Part of a new breed of car-based crossovers designed to offer an alternative to traditional SUVs and minivans, the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse racks up an impressive Total Car Score that puts it in the top tier of this competitive category.
The Traverse's most obvious attraction is its sizable eight-passenger interior, which features an uncommonly adult-friendly third-row seat. Less obvious but no less important is the relatively smooth ride and nimble handling that puts old-school truck-based SUVs to shame. Excellent scores in government and insurance industry crash tests also give family car shoppers some additional peace-of-mind.
Reviewers did find a couple of minor drawbacks. Like other large vehicles the Traverse's plus-size dimensions can make maneuvering in tight quarters a bit of a challenge. Visibility out the back is also somewhat limited, making the available rearview camera a worthwhile addition.
The 2012 Chevrolet Traverse returns with no significant changes, but it's fair to assume a refreshed version will be along in the next year or so.
The 2012 Chevrolet Traverse is a large crossover that's offered in three trim levels, including LS, LT and LTZ.
Power comes from a 3.6-liter V6 engine that puts out 281 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque in LS and LT models, and 288 hp and 270 lb-ft in the LTZ. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, with all-wheel drive available as an option.
Entry-level LS models come equipped with 17-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, deep-tinted rear privacy glass, a rear spoiler, keyless entry, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, split-folding second-and third-row bench seats, cruise control, OnStar and a CD stereo with satellite radio and six speakers.
The LT trim level is broken down into the 1LT and 2LT, with 1LT versions getting 18-inch alloy wheels, ultrasonic rear parking sensors, heated outside mirrors, a power driver's seat and Bluetooth hands-free cell phone connectivity. The 2LT adds an auto-dimming driver-side mirror, a power liftgate, three-zone automatic climate control, second-row captain’s chairs (which drops seating capacity to seven), remote start, a rearview camera and a premium Bose audio system with rear audio controls and 10 speakers.
The top-of-the-line LTZ is loaded up with 20-inch alloy wheels, power-folding outside mirrors, leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats and a driver's seat memory feature.
Major options include dual sunroofs, a navigation system and a rear-seat video entertainment system.
Front-wheel drive versions of the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse return EPA fuel economy estimates of 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined, while all-wheel drive versions are rated at 16/23/19.
With the proper equipment, the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse can tow up to 5,200 pounds.
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