The strengths of the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse lie in its roomy, comfortable interior. It's almost a minivan in terms of raw space, but the lack of sliding doors does put it at a slight disadvantage in a couple of ways.
While the Traverse's primary purpose is people-moving, some smart design and engineering show when you fold the seats down—producing a nice, nearly flat cargo floor. Even behind the third-row seat, there's 24.4 cubic feet of space, while folding the second and third rows down yields 117.5 cubic feet. The floor is flat, which makes it especially useful; though it is a bit surprising how high the floor is, making loading a bit harder than for minivans.
Over three rows, there's space for up to eight occupants, with the seats divided into two front buckets and two 60/40-split benches. The Traverse's front seats are plush yet supportive, and the adult-sized second row slides forward to provide access to the surprisingly comfortable (for kids) third-row seats. However, it does take a high step up to enter that back row. Second-row captain's chairs are also available, but they're really not any more comfortable than the bench perches and carrying capacity is then reduced to seven. In all, you might end up wishing for sliding side doors; it's not easy to clamber in there even with the friendly seating arrangement and long rear doors.
Otherwise, the Traverse has a tight, quiet cabin with excellent noise suppression and a remarkably smooth ride. Solid, high-quality switchgear, an intuitive control layout, and clear displays complete this very family-friendly package. The only letdown is that plastics tend to be somewhat dull, with Build quality and switchgear in the 2011 Traverse is superb and equal to or better than most rival imports. Gauges are easy to see, and controls are easy to use. Splashes of chrome brighten things up, and the only disappointment is the plethora of hard, dull plastic used throughout the interior.