Chevrolet Traverse vs. Ford Explorer

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Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - January 28, 2016

Whereas the full-size family vehicle segment was once dominated by truck-based SUVs, it's now populated by crossovers that offer similar utility in addition to car-like performance and efficiency. As expected, Ford and Chevy remain arch rivals in this class with the new-school Explorer and freshened Traverse.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Traverse & Explorer »

Both are obvious safe bets in a family hauler, but how does each fare in a head-to-head matchup?

Where the Traverse Excels

After a 2013 refresh, Chevy's big crossover sports sharper styling that delivers a welcome does of personality and makes the whole affair seem less massive. The front-end treatment, in particular, looks more like a full-size sedan than an SUV. The same can be said of the interior, which has a more organic design and intuitive controls that look and feel crisper than before. A review camera and Chevrolet's MyLink touchscreen interface are now standard.

Interior space and smooth drivability remain the Traverse's strongest attributes. There's room enough for up to eight passengers to travel in quiet comfort, and 116 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the front seats. All models carry a 3.6-liter V6 that produces up to 288 horsepower (with dual exhaust), which enables the Traverse to tow up to 5,200 pounds in both front- and all-wheel drive forms.

The Traverse also excels at hauling cargo in its long cabin. It can fit up to 116.3 cubic feet of cargo with its two rows of rear seating lowered, easily trumping the Explorer.

Where the Explorer Excels

The recently restyled Ford impresses us most with its highly refined, technology-laden interior for seven. The upscale finishes feel both luxurious and durable, and noise levels are soothingly low. Adding to the allure are features such the Sync voice-command system, the MyFord Touch electronic interface, and second-row seat belt airbags. The Explorer also offers adaptive control control with collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and active parking assist.

The standard 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 provides commendable overall performance, although buyers can also choose a 280-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder for increased fuel efficiency. There's also a new Sport model that carries a potent turbo V6 with 365 horsepower in addition to a firmer suspension and more aggressive trim. Notably, the Explorer's available all-wheel drive system allows drivers to select one of four road-surface presets for optimal performance in specific conditions.

Size Matters

As much as we admire the Explorer for its sophistication, the updated Traverse has one glaring advantage: room for one more body and a whopping 34.6 cubic feet of additional cargo space.

Our Verdict: Chevrolet Traverse

The Chevy puts the full-size in the full-size crossover market.

Take a closer look at the Chevrolet Traverse »

Take a closer look at the Ford Explorer »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Google+ | Website