|98.2||Cargo Space (cu.ft.)||87.8|
If you're sifting through the virtually endless assortment of midsize SUVs to find your family's perfect match, consider the 2022 Chevy Traverse vs 2022 Ford Explorer. The Chevy vs Ford story spans multiple segments and model years, with the two American automakers battling it out for market share. Some say you can't go wrong with either the Traverse or the Explorer, but we say one is the clear winner.
Families have a unique set of requirements for their vehicles. Sometimes it seems like they load up more gear and cover more miles than long-haul truckers. From the carpool line to the soccer field, keeping everyone on time and organized takes a team player with lots of convenience features specifically designed for the kid-rearing stage of life. Any busy parent will tell you that not just any vehicle will do.
The Traverse features a plethora of useful technology and class-leading specifications, including the most cargo capacity in the segment. Unfortunately, the Ford Explorer just can't compete in that area. This will become a common theme as we did deep into each SUV's spec sheet. Our goal? Find the one with the most checks in the "best of" box, and discover which of these two popular models offers the best overall value.
Small differences add up to big advantages (or disadvantages), which is why a deep dive is necessary before you pull the trigger and invest your hard-earned dollars. From the simple, such as comparing cargo capacity, to the more complex, including engine output, interior dimensions, and trim lineup logic, leaving no stone unturned is the best way to ensure you end up with the perfect SUV for your lifestyle and budget. It's easy to end up with an SUV that doesn't quite match your lifestyle, so buyer beware.
What's on the minds of buyers looking for a family-friendly SUV with three rows of seats? Without question, the first consideration is passenger and cargo capacity. Ask any battle-scarred parent who's consoled the last row loser of a multi-round game of rock-paper-scissors, and they'll tell you––space is king. Case in point: the 2022 Chevy Traverse offers more third-row legroom, shoulder room, and hip room than the 2022 Ford Explorer.
Let's look at the specifics. The Traverse offers 33.48 inches of legroom, 57.5 inches of shoulder room, and 48.5 inches of hip room in the third row. The Explorer comes in at 32.2 inches, 54.6 inches, and 40.9 inches, respectively. As for cargo volume, the Traverse's best-in-class 98.2 cubic feet handily beats the Explorer's 87.8 cubic feet. Space behind the third row nets the same result, with the Explorer offering 18.2 cubic feet and the Traverse measuring a much larger 23 cubic feet. That's a lot of numbers to track, but to summarize, the Traverse is roomier for passengers and cargo.
All Traverse trims receive standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, which is good news for parents with kids who are active on Spotify. Nothing increases carpool tensions more than stretching the USB cord to the back seat mixmaster while you're trying to drive. Instead, kids can easily connect their smartphones to the vehicle's audio system, thus averting both a pulled muscle from leaning back and a potential audio calamity.
The Explorer isn't as kind to pint-sized maestros. Unfortunately, you'll have to move up to a very expensive trim to find a similarly equipped Explorer. Also, we have to point out a glaring difference that might end the debate early: the Traverse offers seating for up to eight passengers, while the Ford Explorer tops off at a maximum of only seven passengers. It's a fundamental difference that no trim or equipment package can overcome. And if you only need seven seats, the Traverse will let your passengers ride in greater comfort with its optional second-row captain's chairs.
The 2022 Chevy Traverse's LS trim anchors the six-model lineup, and it features a standard 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 310 horsepower. Inside, the driver will find a Driver Mode Selector that toggles between four different drive modes so that you can confidently navigate inclement weather and other changing road conditions. Chevy's legendary StabiliTrak electronic stability control system is also standard and includes traction control.
The 2022 Ford Explorer's base trim comes with a smaller and less powerful four-cylinder engine that delivers 300 horsepower. While the Traverse has front-wheel drive, the Explorer comes standard with rear-wheel drive, a platform that's notorious for being more difficult to control in poor conditions. Car and Driver calls the Explorer "far from entertaining" and puts the Traverse "on the quicker end of its class." While these are family vehicles, not sports cars, the Traverse is more than capable of keeping up on the highway.
In addition to its less satisfying design, the Explorer is far less family friendly, thanks to a lack of third-row wiggle room and the absence of wireless smartphone connectivity. Both the Traverse and the Explorer base models feature an available 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot to keep the kids connected, but only the Traverse has the added convenience of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a premium feature that parents will thoroughly appreciate.
As for safety, you'll only find the innovative Teen Driver feature on the 2022 Chevy Traverse. The system helps parents with the difficult task of teaching safe driving habits to young drivers. It features Buckle to Drive, which mutes the audio until both front seat occupants have fastened their seat belts. Parents can dial in speed, audio, and boundary limitations and receive alerts if young drivers exceed them.
Packing the car for a road trip gets a whole lot easier when you have more cargo space to work with, and you will if you choose a 2022 Chevy Traverse. Kids require a lot of gear, so you'll scramble to fit it all in the Explorer. While you could try telling junior they can't bring the gaming console to your weekend Airbnb, if you buy a Traverse, that conversation won't need to happen. Extra space for passengers and cargo comes standard.
As for safety, you'll get more standard driver-assist safety systems on the Traverse. Chevy Safety Assist is included across the trim range, featuring Automatic Emergency Braking and Front Pedestrian Braking for help right when you need it. Forward Collision Alert sends an audible warning when a potential crash is imminent, while the Following Distance Indicator is customizable and keeps track of the distance between your vehicle and the one ahead.
Chevy Safety Assist also includes Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, a system that helps drivers avoid the dreaded drift, when inattention causes you to travel too close to the edge of your lane. When it senses you drifting, it sends an alert and nudges the steering to get you back on track. Finally, automatic high beams, called IntelliBeam, are also included in the Traverse's impressive list of standard driver-assist features.
Ford Co-Pilot 360 is included in all 2022 Ford Explorer trims, but it doesn't contain the same quantity of features found in the Chevy Safety Assist suite. You'll get standard automatic high beams and Lane-Keeping System, which works similarly to Chevy's Lane Keep and Lane Departure system. Also included is Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Braking. However, you won't get a system to measure the traveling distance between you and the vehicle ahead.