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2012 Chevrolet Traverse Performance

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Performance throughout the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse lineup is quick and competent; don't expect agility, though, as at no time does it not drive like the surprisingly hefty vehicle it is.

There's only one drivetrain offered, a direct-injection 3.6-liter V-6 engine coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. The 288-horsepower six (281 hp in models with a single exhaust) generates leisurely acceleration and a bit of V-6 grumble at the top of its powerband, but it doesn't really feel anemic unless you've taken on a full load of passengers and chosen the optional all-wheel drive. With 90 percent of peak torque available from approximately 2,500 rpm to more than 6,000 rpm, there's enough punch to adequately move the Chevy's not inconsequential weight of nearly 5,000 pounds.

Chevy's six-speed automatic dithers sometimes when downshifts are requested, and upshifts can be lumpy on light acceleration; it's a bit less on the mark than the Ford transmission that was co-developed alongside it.

The 2012 Traverse is no letdown in performance--provided you're expecting a big, heavy family wagon.

The Traverse's handling, simply put, isn't nimble. It's just the predictable norm for its size, with mild steering feedback and moderate body roll when it's pressed to act more like a sport wagon. With a four-wheel independent suspension and crisp hydraulic-assist steering, control is good for a vehicle of this size and weight—especially when equipped with the range-topping LTZ's optional 20-inch wheel and suspension package, with which Chevrolet's engineers manage to hit a sweet spot between secure handling and comfort. You'll never forget you're driving such a heavy vehicle, but body roll isn't too excessive and brakes are strong.

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