2012 Chevrolet Traverse Review

Pros & Cons

  • Compliant ride
  • seating for as many as eight passengers
  • adult-friendly third-row seat
  • massive cargo area
  • top safety scores.
  • Large size hampers maneuverability
  • some minor interior annoyances
  • compromised rear visibility.
List Price Range
$5,000 - $18,998

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Edmunds' Expert Review

With its stylish good looks, spacious cabin, carlike handling and decent fuel economy, the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse has much to offer buyers who need maximum passenger capacity in a more maneuverable package.

Vehicle overview

While the average American family has 2.6 kids, sometimes you end up with a Brady Bunch-sized clan. If you can relate, and you need something bigger than the typical midsize sedan to cart around your brood, the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse is worth a look.

One of the best modern family haulers to come out in the last few years, the Traverse is a large crossover that boasts a refined ride and an enormous cabin that can fit as many as eight adults. Thanks to its carlike unibody architecture, it's lighter and more maneuverable than traditional SUVs like Chevy's Tahoe. The Traverse has other advantages as well, including more interior space than other competing crossovers, decent fuel economy and top crash test scores.

It's important to note, however, that the 2012 Traverse is actually one of three vehicles GM sells with this body style and 288-horsepower V6. The Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia differ in styling, interior design, some feature availability and the quality of some cabin materials, but otherwise they are mechanically identical. As for picking one, it really comes down to price, style and which dealer treats you best.

The Traverse does have some downsides. It's not as easy to drive or see out of as slightly smaller competitive crossovers. As such, you might be inclined to check out the more athletic Mazda CX-9 or our top choice, the well-rounded Ford Flex. Also worth noting are the Dodge Durango and Ford Explorer; they don't offer quite as much interior space as any of the above models, but each is certainly desirable in its own right.

All these choices may make your family hauler search a little tougher. But if Marcia, Greg, Peter, Jan, Bobby, Cindy, Mike and Carol all need to fit into one vehicle, the Traverse should work out well. You just won't be able to bring Alice.

2012 Chevrolet Traverse models

The 2012 Chevrolet Traverse is a large crossover SUV available in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels. Standard equipment on the LS includes 17-inch steel wheels, eight-passenger seating, split-folding second- and third-row bench seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, air-conditioning, full power accessories, OnStar and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack.

The midrange LT trim level is actually comprised of a choice of two sub-trims: the well-equipped 1LT and the more upscale 2LT. The 1LT package offers 18-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, heated mirrors, an eight-way power driver seat, Bluetooth and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Select the 2LT and you'll get all that plus an auto-dimming driver-side mirror, a power liftgate, tri-zone automatic climate control, remote ignition, seven-passenger seating (featuring second-row captain's chairs), a rearview camera (integrated into the rearview mirror) and a 10-speaker Bose sound system with a USB/iPod interface and rear audio system controls.

The Traverse LTZ ups the luxury ante with 20-inch wheels, power-folding mirrors, leather upholstery, and heated and ventilated front seats with driver memory functions. Some of the standard features on upper trim levels can be added to the lower ones via option packages. Other highlights from the add-ons list include a navigation system, dual sunroofs and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

2012 Highlights

There are no significant changes for the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse.

Performance & mpg

There is only one engine/transmission combination available for the Chevrolet Traverse -- a 3.6-liter V6 mated to a six-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive or an available all-wheel-drive system round out the powertrain details.

In the LS and LT trims, the V6 produces 281 hp and 266 pound-feet of torque. In the more upmarket LTZ, output jumps to 288 hp and 270 lb-ft thanks to a dual-outlet exhaust. In our performance testing, a Traverse 2LT posted a sufficiently quick 0-60-mph time of 8.6 seconds; the LTZ did it in 8.2. Properly equipped, the Traverse will tow a respectable 5,200 pounds.

EPA fuel economy estimates for the front-wheel-drive Traverse are 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined. All-wheel-drive Traverse models are very close at 16/23/19 mpg.


Antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags for all three rows are all standard on the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse, as is GM's OnStar telematics service, including turn-by-turn navigation and hands-free phone connectivity. In Edmunds brake testing, a Traverse LTZ came to a stop from 60 mph in 130 feet; a Traverse 2LT with smaller tires did it in 135 feet. These distances are acceptable, but most competitors perform better.

In government crash tests, the Traverse earned a top five-star rating for overall performance, with four out of five stars being given for overall front-impact protection and five stars for overall side-impact protection. The Traverse also aced the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, where it got the highest rating of "Good" in all frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.


The 2012 Chevrolet Traverse provides a nice balance between secure handling and a comfortable ride. It's also a much nicer and easier vehicle to drive than a traditional SUV like the Tahoe. That said, the Traverse is still a beefy vehicle, and most competing crossover SUVs are a bit more agile and easier to see out of. We have no complaints about the 3.6-liter V6, as it provides willing acceleration in almost all situations and achieves pretty good fuel economy.


When it comes to keeping you and your passengers happy, the interior of the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse has a lot to offer. The design is attractive and, aside from tiny audio and climate control buttons, the layout of gauges and controls makes sense.

The passenger cabin offers seating for either seven passengers with the second-row captain's chairs or eight with the 60/40-split-folding second-row bench seat. Both arrangements provide good comfort for first- and second-row passengers. Even the third-row seats are adult-friendly, though buyers who expect to carry a full load of grown-ups regularly should know the Ford Flex feels more spacious back there for two people because of its boxy profile.

When it comes time to load the Traverse up for a road trip, you'll find a healthy 24 cubic feet of suitcase space behind the third-row seat. For larger loads, fold both the second- and third-row seats down and you get a flat load floor and an impressive 116 cubic feet of cargo room. To get more cargo room, you'd have to buy a minivan or a Suburban.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse.

36 reviews
Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

This engine holds a bad secret
Domonic Webster,04/14/2018
LTZ 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
While this vehicle has many great features it hides a bad thing that will sink you. The engine has timing chains that have a known defect. I wish I knew this before I spent my money. The repair cost is a new engine which will cost about $5,000 and takes about 8-15 hours to replace. When all is said and done you will spend $10,000 to repair. If you own a earlier version 2007-2009 it’s covered. If you buy a 2012 it will not be.
2012 Traverse 30-Day Review
This is my daily commuter from the mountains to the city. The Traverse is exceptionally comfortable to drive and handles the steep and curvy mountain roads with ease. Plenty of passing power and, despite some of the other complaints, I think the visibility to the side and rear is fine. I've never been in a quieter car...little to no road or wind noise. Everything is within easy reach and the interior is cavernous! Even though there is seating for 8 I don't use the 3rd row. The rear is strictly used for cargo and comes in handy with monthly trips to Costco! I looked at several other models and decided the Traverse topped them all.
Traction DANGER!!!
LS 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
Today 9/9/2018 I was on my way to church this morning. I get not even a third of the way there and my car takes me from 45 mph to a quick 15 mph without warning!!!!!!!!!!!! I pulled over and just shut my car off because I was scared. This is not the first time that this has happened to me. The last time it happened I was on the highway coming back from chemotherapy and I had my kids in the car. THIS IS NOT SAFE!!!!! Whenever I did call my dealership and took it up there for them to see, I could not duplicate the issue. I do not feel safe in my car and I honestly don't want it anymore. I need to have a car that I can depend on to get to my appointments. I have already had to fight one HUGE monster with my health, I surely don't need anything else to happen to me or my children.
After One-Year, Very Happy w/Purchase
The Good: Space (lots of it). Have fit five adults, two infants in car seats, a dog and a stroller in the car before. Cargo area is plenty big, even with the third row up; While heavy on acceleration, actually turns quite nimbly for its size; Comfortable ride in every seat - third row can accommodate a small adult for normal trips, and a larger male for short trips. Bad: Gas mileage (~17), cargo door not very wide/tall Overall: Would definitely buy again; this car fit my exact needs for something safe for my infant twin sons, large enough to carry their stuff, but stylish enough for a 32-year old man who refused to own/drive a minivan. Gas mileage sucks, but didn't buy for that.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2012 Chevrolet Traverse features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover16.9%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse

Used 2012 Chevrolet Traverse Overview

The Used 2012 Chevrolet Traverse is offered in the following submodels: Traverse SUV. Available styles include LS 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A), LT 4dr SUV w/1LT (3.6L 6cyl 6A), LT 4dr SUV AWD w/1LT (3.6L 6cyl 6A), LT 4dr SUV w/2LT (3.6L 6cyl 6A), LS 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), LT 4dr SUV AWD w/2LT (3.6L 6cyl 6A), LTZ 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), and LTZ 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Chevrolet Traverse?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Chevrolet Traverse trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Chevrolet Traverse LT is priced between $5,000 and$18,998 with odometer readings between 69105 and142175 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Chevrolet Traverse LS is priced between $9,999 and$12,995 with odometer readings between 58560 and115560 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Chevrolet Traverse LTZ is priced between $10,000 and$10,000 with odometer readings between 122242 and122242 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2012 Chevrolet Traverses are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Chevrolet Traverse for sale near. There are currently 6 used and CPO 2012 Traverses listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $5,000 and mileage as low as 58560 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Chevrolet Traverse.

Can't find a used 2012 Chevrolet Traverses you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Chevrolet Traverse for sale - 2 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $15,867.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 6 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $17,969.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Traverse for sale - 2 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $9,090.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 9 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $22,084.

Should I lease or buy a 2012 Chevrolet Traverse?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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