KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 11/4/2011
The family vacation is an integral part of American life, which is why having a family vehicle that is big, comfortable, safe and fuel-efficient is paramount. The 2012 Chevrolet Traverse is such a vehicle, a 7-passenger CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle) that embodies the best attributes of a car (ride, handling, fuel economy and safety), with a cavernous passenger compartment, all-wheel-drive ability and a large and versatile cargo hold of an SUV. And, while the Traverse can't tow a 9,000-pound trailer or go crawling over boulder-strewn washes, it can easily pull an average-size boat and triumph over the harshest winter road conditions. Pitted against such well-established CUVs as the Honda Pilot, Hyundai Veracruz and the Toyota Highlander, the Traverse can more than hold its own. With one of the largest cargo bays behind its third-row seat plus a host of electronic safety and security features provided by GM's OnStar division, the 2012 Traverse sets the standard other CUVs have yet to meet.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you need a vehicle big enough to haul your family and a 5,400-pound trailer, but you don't want a big, gas-thirsty SUV, the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse is the perfect solution. Roomy yet manageably sized, the Traverse is the ideal family wagon.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you need to tow really heavy stuff, you'll need the strength found only with a full-sized body-on-frame SUV attached to a powerful V8 engine.
What's New for 2012
The mirrors on the LTZ are now power folding, heated and have a driver's-side auto-dimming feature. The LT2 gets the same mirrors, only they must be folded manually.
Of all the big CUVs we've tested, this is one of our favorites. The Traverse drives like a much smaller vehicle and exhibits impressive stability, a smooth and comfortable ride, and remarkably quick reflexes. Acceleration both from a standing start and while passing is good, but not class-leading by any means; fuel economy, on the other hand, is slightly above average for this class. As part of our test drive we were able to take the Traverse onto an enclosed test track where. we could explore safely the full range of its traction and stability controls. In every test, be it hard cornering, braking or rapid left-right steering maneuvers on slick pavement, the Traverse performed at and in many cases above our expectations. In short, the 2012 Traverse scores well in the areas of comfort, control, safety and long-range cruising ability. It is truly one of the best CUVs on the market.
StabiliTrak Stability Control with Rollover Mitigation Technology
Although you'll never know it until you have to use it, this technology could very well save your life. It drastically improves the Traverse's ability to remain composed in even the most radical emergency maneuvers.
Smart Slide Second Row Seat
This easy and convenient feature allows the second-row seat bottom to flip up and the seat to slide forward, creating a wide pathway to the third-row seat.
The 2012 Chevrolet Traverse's interior is a study in the fine art of form meeting function. The dash, doors and console are covered in quality soft-touch plastics composed of eye-pleasing shapes and contrasting color. Second-row passengers will find their seats can be moved fore and aft, and the seats include a fold-and-tumble feature that makes access to the third-row seat so much easier than trying to wedge one's body between the seatback and the C-pillar. Once seated, passengers will discover the Traverse's third row is actually quite accommodating to full-size adults. And, unlike many of the Traverse's rivals, there is plenty of cargo space (enough to hold two golf bags) behind the third-row seat. Side-curtain airbags that extend the length of the vehicle ensure protection for all of the Traverse's occupants.
Although it shares a common platform with the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia, the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse's styling has a bit more European attitude. Differentiating the Traverse from its kissing cousins is a rear quarter window that angles sharply up at its bottom edge, clean side panels and a large, distinctive spilt grille bearing the Chevy bow-tie logo between the two halves. The Traverse's wheels are pushed to its furthermost corners, a design that both increases stability as well as provides maximum interior space. In a nod to less cumbersome entry and egress, Chevy designers gave the Traverse a set of long rear doors that make it easier for third-row passengers to get in and out. Other useful Traverse features include available convex mirror insets that help expose objects ordinarily obscured by the vehicle's blind spots, and a power liftgate for easy access to the cargo bay.
Notable Standard Equipment
Every 2012 Chevrolet Traverse comes standard with six airbags, including full-length side-curtain airbags, front side-impact airbags and front passenger airbags. Also standard are StabiliTrak stability control with roll-mitigation technology, a 1-year subscription to OnStar with Turn-by-Turn navigation, AM/FM stereo with CD and XM Satellite Radio, power windows, mirrors and door locks, rear wiper washer, cruise control, 17-inch wheels, Smart Slide second-row seat and flush-folding third-row seat.
Notable Optional Equipment
Options vary by trim, which includes 1LT, 2LT and LTZ. Available features on most trims include remote start, a power rear liftgate (standard on 2LT and LTZ), Bose 10-speaker Surround Sound Audio system, DVD navigation, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, all-wheel drive, second-row captain's-chair seating, 115-volt 3-prong outlet, two different rearview cameras (one for use with navigation, the other for vehicles without), Ultrasonic Rear Park Assist, heated windshield wiper fluid, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, dual-zone climate control, HID headlights, heated front seats (heated and cooled front seats standard on LTZ) and a dual-panel glass moonroof.
Under the Hood
The 2012 Chevrolet Traverse is powered by a sophisticated 3.6-liter V6 engine with variable valve timing and direct-injection technology for improved performance and fuel economy. While most owners will be just fine with the 281 horsepower found on the LS and LT trims, the LTZ features a dual exhaust that bumps the horsepower to 288. All trims feature a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode and can be equipped with Chevrolet's excellent Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system. Unlike many of GM's other engines, however, the Traverse V6 is not E85 compatible.
281 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
288 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm (dual exhaust)
266 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 rpm
270 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 rpm (dual exhaust)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (FWD), 16/23 (AWD)
The 2012 Chevrolet Traverse LS has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $30,000. All-wheel drive adds about another $2,000 to the bottom line. 1LT and 2LT trim push the price into the mid-$30,000 range, while a fully loaded LTZ with all-wheel drive is expected to top out around just over $45,000. Our Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price reflects real-world transaction prices, so be sure to check and see what others are paying before you begin negotiations. Competitors such as the 2012 Toyota Highlander and Ford Flex are priced similarly, while the Hyundai Veracruz generally lists for less. We expect the Traverse to hold better values than its sister-vehicle, the Buick Enclave, as well as the Ford Flex, but remain on par with the Honda Pilot, GMC Acadia and Toyota Highlander.