2020 Ford Explorer vs 2020 Chevy Traverse – Cincinnati, OH

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  • 2020 Ford Explorer

    A black 2020 Ford Explorer is facing left.

    Starting at

    $36,675

    2020 Chevy Traverse

    A black 2020 Chevy Traverse is facing right.

    Starting at

    $29,800

    300 - 400 HPHorsepower310 HP
    310 - 415 LB-FTTorque266 LB-FT
    5,600 LBSTowing Capacity5,000 LBS

    What do you want in your next vehicle? Do you want the handling of a sedan but the safety features of an SUV? Perhaps you'd like something a bit larger than a car, but you don't want to go all the way to the Expedition. In that instance, you will want to check out the mid-size crossover category. It's a pretty packed category, so you'll have more than your share of choices. Choice is a good thing, but it also means you will need to put in extra effort to compare the varying models and what each brings to the table. Two of the better selling mid-size crossover SUVs include the Ford Explorer and the Chevy Traverse. But you'll need to eliminate one from your list before you decide which is the right crossover for you. To help, let's take a deeper look at the 2020 Ford Explorer vs 2020 Chevy Traverse.

    Before diving into the performance specs, let's take a quick look at the price comparison between the Ford Explorer and the Chevy Traverse. When you opt for the entry trim Ford Explorer with rear-wheel drive, the starting MSRP is $36,675. On the flip side, the base MSRP for the 2020 Chevy Traverse is $29,800. So, as you can see, there is nearly a $7,000 difference between the base vehicles. We'll need to dig a bit deeper into the comparison to see what gives the Ford Explorer it's value. 

    When moving to the top of the line trims, you'll be comparing the Ford Explorer Platinum and the Chevy Traverse High Country. The Platinum comes with four-wheel-drive and has a starting MSRP of $58,535. The High Country Chevy Traverse is an all-wheel drive and has a starting MSRP of $50,900. So for the top packages, the price difference gets a bit wider. Again, we'll need to compare head to head performance specs to see what makes the Ford Explorer worth the added cost.

  • Performance

    A silver 2020 Ford Explorer, which wins when comparing the 2020 Ford Explorer vs 2020 Chevy Traverse, is backing a large boat into a lake near Cincinnati, OH.

    So the 2020 Chevy Traverse has a lower starting MSRP than the Ford Explorer, but the engine performance will help identify how the Ford Explorer is worth a little more. 

     The 2020 Ford Explorer comes with two engine options (three if you include the hybrid engine). There is the entry 2.3L EcoBoost I4 engine and the 3.0L EcoBoost V6 engine; the hybrid is a 3.3L engine. The standard 2.3L I4 engine is pretty powerful, getting up to 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. 

    If you are looking for extraordinary power under the hood of your next SUV, the Chevy Traverse will not be your best choice. The 2020 Chevy Traverse has just one engine option leaving no room for customization and it lacks a hybrid option. The engine is a 3.6L V6, which produces 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. 

    This means even if you sprang for the Chevy High Country trim, you'll end up with an engine that underperforms what the base Ford Explorer offers (while the 10 horsepower difference is negligible the 44 lb-ft of torque is not). If you decided to go with the 3.0L V6 engine on the Ford Explorer, you'll end up with an engine that produces 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. That's a serious difference and is worth paying for. 

    With the more powerful engines, how does the fuel economy stack up? Maybe you're more interested in saving money at the pump then you are with the horsepower and torque numbers. Well, in this case, the Ford Explorer wins at both the engine performance and fuel economy. With the 2020 Ford Explorer using the 2.3L EcoBoost I4 engine you can get an estimated 27 miles per gallon in the city and 29 miles per gallon on the highway. For a vehicle this size, those numbers are rather impressive. And the Chevy Traverse? It gets up to an estimated 18 miles per gallon in the city and 27 miles per gallon on the highway. When one vehicle averages 28 miles per gallon driving and the other around 22, that is a pretty big difference, especially when it uses a less powerful engine.

    The price savings alone will eventually even out what you paid when buying the Explorer. In the long run, you'll end up with more SUV for your dollar.

  • Cargo

    The liftgate of a 2020 Ford Explorer is open while the trunk is full of camping gear is shown.

    The 2020 Ford Explorer has a more powerful engine with better performance numbers. So, the Explorer is going to perform well with its towing numbers. The Ford Explorer can tow 5,600 pounds with the 3.0L EcoBoost V6 engine in 4WD, it's 2.3L I4 in RWD, and 4WD engine can tow up to 5,300 pounds, and the hybrid can tow up to 5,000 pounds. The Traverse, on the other hand, can only match the hybrid engine with a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds.

  • Entertainment Features

    A close up of the infotainment system inside the 2020 Ford Explorer is shown.

    The entertainment features you'll end up with heavily depends on which trim you go with. Each trim adds new tweaks and features, so to find exactly the right Explorer or Traverse, you'll want to compare individual packages. 

    With the base 2020 Ford Explorer, it comes with AM/FM stereo, AUX input (via 3.5mm headphone jack), satellite radio, smart device integration through Bluetooth, and an optional WiFi hotspot. WiFi does come standard, which is something not all brands out there can say. There are a number of vehicle manufacturers who still do not offer WiFi at all. If you have kids or drive a lot for work you absolutely need this feature. If you find yourself on a long commute with the kids on a regular basis, allowing them to connect a tablet to WiFi to watch their favorite shows is a great option. It also helps when you need to make last-minute adjustments to your presentation and send it over to the team back in the office instead of having to stop somewhere to connect to WiFi. 

     The base Chevy Traverse comes with the exact same features (minus the satellite radio), so in this category, both the Explorer and the Traverse lead the way in entertainment features found on base crossover SUVs. Trust us when we say not many manufacturers give these kinds of features on the base trims.

     When moving up to the Explorer Platinum and the Traverse High Country, there are some added features as well. The Ford takes advantage of its industry-leading Ford SYNC infotainment system. This system offers everything you receive with the base trim and adds on HD radio. You can also spring for an upgraded premium sound system and entertainment system. With the entertainment system, you won't need to bring the kid's tablets in the car. With Ford SYNC, you can also pair your mobile device via Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. This way, you can easily access your favorite music streaming apps and all your playlists. 

    With the Chevy Traverse, it also adds in satellite radio (which the base package did not include), plus an optional premium sound system and entertainment system. You can pair your mobile device to the Chevy entertainment system via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, although the Traverse does not come with HD radio. If you listen to the radio at all, HD radio does make a bit difference. It will come in crystal clear as if you're listening to it in person.

    Both Chevy and Ford offer three-month preview subscriptions to SiriusXM satellite radio with the purchase of a vehicle. This way, you can listen to your favorite station during your drive.

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