|5,300||Towing Capacity (lbs)||5,000|
|20/28||Fuel Economy (city/hwy mpg)||18/27|
A good third-row SUV offers space, cargo capacity, tow capability, and entertainment. When you look at different options, you’ll notice that each brand offers a balance of these features, but some combinations are better than others. The competition is tight when you consider two exceptional models like the 2022 Ford Explorer vs 2022 Chevy Traverse—two fierce competitors in the three-row SUV market. However, upon further inspection, you’ll notice that the Explorer offers more for its price.
Don’t get us wrong; the Traverse is a capable three-row SUV, even offering a bit more cargo capacity than the Explorer. Once you go past cargo space, the Explorer quickly takes the lead with better fuel efficiency, a higher tow capacity, and more technology. You also get three engine options with the Explorer, whereas the Traverse only comes with one less fuel-efficient standard engine.
Best of all? One of the Explorer’s engines is a hybrid configuration that offers up to 27 MPG combined while maintaining a 5,000-lb tow capacity—the same tow capacity that the Traverse offers but only with an estimated fuel economy of 21 MPG combined. It’s clear that when you’re looking to take the family camping, boating, or on any long-distance trip, the 2022 Ford Explorer is the way to go. Don’t just take our word for it. Visit us at Kings Ford to see the Explorer in person, take it for a test drive, and see what it offers in person. For now, let’s take a deeper look at both models and how they differ in features and capability.
Vehicle performance is essential no matter what vehicle you choose, but tow capability and fuel efficiency are the main concerns regarding three-row SUVs. While three-row SUVs offer reasonable tow capacity across the board, ideal fuel efficiency is less common. This is where the Explorer becomes a game-changer.
The Explorer includes three engine options and is available in either rear-wheel drive (RWD) or four-wheel drive (4WD). The base-level engine is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged I-4 engine that produces 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, with an estimated fuel economy of 24 MPG combined in RWD and 23 MPG combined in 4WD. Whether you choose RWD or 4WD, the towing capacity remains at a maximum of 5,300 lbs.
Next up is the V6 engine. This 3.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged V6 has an estimated fuel economy of 21 MPG combined in RWD and 20 MPG combined in 4WD. It produces the most power out of all three engines with an output of 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque, for a max 5,600-pound tow rating.
The perfect balance between tow capacity and fuel efficiency lies in the third engine option—the 3.3-liter V6 hybrid engine. It produces 318 hp and 322 lb-ft of torque for a 5,000-lb max tow capacity. Its hybrid configuration allows the Explorer to get an estimated fuel economy of 27 MPG combined.
The Traverse only comes with one standard engine across all trim levels, which is a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 310 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. Its engine is similar to the Explorer’s EcoBoost V6 fuel economy, producing an estimated 21 MPG combined. The key difference here is that the Traverse’s max tow capacity is only 5,000 lbs. Simply put, you can tow that same amount at 27 MPG with the Explorer’s available hybrid engine. Or, you can stay with the Traverse’s 21 MPG and tow 600 more pounds with the 3.0L engine on the Explorer. Either way, the Traverse’s base engine does not compete well against the Explorer’s options.
There is also a difference between the two models’ transmission systems. The 2022 Explorer includes a 10-speed transmission, while the 2022 Traverse has a standard 9-speed transmission. While the Traverse’s 9-speed transmission is sufficient, the Explorer’s 10-speed transmission is part of what helps it achieve a better fuel-economy rating than the Traverse. The 10-speed configuration also enhances uphill shifting and towing performance.
The 2022 Ford Explorer and the 2022 Chevy Traverse offer various safety features to help keep you and your family safer. With that in mind, the Explorer offers more standard and available driver assistance technologies than the Traverse does, making the Explorer a better overall value.
All 2022 Explorer trims include the Ford Co-Pilot360, and all 2022 Traverse trims come with the Chevy Safety Assist suite. These models include standard safety technologies such as lane keep assist, automatic emergency braking, a rearview camera, and auto-adjusting headlights. Both models also have available options for adaptive cruise control, which lets you set your cruise while maintaining traffic flow.
The Explorer includes some safety tech features that are unavailable on the Traverse, such as Active Park Assist 2.0, which can park your Explorer for you—you simply have to be present and push a button. This feature works with parallel and perpendicular parking scenarios and helps you exit parking spaces thanks to its side-sensing capability. If someone pulls too close or backs you into a tight space, this technology can help navigate you out without damage.
While it’s your responsibility to maintain your vehicle, the 2022 Ford Explorer’s free FordPass Connect feature makes maintenance easier. It helps you keep up with oil changes, allows you to schedule maintenance visits, and even checks your oil and fuel levels from afar. It even comes with a vehicle location feature. You’re covered when lost in a new city or simply forgot where you parked. The 2022 Chevy Traverse includes the optional myChevrolet mobile app that offers some of the same features but comes at an additional cost.
You may want a third-row SUV to haul your kids to school and back, but the commute likely does not stop there. These SUVs are designed for the adventures in daily life. This is why off-road capability and towing technologies are essential.
It’s best to choose a 4WD Explorer if you plan on spending a lot of time outside camping, fishing, kayaking, sightseeing, and other activities. The Explorer’s Intelligent 4WD technology comes with a Terrain Management System with 7 selectable drive modes. These include the following mode options:
In addition to these drive modes, the Explorer comes with hill descent control, which helps hold you back during steep declines. It reduces brake wear and helps prevent slippage.
The 2022 Traverse includes 5 drive modes that are less specific than the Explorer. These include front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, off-road, tow/haul, and snow modes. In addition to offering fewer, broader modes, the Traverse is also AWD rather than 4WD. Remember that AWD is suitable for adverse weather conditions, but 4WD is more beneficial to those who adventure off the pavement.
Neither the Explorer nor Traverse is designed to take mudding or trailing in the same way a Bronco or Wrangler is; however, the Explorer is an adventure-capable model. While its Terrain Management System is standard across all trims, serious adventurers can opt-in for the Timberline trim. The Explorer Timberline Edition includes more off-road-ready features such as an underbody skid plate, higher ground clearance, and front tow hooks. While the Chevy Traverse has several special edition models, it does not come with an off-roading trim level.