Used Car Review

2012 Chevrolet Traverse: Used Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Ron Sessions January 2016

The 2012 Chevrolet Traverse crossover SUV is longer overall and has more passenger and cargo space than a full-size Tahoe. As with its GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave stablemates, the Traverse uses a lightweight car-based design with unit-body construction, a fully independent suspension and a transverse-mounted engine. This results in carlike ride and handling. With almost 1,000 fewer pounds to carry around, an all-aluminum, direct-injected V6 dual-overhead-camshaft (DOHC) engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission instead of a big V8, it has better fuel economy than the truck-based Tahoe. For 2012, continuous improvements to the automatic-transmission programming enhance part-throttle response and reduce shift delays.

The Traverse is available in front- and all-wheel-drive configurations. A unique slide-and-fold second-row seat that stacks flat against the back of the front seats provides easy access to the roomy third-row bench. All second-row seat positions feature LATCH child-seat anchors. New for 2012 are outside heated power-folding mirrors with driver's-side auto dimming. Other available equipment includes rear-seat DVD entertainment, a power lift gate, heated and cooled front seats, a backup camera and a panoramic sunroof.

The Traverse is a good used-vehicle choice for growing families with its minivanlike passenger and cargo space and 5,200-lb towing capability.

What We Like

Roomy third-row seat; communicative steering; high safety ratings; solid structure

What We Don't

Mismatched hard-plastic dash and door trim; low second-row seating position; lackluster fuel economy

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The sole engine choice is an advanced-design 3.6-liter DOHC V6 with variable valve timing, four valves per cylinder and direct fuel injection. In base tune, it has a single exhaust and is rated at 281 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. The optional dual-exhaust version bumps output to 288 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission with sequential sport shifting is standard, and both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are available. Both versions of the V6 burn regular unleaded fuel and are rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive and 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy with all-wheel drive.

Standard Features & Options

The 2012 Chevy Traverse comes in LS, LT and LTZ trim.

Typical LS equipment includes front and rear air conditioning, 8-passenger seating with cloth seats, split fold-down second- and third-row seats, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, remote keyless entry, the OnStar communication system, SiriusXM radio with real-time traffic notification, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with an MP3 decoder, auto headlamps, cruise control, 17-inch steel wheels, a rear wiper/washer, stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes and power door locks, mirrors and windows.

The LT trim adds 18-in alloy wheels, speed-sensing steering, mirrors with integrated turn signals, steering-wheel audio controls, Bluetooth phone connectivity, an outside-temperature display, a power driver's seat and rear parking assist. The options list is opened up to include navigation, automatic air conditioning, a power sunroof, a power lift gate, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a premium audio system with 10 speakers, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with headphones, remote vehicle starting, a backup camera, second-row bucket seats, leather upholstery, heated front seats and a power front passenger seat.

The range-topping LTZ goes all in, making much of the equipment that is optional on the LT standard, such as a power lift gate, navigation, tri-zone automatic air conditioning, a Bose 10-speaker premium audio system, remote vehicle starting, a backup camera and second-row buckets. The LTZ also adds a standard driver's-memory seat, a leather shift knob, ventilated front seats, 20-in alloy wheels and outside heated power-folding mirrors with driver's-side auto dimming. The 288-hp dual-exhaust engine is standard on the LTZ, as well.

Pricing

The Traverse offers almost as much passenger and cargo space as a minivan but without the sliding side doors and soccer-mom stigma. Clean, used family vehicles such as the Traverse are in steady demand, especially low-mileage examples with all-wheel drive. Prices will be more reasonable for front-wheel-drive models. Because the Traverse has standard traction control and the majority of its weight over the front driving wheels, it offers all the poor-weather traction that most buyers will really need.

To get a good idea of the prices of used 2012 Traverse crossovers, check out the used-car values at KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.

Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2012 Traverse:

The outboard seat-belt support cable for the front seats may separate and fail to restrain the seat occupant in a crash.

Snow or ice buildup on the windshield may cause the wiper arm to loosen and become inoperative. This recall is applicable only to vehicles in snow states.

Due to electrical resistance in the wiring-harness connectors, the side-impact airbags and seat-belt pretensioners may not deploy in a crash.

Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

NHTSA gave the 2012 Chevy Traverse a 5-star overall rating, with four stars for frontal impacts, five stars for side impacts and four stars for rollover performance.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the 2012 Traverse as a Top Safety Pick. It gave it a Good rating for moderate-overlap front impacts, side impacts, roof structure, head-restraint and seat crash performance.

Chevrolet covered the 2012 Traverse with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty with roadside assistance and a 6-year/100,000-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.

Chevrolet certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles cannot have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be 5 years old or less. Every CPO Traverse undergoes a 172-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, plus whatever remains on the transferable original 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage. Also included is a 2-year/24,000-mile maintenance plan with roadside assistance.

Other Cars to Consider

2012 Ford Explorer -- Based on the Taurus car platform, the Explorer offers decent fuel economy along with carlike ride and handling. Three-row seating is standard. The 2012 Explorer comes with a 290-hp 3.5-liter V6 or a 240-hp 2.0-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder. The V6 can tow up to 5,000 pounds. Both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are available on the V6, with 4-wheel drive an option only on the 4-cylinder. The MyFord Touch infotainment system on these models can be buggy and has required many service updates.

2012 Toyota Highlander -- Toyota's midsize crossover was one of the first car-based designs. It offers solid value for families on the move. The 270-hp 3.5-liter V6 delivers peppy performance, and its 18 mpg city/24 mpg hwy EPA ratings top those of the larger, heavier Traverse. Also available is a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder, EPA-rated at 20 mpg city/25 mpg hwy. The third-row seat folds flat into the floor, but its cramped design is for children only. A Center Stow second-row seat provides a small center-position seat for a child, and it can be stowed away when not needed.

Autotrader's Advice

The 2012 Chevrolet Traverse offers a smooth-riding, more fuel-efficient alternative to truck-based SUVs, such as the Tahoe, while providing interior space that rivals that of a minivan. While its 5,200-lb tow rating isn't up to truck standards, it's plenty for most small boats and travel trailers. This was the fourth year for the Traverse, and it benefited from the running production changes and updates that were done to the earlier models. Still, make sure that all the applicable safety recalls have been performed on the Traverse that you're looking at, and go for a lower-mileage or Chevrolet-certified example whenever possible.

Find a Chevrolet Traverse for sale 

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Used 2012 Chevrolet Traverse FWD LS
Used 2012 Chevrolet Traverse
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Used 2012 Chevrolet Traverse AWD LT
Used 2012 Chevrolet Traverse
$12,877
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Used 2012 Chevrolet Traverse FWD LS
Used 2012 Chevrolet Traverse
$14,730
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2012 Chevrolet Traverse: Used Car Review - Autotrader