2012 Chevy Traverse LTZ Not Too Big, Not Too Small>

With gas prices hovering near four bucks a gallon, a lot of full-size SUV owners have been downsizing their rides. But let’s face it ladies and gentlemen; for an active family with two or three teenage kids, it can be hard to give up all the legroom and cargo space of a Chevy Suburban or Tahoe.

Based on Her Highway’s recent test drive, we believe the 2012 Chevy Traverse LTZ is as capable of replacing a full-sized SUV as any of the mid-sized crossovers on the market. It’s not too big, not too small. Plus the new LTZ comes with a robust 3.6-liter V6 engine that cranks out 280 horsepower and can tow up to 5200 lbs. Remarkably, it won’t drain your wallet at the gas pumps. The LTZ gets an estimated 16-17 mpg in city driving and a respectable 23- 24-mpg on the highway.

And while the new Traverse LTZ can seat up to eight passengers, it can easily be configured to carry some serious cargo. Drop the full-sized third row of seats and gain access to over 68 cubic feet of storage capacity; drop the third and second rows — for those trip to Lowe’s or Home Depot — and the Traverse provides 116 cubes for your tools, toys, big box electronics or a major haul from Macy’s.

New for 2012, the Traverse LTZ gets standard heated, power-adjustable, and power-folding body-color exterior mirrors. Plus the driver’s side mirror is auto-dimming. Optional features include navigation, a power lift gate, a rearview camera, a rocking Bose stereo, and satellite navigation. You may also choose to accessorize your new Traverse LTZ with sporty eighteen- or twenty-inch wheels or even chrome dual-exhaust pipes.

In addition to the OnStar system that’s capable of alerting first responders when onboard vehicle sensors detect that an accident has occurred, Traverse LTZ has solid, standard safety features: Front, side, and side curtain air bags are standard, as are ABS, traction and stability control, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

Combine seating for eight with massive cargo capabilities and above average fuel economy and the 2012 Traverse LTZ becomes a great choice for replacing those big dog SUVs. Click here for full details on pricing, trim levels and dealer availability.

Written by: HerHighway Staff Contributor and Editor Christina Selter