From large families to busy professionals and hobbyists, large three-row SUVs offer all the room necessary for a fun and active life. The Ford Explorer and the Chevy Traverse are two of the most popular family and recreational SUVs. The Explorer has seating for seven, and the Traverse can transport up to eight passengers.

Each vehicle has several amenities that can please the most discerning travelers. Still, which car is right for your family or needs? To determine a winner in the Ford Explorer vs. the Chevy Traverse debate, it is essential to compare each vehicle, from engine options to reliability.

Ford Explorer Vs. Chevy Traverse: The Comparables

The Ford Explorer and the Chevy Traverse have modern exterior designs that suit city and suburban life. While the Explorer takes on a more athletic style with sharp body lines and a sculpted body, the Traverse is more conservative, with a wider grill and sweeping lines. Both cabins are luxurious and practical, offering plenty of seating and legroom.

Either model would make an excellent family car. Still, only one can be the winner for your family. Specs, including costs, features, fuel economy, and safety ratings, will probably determine your purchase decision.

Price

Price plays a pivotal role in car buying decisions. The price points between the Ford Explorer and the Chevy Traverse are similar. The price range for a 2023 Explorer is $38,355 to $57,415, based on the model and options. A base model with limited features is at the lowest end of the spectrum, while the King Ranch model, with all the bells and whistles, is at the highest.

The price range for a 2023 Traverse is between $35,915 and $53,395, depending on the model and options. An LS is the most affordable model, and the High Country is the most expensive. While close, in the Ford Explorer vs. the Chevy Traverse contest, Chevy wins with a more affordable model.

Performance

Chevy Traverse.

Many buyers prioritize performance, especially when purchasing an SUV. The Ford Explorer offers various engine options, providing a significant advantage over the Chevy Traverse, which only offers one, the 3.6-liter V6 engine with 310 horsepower. People who buy an Explorer can purchase the base, XLT, or limited models with a 300-horsepower 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, or they can up the ante with an ST, Platinum, or King Ranch model with a 400-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.0 liter V6 engine.

While you cannot deny the power options of the Ford Explorer, all-wheel drive is not standard but an option. The Chevy Traverse maintains standard all-wheel drive. Whether AWD is a deal-breaker for you depends on where you live and the conditions you drive.

Fuel Economy

With high gas prices, fuel economy is essential to most vehicle owners, especially those who travel a lot or have longer commutes. The Chevy Traverse has excellent fuel economy, achieving 18 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined.

The Explorer varies between models, with fuel economy depending on engine size and options. For example, a 2.3-liter engine with front-wheel drive gets about 24 mpg combined, but a 3.5-liter V6 all-wheel drive gets about 19 mpg.

In the Ford Explorer versus the Chevy Traverse contest, both vehicles have a decent fuel economy. That said, depending on the model, the Traverse offers a bit of an edge over the Explorer.

Storage

Both SUVs are large. The Chevy Traverse has room for eight, with the third row erect. It also has 23 cubic feet of storage in the cargo space behind the third row. With the third row folded down, drivers can increase the cargo space to 57.8 cubic feet. If you want to maximize your storage space, you can fold down the second row for a whopping 98.2 cubic feet.

The Ford Explorer is comparable to the Traverse, but with one drawback: it has seating for seven. The Explorer has 18.2 cubic feet of cargo space with the third row erect. If you fold down the third row, the cargo space increases to 47.9 cubic feet. Finally, to maximize the storage, fold down the second and third rows for 87.8 cubic feet.

Reliability and Maintenance

Ford Explorer vs Chevy Traverse maintenance.

Regarding the Ford Explorer versus the Chevy Traverse, there are likely only two metrics most people care about: reliability and maintenance. People want to know that when they buy a car, it will last for the long haul.

According to RepairPal.com, the reliability rating for a Chevy Traverse is 3 out of 5, which is about average for midsize SUVs. Also, repair costs balance out to $656 annually, which is slightly above mid-range for SUVs. Unfortunately, when problems occur with the vehicle, they are more likely to be severe than with other models.

RepairPal.com gives the Ford Explorer a 3.5 out of 5 stars, which is above average for midsize SUVs. That said, average annual repair costs are a little higher than with the Traverse, at $732. Still, major repairs are uncommon with the Explorer. Also, the frequency of problems is low.

Both vehicles offer fair value for the money, but an Explorer is likely better suited for long-term ownership. While a Traverse has an expected lifespan of 200,000 miles, the Explorer can last up to 300,000 miles with proper care and upkeep.

Ford Explorer Vs. Chevy Traverse: The Best Choice

Midsize to large SUVs are ideal for large families or individuals in need of storage. The Ford Explorer and Chevy Traverse are both capable and reliable vehicles, each offering power and comfort with fair gas mileage. Still, which option is best for you? The answer likely depends on how long you intend to keep the vehicle. If you’re looking to get a couple of good years out of it, a Traverse is less expensive and larger than the Explorer. However, if you want something to last several years or more, an Explorer poses less of a risk in terms of maintenance and repair needs.

Whichever side you end up on in the Ford Explorer versus the Chevy Traverse debate, you will still need protection for your new vehicle. A vehicle protection plan from Autopom! can cover mechanical and electrical breakdowns beyond your regular vehicle warranty. Check out our plans for more information.

By Mike Jones, President & CEO of autopom! Insurance Services, llc