|310||Max Horsepower (HP)||284|
|266||Max Torque (lb-ft)||259|
|Up to 9||Seating||Up to 8|
If you’re looking to drive home in a new SUV, you shouldn’t buy the first one that comes to mind. Car buying is already a pretty serious process and can involve a fairly long-term commitment if you’re signing for an auto loan. Although on top of the gravity of purchasing a car, SUVs come in many shapes, sizes, and types, and each manufacturer has their own unique take on this popular body styling. While smaller compact SUVs tend to be quite popular right now, the traditional SUV body styling is much more substantial. There are plenty of large SUV models out there on the road, though, and buying the right model can mean the difference between a thrilling drive and one that feels a little subpar behind the wheel. To help you narrow down some of your options, we’ll compare two three-row SUVs that strive to satisfy a long list of expectations: the 2020 Chevy Traverse vs 2020 Nissan Pathfinder.
On the one hand, you have the Pathfinder, a large SUV with four unique trims: the S, SV, SL, and Platinum. Entry-level pricing in the Pathfinder is somewhat reasonable, starting out at an MSRP of $31,680. On the other hand, you have the Chevy Traverse, an SUV with a longer list of trims, which include the L, LS, LT (cloth and leather), RS, Premier, and High Country. The starting MSRP on the Chevy Traverse is more affordable, with base models going for $29,800. At first glance, these two SUVs may seem to offer a similar driving experience, but when you look a bit further, the differences become far more apparent.
The engine beneath the hood is a crucial factor to consider whenever you’re purchasing a vehicle, and more particularly, an SUV. The engine and the variety of gear supporting the engine, are essential in an SUV as they help define the responsiveness of the drive and the overall degree of hauling power at your disposal. While there may be many factors to consider when shopping for an SUV, the powertrain ought to take up a spot on your list.
The Nissan Pathfinder is a large car, offering three rows of seats, and a full-sized cabin. As a result, we ought to expect a pretty remarkable engine in the base model. Fortunately, the Nissan Pathfinder does a decent job, giving drivers a 284-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine that can tow roughly 6,000 pounds. It's CVT does a decent enough job, and it comes equipped with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional in the Nissan Pathfinder, making it rather competent when it comes to handling rough road conditions. Although, it is worth noting that off-roading in the Nissan Pathfinder can come at a challenge, particularly because of the minimal 7.0-inches of ground clearance, and the CVT drivetrain only provides so much in the way of nimble force. But, you do get the option between either 18 or 20-inch wheels, which can only add to your overall driving experience.
The 2020 Chevy Traverse also uses a single powertrain; however, the engine beneath the hood of the Chevy Traverse is a bit more robust. In the 2020 Traverse rests a 3.6-liter V6 that puts out 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft worth of torque. A 9-speed automatic transmission is paired to this engine, which provides a rather seamless driving experience from start to finish. The Chevy Traverse also manages to give drivers the option of either a two-wheel or all-wheel drivetrain, giving you the opportunity to take on more rigorous terrain. And the available 8.0-inches of ground clearance gives the Chevy Traverse a significant edge against competitors. The Chevy Traverse is built to tow a maximum of 5,000 lbs.
Interior spacing and amenities is a huge deal for any driver, but more particularly, the driver of an SUV. SUVs are designed to be not only large and in charge, but capable of offering premium level comfort to all passengers equally. So, when shopping for an SUV, it is always a good idea to consider how many passengers you expect to have at any given time, and how much cargo capacity you’ll need onboard.
The Nissan Pathfinder is a rather large car, giving owners three rows of seating. However, that third row offers a rather limited amount of legroom, as third-row passengers only get to enjoy 30 inches in total. The second row is more substantial, though, offering a total of 40 inches by comparison. Cargo capacity is also pretty good in the Nissan Pathfinder, with 16.2 cu.ft. available when all seats are up and engaged, 47.4 cu.ft. when third-row seats are folded flat, and 79.5 cu.ft. when all seats are folded down.
Cabin materials are simple and effective, with base models getting cloth, and higher trims enjoying lush leather upholstery. Technological amenities are also worthwhile, as the Nissan Pathfinder gives owners an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen which can be connected via Bluetooth.
Unfortunately, no matter what Pathfinder model you purchase, you won’t be able to enjoy Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a feature that’s often considered standard fare in competitor models. That said, the Navigations system onboard the SL and Platinum models is pretty nifty, ensuring that you’ll rarely get lost behind the wheel.
The 2020 Chevy Traverse is also a sizable SUV with three rows and enough room for up to eight passengers. On top of that, passengers get the pick of the litter when it comes to cupholders, as a total of 10 can be found scattered about the rear passengers' seats. Second-row passengers get to enjoy a reasonable 38 inches of legroom, and third-row passengers get a spacious 33 inches. Cargo room is also mightily substantial, with 23 cu.ft. behind the third row of seats, 57.8 cu.ft. available behind second-row seats, and 98.2 cu.ft. of space available behind the front-row of seats.
Like many competitors, the Chevy Traverse comes standard with cloth and optional with leather, but soft-touch plastic materials are used all around. The base model Chevy Traverse also gets a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen that is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a feature that you won’t find in some competitors. Higher trim models expand this standard infotainment touchscreen and add in things like second-row captain’s chairs, a Bose audio system, a wireless smartphone charger, and heated front and second-row seats, among many other things.
Safety features have advanced a lot in recent years, especially for SUVs. From the simple and effective seatbelts and airbags to intuitive, advanced features like automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, safety is now a broad sweeping characteristic to a car, and ought to be highly considered when making a purchase.
In terms of safety features, the Nissan Pathfinder comes pretty well equipped. Even the entry-level model gets automatic emergency braking that works at slow speeds. Other more advanced features can be found in higher trim levels, with the Pathfinder SV offering things like blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and rear cross-traffic alerts as standard. And when you move up to the SL and Platinum Pathfinder model, you’ll get to take advantage of a highly advanced surround-view camera system.
Advanced safety in the 2020 Chevy Traverse is pretty well dished out, especially in higher trims. While base models come with the basics and a few great features like teen driver, Stabilitrak, OnStar, like the Pathfinder, the higher trims come with a wider package. Features such as automatic emergency braking only come in the LT trim and higher. If you opt for a fully fleshed out package, you will have access to adaptive cruise control, front pedestrian braking, rear park assist, and much more.