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#5

in 2012 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $20,333 - $27,173
Original MSRP: $29,660 - $41,035
MPG: 17 City / 24 Hwy
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2012 Chevrolet Traverse Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2012 Chevy Traverse performs about as well as can be expected for such a large, roomy crossover. Its acceleration should be adequate for most buyers, and its fuel economy and car-like handling are both fairly good for the class.

  • "Driven back-to-back against the Toyota Highlander, the Traverse exhibited superior capabilities in almost every situation." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The Traverse comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine which makes 281 horsepower in LS and LTD models, and an extra 7 horsepower in LTZ models. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that some reviewers say isn’t very responsive. When equipped with a trailering equipment package, the Traverse can tow up to 5,200 pounds. All-wheel drive is available on each trim level for an extra $2,000.

According to the EPA, the front-wheel drive Traverse nets 17/24 mpg city/highway, while all-wheel drive models get 16/23 mpg. That’s about average for the class.

If your inner speed demon needs a bit more power than the Traverse has to offer, look no further than the seven-passenger Ford Flex, which offers an optional Ecoboost V6 engine that makes 355 horsepower. Reviewers say acceleration with this engine is downright impressive. And even though the Ecoboost-equipped Flex gets a 16/22 mpg fuel economy rating with standard all-wheel drive, it isn’t much of a penalty considering the extra power the Flex has.

  • "Ample power with usefully prompt throttle response. Front-drive models feel slightly quicker from a stop. Shifts are smooth and generally immediate, though the transmission can be tardy with downshifts at highway speed.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "The 3.6-liter V6 under the hood delivers willing performance in a wide range of driving situations.” -- Edmunds
  • "With the second and third rows of seats filled with luggage and teens, the direct-injected 281-bhp 3.6-liter V-6 will still launch the Traverse smartly. An optional dual exhaust adds 7 bhp, too little to notice while accelerating, but the sound is sportier." -- Road and Track

Handling and Braking

The praise for the Chevrolet Traverse’s handling all comes with an asterisk: it boasts car-like handling, responsive steering and good maneuverability, for a big, heavy SUV. That means that relative to its classmates, the Traverse handles fairly well, but shoppers looking for a hint of sporty driving dynamics should definitely look at alternatives like the Mazda CX-9. One reviewer mentions that the Traverse’s brakes are particularly good.

  • "Traverse is a large vehicle, but it's reasonably agile with little lean in corners. Accurate steering and responsive brakes contribute to making Traverse easy to maneuver despite its size.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "We like the way the Traverse rides confidently on the highway and doesn't wander in windy conditions." -- Road and Track
  • "While the … Chevrolet Traverse rides more smoothly and handles better than most traditional SUVs, it won't exactly make you forget you're driving a plus-size vehicle.” -- Edmunds

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Used car average prices are provided by ClearBook™, a TrueCar™ product