Best Bet
  • (4.6) 47 reviews
  • Available Prices: $8,794–$19,154
  • Body Style: Sport Utility
  • Combined MPG: 19-20
  • Engine: 281-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel Drive
  • Seats: 7-8
2012 Chevrolet Traverse

Our Take on the Latest Model 2012 Chevrolet Traverse

What We Don't Like

  • Large turning circle
  • Tight third row
  • Expensive base model
  • Aging cabin
  • Average reliability

Notable Features

  • Seats up to 8
  • Available panoramic moonroof
  • 3.6-liter V-6
  • FWD or AWD
  • Related to GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave

2012 Chevrolet Traverse Reviews

Cars.com Expert Reviews

The top five large crossover SUVs on the market outsell the top five minivans, despite having an average of nearly 20 percent less room. So be it. Families who want maximum space without the sliding doors can get the best alternative in one of GM's three-row crossovers: the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia or Chevrolet Traverse.

The 2012 Chevrolet Traverse nearly pulls a minivan out of the crossover hat. It's an impressive vehicle, even in its fourth year on the market.

Little has changed for 2012; you can compare it with the 2011 Traverse here. With front- or all-wheel drive, the eight-seat Traverse comes in LS, 1LT, 2LT and LTZ trim levels. Compare those trims here, or compare the Traverse, Acadia and Enclave here. We tested a front-drive Traverse 1LT.

Driving Refinement
The Traverse's drivetrain shines even among large crossovers, which aren't slowpokes these days. Its standard six-speed automatic shifts quickly, if sometimes roughly, and highway kickdown happens with little delay. Driven solo, our tester sped from a stop, hustled up to 70 mph, and beat others to the passing lane with a satisfying, muscular whine at full bore. I drove mostly solo, but the V-6 should be up to hauling passengers. When I crammed seven adults into a front-drive Enclave, it needed most of its reserves to ascend uphill onramps — but it did so capably. Expect the same from its Chevrolet sibling.

A dual-exhaust system in the LTZ bumps output up to 288 horsepower, from 281 hp in other trims. Either way, combined city/highway EPA gas mileage is 19 mpg with either front- or all-wheel drive. That's 1 or 2 mpg short of the V-6 Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. The Traverse's 5,200-pound towing capacity edges past all three, however. If you need to tow more, consider the V-8 Dodge Durango or any truck-based SUV.

Of course, once you start looking at trucks, you sacrifice ride quality. Driven back-to-back with its crossover competitors, the Traverse earned praise from our editors for its refined ride. It soaks up bumps large and small, keeping highway chatter from upsetting the cabin. I'm a harsh critic of suspensions that let the little stuff seep up, so consider this high praise for GM.

Roomy Interior
Cargo room distinguishes the Traverse, which has 24.4 cubic feet — enough for a large cooler — behind the third row. The Explorer has 21 cubic feet, and the others go down from there. Fold all the seats, and the Traverse has 116.4 cubic feet of maximum volume. No direct competitor breaks 100 cubic feet. With removable or stowable seats and tumble-flat third rows, most minivans offer more than 140 cubic feet. The Traverse falls short of that mark, but it is the minivan of crossovers.

Seen in GM trucks as far back as 2007, the Traverse's cabin components are aging — pixelated stereo readouts, outdated gauges — but they're still intuitive. Overall cabin quality, however, disappoints. The low-gloss surfaces found above elbow level degrade to cheaper, harsher veneers below. Competitors like the Durango and Mazda CX-9 are higher quality.

The first and second rows have decent space, and the three-seat second-row bench reclines and slides forward and backward. (Two captain's chairs are optional.) Adults in the third row may need passengers in the second row to move it forward a few clicks to create sufficient legroom. Both rows in the Traverse sit too close to the floor, which leaves adults' knees raised. Squatting seats are the norm in many crossovers, but the Explorer — and Ford's other crossover, the boxy Flex — sit higher.

Safety & Features
Thanks to top scores in all crash tests, the Traverse is a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It also earned an excellent, five-star rating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's challenging side pole test. Standard safety features include three-row curtain airbags and an electronic stability system; click here for a full list, and here to see our evaluation of child-seat provisions in the Traverse.

The Traverse's reliability has been average, which falls short of the Pilot and Highlander. (The Durango and Explorer, which were both recently redesigned, haven't accumulated enough data for reliability ratings just yet.)

The Traverse LS starts at a pricey $29,430 — most competitors can be had for less than $28,500 — with power accessories, a manual driver's seat, steel wheels and an auxiliary MP3 jack. Features some competitors include standard are optional, including steering-wheel audio controls, a power driver's seat, alloy wheels and USB/iPod compatibility. Also optional are leather upholstery, Bluetooth, heated and cooled front seats, upgraded wheels, a panoramic moonroof, a navigation system and a rear entertainment system. Load up an all-wheel-drive LTZ, and the sticker can top $47,000.

Traverse in the Market
As models age, competitors invariably leapfrog them. How quickly — and broadly —  a car is overrun is a good indicator of whether an automaker nailed the job or botched it. Following some quality bungles at the outset, the Acadia, Enclave and Traverse are among the great successes of the modern GM. Even as new competitors hit the scene, their relevance persists.

Most of the time, I can't convince crossover SUV shoppers to buy a minivan. If you're in that camp, whatever threw you off the ultimate utility vehicle — be it towing needs, snow-friendly ground clearance or your self-image — the Traverse is a good place to land.

Send Kelsey an email  


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Consumer Reviews

(4.6)

Average based on 47 reviews

Write a Review

Very nice vehicle rides wonderful and has great sp

by Kristi1972 from MILWAUKEE on December 2, 2017

This is great car has plenty of room and comfort and good on gas rides nice too the engine is quiet and has plenty of power and is smooth ride

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8 Trims Available

Photo of undefined
Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2012 Chevrolet Traverse trim comparison will help you decide.
 

Chevrolet Traverse Articles

2012 Chevrolet Traverse Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

IIHS Ratings

Based on Chevrolet Traverse 1LT

Head Restraints and Seats
G
Moderate overlap front
G
Roof Strength
G
Side
G

IIHS Ratings

Based on Chevrolet Traverse 1LT

G Good
A Acceptable
M Marginal
P Poor

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
G
Overall Rear
G
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
G

Moderate overlap front

Chest
G
Head/Neck
G
Left Leg/Foot
G
Overall Front
G
Restraints
G
Right Leg/Foot
G
Structure/safety cage
G

Other

Roof Strength
G

Side

Driver Head Protection
G
Driver Head and Neck
G
Driver Pelvis/Leg
G
Driver Torso
G
Overall Side
G
Rear Passenger Head Protection
G
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
G
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
G
Rear Passenger Torso
G
Structure/safety cage
G
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers. IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests. IIHS also evaluates seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Chevrolet Traverse 1LT

Overall
Overall Front
Overall Side
Overall Rollover Rating

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Chevrolet Traverse 1LT

Overall
Overall Front
Overall Side
Overall Rollover Rating
Driver's
Passenger's
Front Seat
Rear Seat
Side Barrier
Side Pole
Side Pole Barrier combined (Front)
Side Pole Barrier combined (Rear)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA provides vehicle safety information such as front- and side-crash ratings and rollover ratings. Vehicles are rated using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Recalls

There are currently 4 recalls for this car.


Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $3,000 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

36mo/36,000mi

Powertrain

60mo/100,000mi

Roadside Assistance Coverage

60mo/100,000mi

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

Powertrain

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years