2021 Ford Explorer vs 2021 Chevy Traverse

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  • 2021 Ford Explorer

    A dark blue 2021 Ford Explorer is angled left.

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    2021 Chevy Traverse

    A silver 2021 Chevy Traverse is angled right.

    Starting at


    400Max Horsepower (hp)310
    415Max Torque (lb-ft)266
    5,600Max Towing (lbs)5,000

    Choosing the right vehicle, no matter what segment you are interested in, is really about finding one that best meets all of your needs. That might seem simple, but too often, you end up having to make compromises where you skip on performance in the name of fuel economy or miss out on great tech features because you are concerned about safety. Fortunately, the Ford Explorer really represents the total package when you are looking for a midsize SUV; all you have to do is look at the 2021 Ford Explorer vs 2021 Chevy Traverse to see exactly what we mean.

    For starters, the Traverse has a single engine available with no other options; while it can compete fairly well with the Ford Explorer's standard engine, as soon as you look at the other options for the Explorer, the Traverse gets left far behind. The engines on the Ford Explorer offer far more power and greater performance, which can give you superior towing capacity if you are interested in that. Even better, the fuel economy with the Explorer is better than the Traverse, even when you look at standard gas engines. With the available hybrid engine, the Explorer completely blows its competitor away.

    Inside both of these midsize SUVs, you can find a terrific selection of both comfort and sophisticated technology that makes your drive easier. But as you start to compare what they have to offer, once again, the 2021 Ford Explorer comes out on top with better standard features, more impressive options across the available trims, and superior tech features compared to the best that the Chevy Traverse has to offer. From larger standard and available driver and infotainment displays to superior sound systems to more adjustable and comfortable seating, the Explorer comes out on top time and again. To find out more about all of the great features in the Ford Explorer, come visit us at Kings Ford.

  • Performance

    A blue 2021 Ford Explorer is towing an Airstream past pine trees.

    It almost seems unfair to compare the engines between the 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Chevy Traverse because the Ford engines are just so much better. That being said, the engine in your midsize SUV is very important, so it would be irresponsible not to look at them. Just remember that we warned you: the Ford is going to come out on top.

    Chevy's Single Option

    There is a single engine available for the Chevy Traverse, so let us start there. It is a 3.6L V6 engine that offers 310 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque and comes paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. In fairness, that is a fine engine, but you will see that it simply comes up short compared to the Ford Explorer.

    Ford's Four Options

    You have four engines available with the Explorer, so that is already a mark in its favor. The standard engine is a 2.3L EcoBoost I-4 that provides 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. You can see that the horsepower is pretty similar, but the Ford engine gives you a lot more torque. For more power, there is also an available 3.0L EcoBoost V6 engine that gives you 365 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, which the Traverse cannot come close to matching.

    A hybrid V6 engine offers 318 hp and 322 lb-ft of torque, giving you more power and far superior fuel economy. If you really want unbeatable performance, however, then consider the ST trim for the Explorer, which features an engine tuned by the Ford Performance team: a 3.0L EcoBoost V6 that delivers 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. This kind of power in a midsize SUV is truly exceptional, plus all four engines come with a 10-speed automatic transmission that is simply the icing on the cake of Ford dominance.


    For a long time, midsize SUVs were generally considered to be gas guzzlers, but over the last couple of decades, there has been a concerted effort to improve their fuel economy. The Chevy Traverse, for example, gets an estimated 18 MPG in the city, 27 MPG on the highway, and 21 MPG combined fuel efficiency. That is pretty good, but it cannot match the Ford Explorer, especially if you consider the Explorer's hybrid option.

    The standard engine for the Explorer gets an estimated 21 MPG in the city, 28 MPG on the highway, and 24 MPG combined fuel economy with rear-wheel drive. You can already see that the Explorer comes out on top just with the standard engine, which gives you more torque plus superior fuel economy. Even the incredibly powerful 3.0L EcoBoost V6 engine available on the Explorer comes pretty close with an estimated 18 MPG in the city, 24 MPG on the highway, and 20 MPG combined.

    Hybrid Efficiency

    Of course, if fuel efficiency is your primary concern, then you should consider the Ford Explorer's available hybrid engine. This 3.3L V6 Hybrid is available with either four-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive. With four-wheel drive, you get an estimated 23 MPG in the city, 26 MPG on the highway, and 25 MPG combined. For the best available fuel economy, the Hybrid with rear-wheel drive gives you an estimated 27 MPG in the city, 28 MPG on the highway, and 27 MPG combined in a midsize SUV.

  • Interior

    The interior of a 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline is shown.

    Since most of your time with your vehicle is going to be spent inside of it, you always want to look at interior features to see what is offered – remember to consider both standard and available options. The 2021 Chevy Traverse comes with a 7-inch infotainment display standard, along with a 3.5-inch digital driver display. It comes with a second-row bench seat for up to three people, along with standard front bucket seats and a basic sound system. The highest trim for the Traverse, the High Country, features an 8-inch infotainment display with a Bose 10-speaker sound system and a 4.2-inch digital driver display. An 8-way power driver's seat, 6-way power front passenger seat, and wireless charging pad are also offered on the High Country.

    The High-Tech Option

    Starting features for the Ford Explore are better across the board: you get an 8-inch infotainment display standard, along with a 4-inch digital driver display. Other standard features include an 8-way power driver's seat and 4-way manual front-passenger seat, along with a 6-speaker sound system. Looking at the available options, most Explorer trims feature a 6-inch digital driver display, 12-speaker B&O sound system, heated 10-way power driver's seat, and 8-way power front-passenger seat. The highest trim, the Platinum, gives you a 12-inch digital instrument cluster, with an available 10.1-inch infotainment display and a 14-speaker B&O sound system.

  • Safety

    A white 2021 Ford Explorer is driving on a city street after winning the 2021 Ford Explorer vs 2021 Chevy Traverse comparison.

    Although you should also look at other features for a vehicle you are interested in, nothing is more important than how well it can keep you safe. Both standard and available options are useful, but we often focus on what comes standard. This gives you a sense of just how important your safety is to the manufacturer, regardless of how much you spend.

    Chevy Safety Features

    In terms of standard safety features, the 2021 Chevy Traverse does not have a lot to offer. It comes with electronic stability control, LED daytime running lights, and a comprehensive airbag system. A rear vision camera is standard, as you would expect, along with a tire pressure monitoring system. Other features like an HD rear camera, automatic emergency braking, and blind zone alert are only offered on higher trims.

    Ford Safety Features

    Standard safety features for the 2021 Ford Explorer are far superior and include a rear view camera, auto high-beam headlamps, and hill start assist. What really sets it apart is the Ford Co-Pilot360 package that comes standard on every model and includes pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, a blind spot information system with a cross-traffic alert, and a lane-keeping system. Other safety systems like adaptive cruise control, lane-centering, and evasive steering assist are standard on most of the Explorer's trims. We love seeing how many impressive safety systems come standard on the Explorer, and Chevy simply falls short.

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