2012 Chevy Traverse Review & Giveaway

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I have a confession.

Although I’ve lived in the Motor City for a little over 7 years now, I’ve rarely given much thought to cars.  Strange, I know.

After attending a series of events as a guest of GM and driving the Chevy Volt, you can probably guess that I’ve been paying a lot more attention to what people are driving these days.  Really, though, more than anything, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how much thought actually does go into the decision making process when it comes to buying a new car.  Yes, income and affordability is probably the biggest factor in this decision but lifestyle comes in a very close second.

After all, it wouldn’t matter if you could afford a $75,000 Corvette, if you can’t fit your family in it. It simply won’t work.

When I drove the Volt, I was in awe of it’s luxury and technology.  While I still highly recommend it for Eco-concious commuters, I can’t say it’s a great car for large families, due to it’s limited passenger and cargo room.

Those of us with children need space.  Even smaller families, like mine with 2 children, often find themselves with extra kids in the car and almost always hauling an incredible amount of “stuff.”  Far more “stuff” than we did before we became parents.  For the most part, our vehicle selections have been limited to either an SUV, or the old stand-by, a minivan.

Or so I thought.

Recently, General Motors introduced me to the 2012 Chevy Traverse a family-friendly cross-over SUV, with room for 8.  Fellow Detroit Mommy, Courtney, drove the 2011 model last year and it left her wanting more.  Me?


The first thing that struck me about this vehicle was how stylish it was.  It has the same amount of passenger room as a minivan, but it doesn’t look like a minivan!


The model I drove had leather seats and room for 7; driver & front passenger, two captains chairs in the second row and a 3rd row split bench.  My two teen girls LOVED the captains chairs.  These gave them each their “own space” but they were still close enough together to chat (or annoy, depending on who was in what kind of mood).  The captains chairs also gave them plenty of room to keep their “stuff” close by, but not crammed under their feet.

I was equally impressed with the amount of cargo space in the Traverse.  If you read my previous post, Tips for Easy Meal Planning, you know that I plan, and shop, for 6 weeks worth of meals at one time.  6 weeks worth of food for a family with 2 teenagers is quite a lot, but the Traverse easily accommodated our grocery haul after folding down the 3rd row bench seat.  Folding down the bench seat was easy too!  Unlike my minivian, which requires two hands (and sometimes a foot) to get the back seat down,  it only took 2 fingers with the Traverse.

One of the biggest changes between the 2011 and the 2012 models appears to be the rear camera and navigation system.  Courtney was not impressed with either in last year’s model, but this year, they integrated both into a beautiful display built into the driver’s console.  The rear-view camera uses a fish-eye lens, so it was very easy to see everything behind me, even the peripheral view.


The Traverse comes loaded with gadgets and add-0ns for the tech lover in your family including Bluetooth, Sirius XM Radio, rear-seat entertainment system and Wi-Fi.  Yes, you read that correctly – you can have Wi-Fi installed in the 2012 Chevy Traverse!

Did Cheverolet have mom bloggers in mind when they made this an option?  Me thinks so!

Of course, safety is something to take into consideration, family car or not.  With 6 air bags, StabiliTrak traction control, rear-door child security lock out and anti-lock breaks, the Traverse does not disappoint.  In fact, it has received high marks from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

I said I loved it, didn’t I?

But not all love it blind.  There were a few things that could be improved:

The rear-seat entertainment system was difficult to figure out.  In fact, we had to break down and read through the owner’s manual before we could get it work.  Once we got it working, it was nice, but I feel technology should be intuitive.  You definitely don’t want to be on the road with cranky kids, trying to figure how to get a DVD to play.

The cup holders (yes, I went there) for the rear passengers are located in the door.  I found this very odd and could easily see a drink sloshing around after accidentally slamming the door closed.


I wouldn’t consider either of these as  “deal breakers”; you can easily compensate for them by being prepared and being careful.

Overall, I highly recommend this car.  It’s great looking and had plenty of room for families.  In short, it’s family-friendly but not frumpy.

You’ve heard what I’ve had to say about the all new 2012 Chevy Traverse, I’d love to hear what you have to say.  Thanks to General Motors, Detroit Mommies is giving you a chance to drive this family-friendly crossover SUV for a week!

Win It!

A one week loan of the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse, insurance coverage and your first tank of gas included!

Entry Requirements

Leave a comment below telling us what you look for in a family-friendly vehicle.

The Fine Print

No purchase necessary to enter.  Open to legal resident of Michigan, located within 40 miles of Detroit, must be least 21 years of age with valid driver’s license. Winner will be selected randomly through http://random.org. Detroit Mommies writers and contributors are ineligible to participate. Entries that do not follow all of the entry requirements will not be considered. Detroit Mommies is not responsible products shipped from outside vendors or sponsors.  The contest will close on Monday, October 17, 2011 @ 11:59:59 p.m. EST and winners selected on Tuesday, October 18, 2011. Winners must respond to Detroit Mommies within 24 hours or an alternate winner will be selected.

The 2012 Chevrolet Traverse was given to me to drive for 7 days, courtesy of General Motors.  All opinions here are strictly my own.



Random.org has spoken and the winner is lucky #7! Congratulations, Keki!



  1. says

    This comes at a great time for me because I’m in the market for a new family-friendly vehicle (I currently drive a Saturn Ion – RIP!) and will most likely buy a crossover or van in the next 6 months or so. I love the look of the Traverse, but am curious about the space it has and if it will be enough for our family. Would love to try it for a week – would be a great test-run to see if it will work for our growing family :) BTW – Great post, Christina. I agree – cup holders in the door does seem a little silly 😉

  2. says

    We look for roominess in a family vehicle when it says it seats 7 or 8 that should mean adults too. I have teenage boys that are taller than me and some vehicles just do not work.
    We currently own a Dodge Grand Caravan but have been looking for something else. It would be awesome to try one out for a week to really make sure we like it and it suits our family

  3. Laura Meils says

    Since I may be in the market to purchase a new vehicle this experience would be great. I would love the chance to experience driving a different car for a week . GM is wonderful for thinking of this great idea.

  4. Heathe Adkins says

    When I’m looking for a family-friendly vehicle I mainly look for 3 main points, Is the vehicle roomie, does it get good gas mileage and is it easy to load and unload? And the last thing I look for “Does it look sporty?” and so far from what I have seen the 2012 Chevy Traverse answers yes to all my questions. I would love to be able to test it out for a week and if it works with my family and if it’s a hit then I would buy one.

  5. says

    I’d love a change to drive it for a while before I buy it. I have a hard time driving a car for a 20 minute test drive and then have to make a decision that will last for years. I’d like to find a safe comfortable vehicle that would replace our van. Nice post.

  6. Janice says

    The number one thing I’m looking for in a family friendly vehicle is safety. I have two teens; one a relatively new driver and the other with a learning permit. I want them and me in a vehicle that is easy to handle and good on all road conditions. In addition, I’d prefer a car with good gas mileage, but safety trumps everything.

  7. Keki says

    We’re looking to purchase a new larger vehicle soon and it looks like it may fit our needs. My current car was bought mainly because of the gas mileage. Who knew that my oldest son would have several growths spurts in the last few years? Needless to say, we need a bigger vehicle & it would be nice to see how nicely the Traverse would accommodate our family.

  8. Janice Cooper says

    I look for reliability, dependability and good gas mileage. We desperately need a car and I would love to give this one a try. My mother-in-law retired from GM so my hubby is use to GM cars. I honestly have been eyeing the Traverse. I like the mid-size SUV’s and this one looks really nice.

  9. Matthew says

    I am looking for a vehicle that can balance both our family needs of 2 kids and a dog and have nice style, a good ride and economical.

  10. says

    My family is pretty small (me, my mom, and dad) but it’s still nice to have a roomy car. Cup holders in the backseat are appreciated too, although that’s kind of weird that these are on the door – I agree.

    The Sirius XM radio would be nice to have too, I have never had satellite radio before in any car of mine. :)

  11. Sarah Hirsch says

    I look for plenty of room. and that’s about it because 1-I’m easy to please and 2-I don’t know anything about cars. 😉

  12. Ellen Parker says

    Beautiful car! Most important features are the safety ratings, the gas mileage, and of course comfort. Would love to drive this vehicle.

  13. Julie Jerome says

    I look for safety first and then lots of space. We are actually looking for a larger vehicle so it will be a great experience to try it out.

  14. Julie halash says

    Plenty of leg room in back for growing teens. Large cargo space for sports gear and luggage. Comfortable seats for all passengers.

  15. Dawn says

    I have always been jealous of anyone that has a larger vehicle to pack up friends and family! When we go up north for the weekend we drive my husband’s open bed truck.. strap everything down so it doesn’t fly out on i75..then we pile in the cab and share a seat! I always feel like a hillbilly! Anyway…I love being close to my family but sharing a seat for several hours isn’t the ideal way! It would be awesome to spread out and experience comfort for a week! What a great give away!

  16. Monique Dillard says

    For a family-friendly vehicle, I look for space, safety, and anything that is NOT a minivan! A hot looking ride is icing on the cake!

  17. says

    What i find most important in a family vehicle (i have a 6yr old and a 5yr old with autism), is #1- safety!!! I need to know that my family is protected.
    #2- Space!!! And storage… we cant leave home without so many things…and often return home with twice as much.
    #3- all the rest would be categorized as creature comforts.

  18. says

    I look for a family vehicle that can seat three children comfortably all in booster seats. Four doors and just room to breath since I have two kids in soccer & one in cheerleading we are on the road a lot.

  19. Gwendolyn McPhee says

    I have a large family; therefore, I rarely travel light! Comfort is extremely important to me. I like lots of space so everyone can ride, even long distances, without being cramped.

  20. Jeffrey McLean says

    A family friendly vehicle needs to be roomy, reliable, get good gas milage, and include the modern entertainment and connectivity features, ie, DVD, IPOD, Nav, Bluetooth, etc.

  21. says

    Room for the kids, but also storage room for things we need when traveling or going to the beach & outings, etc. Also decent gas mileage!

  22. Sara F says

    We look for enough seats for everyone (and maybe a friend)! Love the kid-goodies like built in dvd. Hands-free for my phone is a plus. Spaciousness is a big priority.

  23. Lauren says

    Having kids requires a lot of extra room in a car. I look for a trunk
    Big enough to accommodate a stroller. A backseat big enough to comfortably house a carseat and for myself, I like a lot of storage as I’m jn the car a lot and consider it my second home.

  24. Keema says

    I am a new mother of a 4 month old and recently my bonus (step) daughter has moved in with us. We are all living well until we get into our cramped Focus. Who knew that 2 children and 2 adults would be a crowd? 😉 In a family vehicle we look for comfortability,has to be safe, and enough room to bring along anything to keep our children smiling along the ride.


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