$7,177 - $9,591

2012 Chevrolet Traverse Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse was new.


Performance: 7.9

Test drivers report that the 2012 Chevrolet 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 2012 Chevy 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. 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.

  • "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 2012 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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