|310||Base Horsepower (hp)||300|
|98.2||Cargo Space (cu.ft.)||87.8|
Family-friendly SUVs are that perfect middle ground between buying a van and buying a car. You’ve got the passenger and cargo space of a van, with the nice aesthetic appeal that comes with sedans. But there are many SUVs on the market, and many of them are dedicated to specialized purposes like off-roading. This can make buying a reliable family SUV a bit overwhelming. After all, you’re not looking to head off-road or go mudding every weekend. So, how do you know which SUV is best for family commuters? One major choice lies between the 2021 Chevy Traverse vs 2021 Ford Explorer, two SUVs that offer third-row seating and impressive cargo space.
This battle is intense, as both models offer similar features. They’re both designed for multiple passengers and plenty of cargo space. However, when you take a closer look, there are some important discrepancies that make one model better than the other. Today, we’re excited to tell you all about the 2021 Chevy Traverse vs 2021 Ford Explorer faceoff.
The interior is very important when you’re looking for a family commuter because comfort and convenience are a must. The seating options and passenger space, cargo space, and interior materials make all the difference for large families. Both models include seating for three rows of passengers, but there are some important differences between the two. Let’s take a closer look at each model’s interior to see who comes out on top.
First off, the 2021 Chevy Traverse includes Smart Slide seating so that accessibility is never an issue. Most importantly, though, it offers the best cargo space in its class, landing at 98.2 cubic feet when the seats are down. The seats are also easy to maneuver, with available third-row power-folding seats and standard split-folding seating. You’ll also get tons of hidden cargo storage with this model, including a rear cargo floor and a secret department hidden behind your infotainment center. Further, you’ll get both cloth and leather seating options, with available heated leather seating depending on your trim choice.
While the 2021 Ford Explorer includes three rows of seats, it can only seat seven passengers max, while the 2021 Chevy Traverse can seat up to eight. While a Traverse with the optional second-row captain’s chairs only has seating for seven, an Explorer with second-row captain’s chairs can fit just six passengers. The Explorer is also limited to 87.8 cubic feet of cargo space, and you will find just 18.2 cubic feet behind the third row. Like most vehicles, it does include a center console for cargo and other small storage options, but it has no rear cargo floor or hidden compartment behind the entertainment screen like the Traverse offers.
While both models offer three rows of seats, the Traverse wins by a landslide. With an extra seat, additional cargo space, and more storage options, Chevy’s midsize SUV is hands-down the better family vehicle.
Part of owning a family-friendly SUV means having power. While you don’t want a hot rod, you do want a model that can take bad weather in stride and tow with ease. Whether you’re hauling a fishing boat, a camper, or an ATV-loaded trailer, you need towing capacity to get your family where you’re going. Let’s look at each model’s performance specs to see which one offers the greatest performance value.
Right off the bat, we can see that the Traverse offers more standard horsepower than the Explorer, landing at 310 horsepower vs the Explorer's base 300 horsepower. That extra power is the result of a reliable 3.6-liter V6 engine paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. If you opt for the available trailering equipment package, the Traverse is even capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds. This is made easier with a driver-selectable Tow/Haul mode to heighten the SUV’s towing performance. Whether you’re pulling a pop-up camper or a fishing boat, you’re safe and secure in the Traverse. Despite its power, the Traverse can still get up to 27 miles per gallon on the highway and 18 miles per gallon in the city, making long-distance travel a breeze.
The 2021 Ford Explorer’s standard engine is a much smaller 2.3L four-cylinder. While the turbocharged EcoBoost design allows it to produce a remarkable 300 horsepower, it is a far more complex design than the rugged Chevy V6., and even with its turbocharger, the Ford engine still has less horsepower. More powerful engine options are available for the Explorer, but only if you opt for the highest trims. That means you will have to shell out close to $50,000 to get a more capable powertrain in your 2021 Explorer.
It’s easy to see here that the Traverse comes out ahead. With a standard V6 engine that you can count on for the long run, plus more power at a lower price, Chevy’s midsize SUV is a real bargain. While it may not be the fastest SUV on the streets, the Traverse is more than capable of getting the job done, and its solid standard power plant means you can spend your money upgrading other parts of the vehicle.
While performance and convenience outweigh everything in the world of car shopping, looks still matter. You can still look cool while driving a parent mobile. We’re going to look at the 2021 Chevy Traverse vs the 2021 Ford Explorer’s exterior specs to see who has the most stylish and convenient exterior title.
The Traverse is stylish on its own, but truthfully, its high trims and special edition are what makes it so visually appealing. When you buy a 2021 Chevy Traverse, you can choose from the RS trim, the Redline Edition, and the High Country top-tier trim. The RS trim takes a sporty approach to the model, including black accents and wheels. You’ll get black window trim, black roof rails, a black grille, and even black bowtie emblems located on the Traverse’s exterior.
The Redline Edition carries a black and red theme, with 20-inch black and red wheels, darker tail lights, a black grille, black low body moldings, black and red badging, and much more. Lastly, the High Country trim provides a fancier appeal with leather seating, 20-inch chrome wheels, and a dual-pane power sunroof. For further convenience, you’ll also gain access to a hands-free power liftgate on the High Country trim. Even if you don’t opt for a special edition stylish option or a more expensive high-tier trim, you’ll get to choose from eight different exterior color options and multiple different wheels.
The 2021 Explorer comes with a unique trim called the Timberline. It adds a blacked-out exterior with red styling elements for a more aggressive look. Otherwise, all Explorer trims include body lines that help with aesthetic appeal and mileage. Like the Traverse, the Explorer has a total of seven trims to choose from, but with just seven exterior color options and fewer styling packages, you have fewer options to customize your Explorer to suit your taste.
While both models are aesthetically pleasing, the 2021 Chevy Traverse wins this battle by far. It offers multiple special editions that are centered on exterior customization, a place where the Ford Explorer falls behind. The Traverse also offers more affordable packages, with the sporty Traverse RS trim starting at over $3,000 less than Explorer Timberline.