd generation2018-Present

Listing the generations gives people a better overview, as there are a lot of changes between generations, and that might be the deciding factor for potential buyers.

Chevrolet Traverse Best, Neutral and Worst Years

When categorizing the Chevrolet Traverse model years into top, neutral, and worst, we take many factors into consideration. These factors include but are not limited to:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • owner ratings

Here is a graph that displays all the combined ratings from the sources mentioned above, providing a comprehensive view.

Chevrolet Traverse Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score

In the table below, we categorized all Chevrolet Traverse model years as the best, neutral, and worst years.

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
1st generation2013
2nd generation20232021

Neutral years represent those model years that neither shine in any particular aspect nor have serious flaws. They usually offer a balanced blend of performance, reliability, and features but don’t stand out significantly in either direction.

Some factors, like NHTSA recalls, contribute negatively. The greater the number of complaints and recalls, the lower the car’s reliability, and therefore its score will be lower.

Now, let’s dive into the specifications of the best, neutral, and worst years, exploring what makes these model years fall into their respective categories.

Best & Worst Years for Chevrolet Traverse 1st Generation (2009-2017)

Chevrolet Traverse 1st generation 2009 model
The 2009 Chevy Traverse

The Chevrolet Traverse 1st Generation (2009-2017) marked the brand’s foray into the full-size crossover SUV segment. Debuting in 2008 for the 2009 model year, it promised a blend of spacious interiors, comfort, and efficiency.

The Best Years: 2013, 2017

The 2013 model year of the Chevrolet Traverse stands out as a highlight within the 1st Generation. With only 153 complaints, the 2013 Traverse was a testament to Chevrolet’s commitment to address the previous models’ issues. Consumers noted its reliability and fewer problems, making it a more stable choice.

Traverse’s reputation for safety was solidified with 2017 model year. Along with fewer reported problems, the model performed remarkably in crash tests, securing a stellar five-star rating from the NHTSA.

Additionally, it received a “Good” rating in all crashworthiness categories from the IIHS, further instilling confidence in potential buyers. The combination of safety accolades and positive owner feedback makes 2017 one of the best years for the 1st Generation Traverse.

The Neutral Years: 2015, 2016

The 2015 and 2016 model years serve as the bridge between the initial challenges and the refinement seen in later models. They weren’t particularly groundbreaking in terms of features or technology but were notable for consistent performance and a reduction in major complaints.

While they didn’t have standout attributes, their overall dependability and moderate technological advancements make them neutral choices for potential buyers.

The Worst Years: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014

The Traverse’s early years were filled with challenges. Owners of these models reported a plethora of problems, from malfunctioning liftgate struts to significant safety concerns like defective seatbelt anchors.

Faulty side-impact airbag wiring posed serious safety risks, leading to recalls. The side-curtain airbag issue in particular impacted the 2009-2012 models, although only 108 units were directly affected. However, other recalls during these years affected massive numbers, ranging from 691,144 to a staggering 1,339,355 vehicles.

After a relatively quiet 2013, the 2014 model year saw a resurgence in issues. The year was marred by 356 complaints primarily concerning the vehicle’s electrical systems. Many owners found themselves grappling with unexpected activations of the Stabilitrak, traction control, and check engine lights.

This often led to a loss of power and potential shutdowns. Investigations revealed the root cause to be contamination of the chassis electronic module, leading to a recall of 106,307 vehicles.

See NHTSA 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 Chevrolet Traverse recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for Chevrolet Traverse 2nd Generation (2018-Present)

Chevrolet Traverse 2nd generation 2018 model
The 2018 Chevy Traverse

The 2nd Generation of the Chevrolet Traverse, commencing from 2018, signaled a fresh approach to the large crossover segment. With a revamped design, enhanced technology, and a continued focus on safety, the Traverse’s latest incarnation seeks to build upon its predecessor’s legacy.

The Best Years: 2023

The 2023 model of the Traverse shines as a beacon of quality within the 2nd Generation. Equipped with the latest safety features and technological innovations, it has become a benchmark for its class.

Consumer satisfaction and professional reviews alike have praised its performance, ride comfort, and state-of-the-art safety measures.

The Neutral Years: 2021, 2022

The 2021 Traverse, while not as groundbreaking as the 2023 model, was acknowledged for its commitment to safety. It earned the Top Safety Pick Award from the IIHS, an accolade that highlights its robust safety features.

Though it didn’t lead the pack in technology or performance, the consistent quality makes it a balanced choice for buyers.

Continuing the pattern of the 2021 model, the 2022 Traverse maintained a steady course with no major changes or enhancements. It offered reliability, comfort, and average technological progression.

The Worst Years: 2018, 2019, 2020

These initial years of the 2nd Generation were marred by various issues. Customers reported mechanical failures, electronic glitches, and subpar build quality that led to dissatisfaction.

The 2018 and 2019 model years experienced significant transmission problems. Owners reported issue known as “Shift to Park” defect that prevents drivers from shutting off or locking their vehicles.

The 2020 model Chevrolet Traverse saw a decrease in the number of complaints, but experienced higher number of recalls regarding various defects.

One of the recalls states that missing bolts on the start-stop accumulator endcap could result in transmission oil leak and may progress to a loss of propulsion, increasing the risk of crash. It covered 194105 vehicles from 2018, 2019 and 2020 model years.

While ambitious in its redesign and features, these years failed to live up to expectations, reflecting a rough start to a promising generation.

See NHTSA 2018, 2019, 2020 Chevrolet Traverse recalls and complaints.

Chevrolet Traverse Average Resale Values

In the graph below, we present the average resale values for various model years of the Chevrolet Traverse.

It provides valuable insights into how different models have held their value over time, reflecting factors such as reliability, demand, and brand reputation.

Chevrolet Traverse Average List Price


Now that you have seen the best and worst Chevrolet Traverse years, you can now select the right one for yourself. Consider the best Chevrolet Traverse years for a balance of features and reliability.

Based on the detailed breakdown of the Chevrolet Traverse’s best and worst years, which model year appeals to you the most, and why? Your insights could aid fellow readers.

Share your thoughts or experiences in the comments below.

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.