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2013 Kia Soul, Dune, 30 mi., $15,444
Review of the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse
IntroductionThe 2012 Chevrolet Traverse is a four-door, up to eight-passenger large crossover utility vehicle available in LS, LT, and LTZ models and in both front - wheel drives (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) configurations. For 2012, the USB port has been included with premium radios. Located in the center console, it connects portable music devices to the vehicle's audio system and charges batteries of some hand-held items. A large crossover SUV based on General Motors' Lambda vehicle platform, the Traverse was all new for 2009 and enters into 2012 as mainly a carryover model. Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, and Ford Flex are the main competitors of the Traverse.
Exterior Design and Special FeaturesSeventeen-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, eight-passenger seating, split-folding second- and third-row bench seats, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, OnStar and a six-speaker CD/MP3 player with an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio are standard on the LS. The mid-level LT trim is available in 1LT and the upscale 2LT versions. The LTZ gets 20-inch wheels, a navigation system with real-time traffic, leather seating, Bluetooth connectivity, heated and cooled power front seats with driver memory settings, and a rearview camera. Many standard features on upper trim levels can be added to the lower ones via optional packages. A trailering package, a navigation system (with real-time traffic, a rearview camera and a USB port), dual sunroofs and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system (with USB port) are some of the other options.
EngineThe Traverse LS and LT FWD is powered by a standard 3.6-liter, V6, 281-horsepower engine that achieves 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. A standard 3.6-liter, V6, 288-horsepower engine that delivers 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway powers the LTZ AWD. A six-speed automatic transmission with overdrive is standard on both trims. With all three rows of seating in use, the Traverse offers a useful 24 cubic feet of luggage space and maximum cargo capacity is a generous 117 cubic feet with the second- and third-row seats folded down.
SafetyThe Traverse received top ratings in NHTSA tests and also aced in IIHS' crash tests. Antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags for all three rows are standard. GM's OnStar service for one year, including turn-by-turn navigation and hands-free phone connectivity, is also standard.