The key competitors for the 2012 Chevy Traverse are Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, and Ford Explorer. I have driven all of these and found Traverse to be very competitive, as well as comfortable and safe.
Yet the Traverse is less expensive than the other brands with similar features. Plus it is made here in the U.S. at the assembly plant in Lansing, Michigan.
The Traverse has four vehicle trim levels to choose from. The LTZ is the most expensive, but also the best of the four as far as technology is concerned.
The Traverse is best-in-class in cargo room (up to 116.5 cubic feet of total cargo space), and among the best in fuel economy for a 7-passenger crossover. The front wheel drive Traverse has an EPA 17-city mpg and 24-highway mpg.
The interior, more than just a cabin, resembles a rec-room or entertainment area. There are heated and cooled seats, tri-zone climate controls, and Sirius XM Satellite Radio with rear seat audio controls and headphone jacks, plus Bluetooth for phone.
The standard price for all these items along with numerous others brings the starting price for the LTZ to $38,885. Another $3,360 package includes the DVD rear seat entertainment center, touchscreen navigation and rearview camera display with remote control, and a Dual SkyScape Sunroof, which consists of a power front sunroof and a fixed rear skylight.
The Traverse is roomy, and drives smoothly with the agility of a sport car. The cabin is cozy quiet, and front bucket seats are spacious. The leather-wrapped tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel and column provide additional room for the driver, especially for guys like me who have a little too much tummy.
This beautiful car is powered by a 3.6 L engine with 6-speed automatic transmission, providing 288 hp at 6,300 rpm and 270 lb-ft torque at 3,400 rpm.
The calibrated drive-train hustles along in surprising quiet. There appears to be little if no vibration or road noise, making conversation easy to be heard throughout the interior. Power windows close and seal tightly with negligible outside noise getting in.
Outside, 20” aluminum wheels with rear spoilers and a rear power liftgate are standard on the LTZ. Dual outside mirrors are power folding, heated, and adjustable with turn signals embedded.
The Traverse gets a government 5-Star Safety Rating in overall vehicle score. In individual areas, Traverse gets a 5-Star rating for frontal driver crash, and side crash for front and rear passengers. There is also a 4-Star rating for rollover.
Traverse has a 100,000 mile/5-year transferable powertrain limited warranty. The complete vehicle is covered with a 36,000 mile/3-year warranty, whichever comes first, plus a 100,000 mile/6-year corrosion warranty.
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or email@example.com