|310||Standard Horsepower (HP)||300|
|98.2||Max Cargo Space (cu.ft.)||87.8|
The three-row midsize SUV is an excellent option for families or people who need a bit more room for their active lifestyle. Sitting between the more common compact SUV and the full-size truck-based SUV, the midsize SUV offers plenty of space without sacrificing fuel economy or handling. If you are shopping in this segment, then you have probably thought of comparing the 2020 Chevy Traverse vs 2020 Ford Explorer. These are two of the most popular SUVs currently available and go head to head on features and capability. While the 2020 Ford Edge does have its advantages in some areas, the 2020 Chevy Traverse can be a larger and more powerful vehicle with a lower price tag.
Comparing the engines and drive trains of the 2020 Chevy Traverse vs 2020 Ford Explorer, you will find two very different approaches. Like nearly all crossover SUVs, the 2020 Chevy Traverse is a front-wheel drive platform while the 2020 Ford Explorer is a rear-wheel drive platform. Although both vehicles are available with all-wheel drive, this leads to some differences when in their two-wheel drive configurations. Generally, a front-wheel drive vehicle like the 2020 Chevy Traverse will be more stable in adverse conditions and less prone to fishtailing. A rear-wheel drive vehicle like the 2020 Ford Explorer sacrifices bad weather performance to have a bit more acceleration and towing ability in good conditions. And given the most common use of midsize SUVs, Chevrolet probably made the better choice in building a front-wheel drive platform.
The engines in these two SUVs are also quite different. The 2020 Chevy Traverse uses a sizeable 3.6L V6 with 310 horsepower while the 2020 Ford Explorer starts with a smaller 2.3L turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 300 horsepower. While it is true that the 2020 Ford Explorer has other engine options like the 3.0L engine and the 3.3L hybrid engine, these come at quite a price increase and are not available on some of the lower trims.
Although turbocharged engines, like the one in the Explorer, are generally less responsive and sometimes less reliable, they do offer slightly better fuel economy. When combined with its lower power and smaller size, this means the 2020 Ford Explorer averages up to 24 miles per gallon while the 2020 Chevy Traverse is rated for an average of up to 21 miles per gallon. However, in highway driving, this difference shrinks, with the 2020 Chevy Traverse offering up to 27 miles per gallon while the 2020 Ford Explorer manages up to 28 miles per gallon.
And while the slightly lower fuel consumption of the 2020 Ford Explorer may appear attractive, there is only a $150 difference between the EPA annual fuel cost estimates of the two SUVs. Given that the starting price of the 2020 Chevy Traverse is almost $3,000 lower than that of the 2020 Ford Explorer, this means that it would take approximately 20 years of driving to see the lower fuel consumption of the 2020 Ford Explorer pay off.
One of the first things that you will notice comparing the 2020 Chevy Traverse vs 2020 Ford Explorer is that the Traverse is the larger vehicle. Roughly half a foot longer and a touch wider, the difference is not enough to make the 2020 Chevy Traverse unwieldy, but it does result in a roomier and more versatile interior. How significant is the difference? Let's take a look.
Climbing inside the two midsize SUVs, you will find that the 2020 Chevy Traverse offers a bit more headroom, and its third-row passengers can enjoy over an inch more legroom. These differences may seem small on paper, but you will feel them over a long road trip or when you are stuck in traffic during your daily commute. Total seating for both vehicles is the same, and they can be configured with either a second-row bench seat for a total of eight passengers or second-row captain’s chairs for a total of seven passengers. Unfortunately, if you need seating for eight or simply prefer to seat five in two rows to have a larger cargo area, then both the 2020 Chevy Traverse and the 2020 Ford Explorer will restrict you to their lowest trim levels.
Now, if the difference in passenger volume is a small win for the 2020 Chevy Traverse, comparing the cargo space of the 2020 Chevy Traverse vs 2020 Ford Explorer is a one-sided rout. With all their seats in place, the 2020 Ford Explorer tops out at 18.2 cubic feet of cargo space while the 2020 Chevy Traverse offers 23 cubic feet. That is over a 26% difference in volume when all three rows are occupied and means that while the 2020 Ford Explorer may have just as many seats as the 2020 Chevy Traverse, it may not have enough cargo space for all of the baggage its passengers may wish to carry. Folding down just the third row of seats gives the 2020 Chevy Traverse 57.8 cubic feet while the 2020 Ford Explorer has 47.9 cubic feet. Finally, in their maximum cargo configurations with both of the rear two folded, the 2020 Ford Explorer is limited to 87.8 cubic feet while the 2020 Chevy Traverse enjoys an excellent 98.2 cubic feet of cargo space. And while this maximum cargo configuration may not be used often, an extra dozen cubic feet of volume can definitely come in handy when it is needed.
Because they are both modern vehicles competing in the same market segment, there are few significant details in the features and technology available on the 2020 Chevy Traverse and the 2020 Ford Explorer. Both models offer trims ranging from a basic yet comfortable SUV all the way up to near-luxury vehicles.
In their base configurations, they both come with standard tri-zone automatic climate control, but otherwise offer different selections of features. The 2020 Chevy Traverse L trim boasts standard keyless entry, active noise cancellation, and humidity sensor. The 2020 Ford Explorer base trim goes a different route and offers mechanical upgrades such as standard LED headlights, a power liftgate, and a remote start system. However, the higher trims share more and more features, and the top 2020 Chevy Traverse High Country and 2020 Ford Explorer Platinum have a near-identical set of functions ranging from heated front and second-row seats, a hands-free power liftgate, and a dual-pane power sunroof.
Although both the 2020 Chevy Traverse and 2020 Ford Explorer offer the full range of modern advanced driver assist systems as options, neither SUV comes standard with anything more than automatic headlights on their lower trims. Still, when fully equipped, they are both extremely safe vehicles with automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, side blind-zone and rear cross-traffic alert, rear park assist, and adaptive cruise control. The 2020 Chevy Traverse does come out ahead in the comparison of safety features, however, as it also offers HD surround vision and a following distance indicator. These two pieces of technology can be quite valuable in maneuvering the vehicle through narrow parking lots and in maintaining safe distance on the road.
The infotainment systems available on these two SUVs are also fairly similar. Both are touch-screen based with secondary hard button controls on the dashboard and steering wheel. A phone can be synched through either Bluetooth or USB, and the system is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Although these smartphone apps offer highly functional navigation systems of their own, both the 2020 Chevy Traverse and 2020 Ford Explorer also offer built-in navigation systems on their higher trims. But despite these software similarities, the 2020 Ford Explorer does have an infotainment hardware advantage. In their base configurations, the 2020 Chevy Traverse comes with a 7” touch screen and 6-speaker audio system while the 2020 Ford Explorer has an 8” touch screen and the same number of speakers. A 1” screen size difference is not huge, and the higher trims of the 2020 Chevy Traverse also come with an 8” screen as well as the upgrade to a 10-speaker Bose sound system. However, the top infotainment configuration for the 2020 Ford Explorer consists of a 10.1” vertical touch screen and no fewer than 14 speakers from Bang & Olufsen. While the Ford's setup is fantastic for a non-luxury manufacturer, it is a pricy extra option. All in all, when comparing price and technology levels, you get what you pay for in both the Traverse and the Ford.