Choosing the perfect midsize SUV can be a daunting task, especially when the competition is fierce. Two vehicles that have made a name for themselves in this market are the 2023 Ford Explorer and the Chevy Traverse. Both offer a unique blend of performance, comfort, and style, making them top contenders for your next family car. In this article, we’ll compare the two SUVs in key areas such as exterior design, interior design, seating, storage, performance, fuel efficiency, safety, trim levels, and pricing to help you make an informed decision.
The 2023 Ford Explorer and Chevy Traverse both exhibit distinct yet modern exterior designs that set them apart from their competitors.
The Explorer showcases an aggressive, athletic stance with a sculpted body, sharp lines, and bold front grille. It combines these elements seamlessly, creating a sleek and sporty appearance. LED headlights and taillights, along with optional 20-inch alloy wheels, further enhance the Explorer’s assertive presence.
On the other hand, the Traverse takes a more conservative approach with its exterior design. It features a wide grille, sweeping lines, and a slightly less aggressive overall appearance than the Explorer. The Traverse’s design is more family-oriented, with a focus on clean lines and simple, elegant details. The available LED daytime running lights and standard 18-inch wheels add a touch of sophistication.
The cabins of the 2023 Ford Explorer and Chevy Traverse are designed to offer comfort, convenience, and ample space for passengers and their belongings.
The Explorer’s interior boasts a well-crafted, modern design with an emphasis on functionality. Soft-touch materials, along with available leather upholstery, give the cabin a refined look and feel. The optional 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system takes center stage, offering easy access to various connectivity and entertainment options.
The Traverse’s cabin also focuses on comfort and practicality, with a slightly more minimalist design than the Explorer. High-quality materials and an available 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system create a user-friendly environment. Ambient lighting and available heated seats enhance the cabin’s overall appeal.
Both the 2023 Ford Explorer and Chevy Traverse provide comfortable and spacious seating for their occupants.
The Explorer comes standard with seating for seven passengers across three rows. The available captain’s chairs for the second row reduce the seating capacity to six but offer added comfort and easy access to the third row. The front seats offer excellent support and an optional heated and ventilated function.
The Traverse also offers seating for up to eight passengers, with a standard second-row bench seat. Like the Explorer, optional second-row captain’s chairs are available, reducing the capacity to seven. The seats in the Traverse are comfortable and supportive, with available heated and ventilated options for the front-row occupants.
Both SUVs provide ample storage space for your cargo-carrying needs.
The Explorer offers 18.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-row seats, which expands to 47.9 cubic feet when the third row is folded down. Folding down both the second and third rows opens up a total of 87.8 cubic feet of space.
The Traverse comes out slightly ahead in terms of cargo capacity, with 23 cubic feet of space behind the third row. Folding down the third row increases this to 57.8 cubic feet, while folding both the second and third rows provides a generous 98.2 cubic feet of storage space.
The 2023 Ford Explorer and Chevy Traverse offer powerful engines and smooth handling to ensure a pleasant driving experience on the road.
The base Explorer comes equipped with a 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that produces 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Higher trim levels offer a 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, delivering up to 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. The Explorer is also available with a hybrid powertrain that combines a 3.3-liter V6 engine with an electric motor, offering a combined output of 318 horsepower.
All engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, ensuring smooth shifts and responsive acceleration. Rear-wheel drive comes standard, with an optional all-wheel-drive system available for enhanced traction.
The Traverse is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine that generates 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. A 9-speed automatic transmission pairs with the engine to provide smooth gear changes and respectable performance. Front-wheel drive is standard on the Traverse, with all-wheel drive available as an option for increased capability.
Both the 2023 Ford Explorer and Chevy Traverse offer competitive fuel efficiency in the midsize SUV segment.
The base Explorer with the 2.3-liter turbocharged engine and rear-wheel drive achieves an EPA-estimated 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The more powerful 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 version sees a slight dip in fuel efficiency, with 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. The Explorer Hybrid delivers the best fuel economy, with an EPA-estimated 27 mpg city and 29 mpg highway.
The Traverse’s 3.6-liter V6 engine with front-wheel drive delivers an EPA-estimated 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Choosing the all-wheel-drive option slightly reduces fuel efficiency to 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.
Both the Ford Explorer and Chevy Traverse prioritize safety, offering numerous advanced safety features to protect their occupants.
The Explorer comes standard with Ford Co-Pilot360, which includes features such as automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and a rearview camera. Higher trim levels offer additional safety features like adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist, and a surround-view camera.
The Traverse also offers a variety of standard safety features, including a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, and the Teen Driver system, which allows parents to monitor and set restrictions on their teenager’s driving habits. Optional safety equipment includes adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, and lane-keeping assist.
Both SUVs offer various trim levels, allowing buyers to find the perfect match for their needs and preferences.
The Explorer is available in five main trims: Base, XLT, Limited, ST, and Platinum. The base model offers standard features such as a power liftgate, tri-zone automatic climate control, and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Upgrading to higher trims adds luxury features like leather upholstery, a 10.1-inch touchscreen, a premium sound system, and more.
The Traverse comes in six trims: L, LS, LT Cloth, LT Leather, RS, and High Country. The entry-level L trim offers features like a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and keyless entry. Higher trim levels provide amenities such as leather upholstery, an 8-inch touchscreen, a hands-free power liftgate, and a panoramic sunroof.
The 2023 Ford Explorer and Chevy Traverse come with competitive pricing options that cater to various budgets.
The base Explorer starts at an MSRP of around $33,500, while the mid-level XLT and Limited trims are priced around $36,000 and $46,000, respectively. The sporty ST trim comes in at approximately $53,000, and the top-of-the-line Platinum trim has a starting price of around $56,000. The hybrid version of the Explorer starts at around $50,000.
The entry-level Traverse L has a starting price of about $31,500. The LS and LT Cloth trims are priced around $34,000 and $36,500, respectively. The LT Leather and RS trims come in at approximately $41,000 and $45,000, while the range-topping High Country trim starts at around $52,000.
The Ford Explorer features a sportier, more aggressive exterior design, whereas the Chevy Traverse showcases a more conservative and family-oriented appearance. The Explorer has a bolder front grille, sharp lines, and optional 20-inch alloy wheels, while the Traverse comes with a wide grille, sweeping lines, and standard 18-inch wheels.
The Explorer offers a variety of engine options, including a base 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine (300 hp), an optional 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 engine (up to 400 hp), and a hybrid powertrain. The Traverse has a single engine choice, a 3.6-liter V6 engine (310 hp). Additionally, the Explorer uses a 10-speed automatic transmission, while the Traverse has a 9-speed automatic transmission.
The base Explorer with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine offers better fuel efficiency (21 mpg city, 28 mpg highway) compared to the Traverse’s 3.6-liter V6 engine (18 mpg city, 27 mpg highway). The Explorer Hybrid further improves fuel economy, delivering 27 mpg city and 29 mpg highway.
The Traverse offers slightly more cargo capacity, with 23 cubic feet behind the third row, 57.8 cubic feet behind the second row, and 98.2 cubic feet with both rows folded down. The Explorer has 18.2 cubic feet behind the third row, 47.9 cubic feet behind the second row, and 87.8 cubic feet of space with both rows folded down.
The Traverse provides seating for up to eight passengers as standard, while the Explorer offers seating for seven passengers as standard. Both SUVs offer optional second-row captain’s chairs, reducing their seating capacity to six (Explorer) and seven (Traverse) passengers, respectively.
The Explorer is available in five main trims (Base, XLT, Limited, ST, Platinum), while the Traverse comes in six trims (L, LS, LT Cloth, LT Leather, RS, High Country).
The base Chevy Traverse L starts at a lower price point (around $31,500) than the base Ford Explorer (around $33,500). However, the range-topping High Country Traverse is priced similarly to the top-of-the-line Platinum Explorer, both starting around $52,000 to $56,000.
Both the 2023 Ford Explorer and Chevy Traverse are compelling choices in the midsize SUV segment, offering a balance of performance, comfort, and practicality. The Explorer’s bold exterior design, available high-performance engines, and advanced safety features make it an appealing option for those seeking a sporty yet family-friendly SUV. The Traverse, with its more conservative design, slightly larger cargo capacity, and competitive pricing, is ideal for families seeking a more traditional and spacious midsize SUV. Ultimately, your choice will come down to your personal preferences and priorities, but both vehicles offer plenty of value and features to satisfy a wide range of buyers.
2023 Ford Explorer:
- Exterior Design:
- Athletic and aggressive stance
- Bold front grille and sharp lines
- LED headlights and taillights
- Optional 20-inch alloy wheels
- Interior Design:
- Modern, functional cabin
- Soft-touch materials and available leather upholstery
- Optional 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Standard seating for seven passengers (with available six-passenger configuration)
- Optional second-row captain’s chairs
- Supportive front seats with available heating and ventilation
- 18.2 cubic feet behind third row
- 47.9 cubic feet behind second row
- 87.8 cubic feet with both rows folded
- Base 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine (300 hp, 310 lb-ft)
- Optional 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 engine (up to 400 hp, 415 lb-ft)
- Optional hybrid powertrain (3.3-liter V6 engine and electric motor, 318 hp combined)
- 10-speed automatic transmission
- Standard rear-wheel drive with optional all-wheel drive
- Fuel Efficiency:
- 2.3L EcoBoost: 21 mpg city, 28 mpg highway
- 3.0L EcoBoost: 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway
- Hybrid: 27 mpg city, 29 mpg highway
- Standard Ford Co-Pilot360 suite
- Available adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist, and surround-view camera
- Trim Levels:
- Base, XLT, Limited, ST, Platinum
- Base: around $33,500
- Exterior Design:
- Conservative and family-oriented appearance
- Wide grille and sweeping lines
- LED daytime running lights
- Standard 18-inch wheels
- Interior Design:
- Minimalist and practical cabin
- High-quality materials
- Available 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Standard seating for up to eight passengers (with available seven-passenger configuration)
- Optional second-row captain’s chairs
- Comfortable front seats with available heating and ventilation
- 23 cubic feet behind third row
- 57.8 cubic feet behind second row
- 98.2 cubic feet with both rows folded
- 3.6-liter V6 engine (310 hp, 266 lb-ft)
- 9-speed automatic transmission
- Standard front-wheel drive with optional all-wheel drive
- Fuel Efficiency:
- FWD: 18 mpg city, 27 mpg highway
- AWD: 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway
- Standard rearview camera, rear parking sensors, and Teen Driver system
- Optional adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, and lane-keeping assist
- Trim Levels:
- L, LS, LT Cloth, LT Leather, RS, High Country
- L: around $31,500