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2019 Ford Explorer

Starting Price: $33,360 | Price Yours

Above Average: Choice of three powerful engines; wide variety of both safety and infotainment features.

Below Average: Off-roading is not its forte; virtually unchanged in 10 years; low scores in some crash tests

Consensus: This generation of Explorer has been around nearly 10 years, with a significant update due for 2020. That said, the Explorer is a solid, strong 3-row SUV with plenty of space and loads of technology and a variety of powerful engine choices. While it offers all-wheel drive, there are better choices for off-roading.

 

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2019 Chevrolet Traverse

Starting Price: $30,925 | Price Yours

Above Average: Roomy, solid fuel economy, plenty of power whenever you need it

Below Average: More efficient 4-cylinder turbo only offered with front-wheel drive

Consensus: Chevrolet redesigned the Traverse for 2018 and it shows in every way. It’s better looking, roomier, and boasts a strong V6, optional turbocharged inline-4, and a smooth-shifting 9-speed automatic. It comes with some excellent hidden storage features and plenty of room for up to eight passengers, including an adult-friendly third row. As you move up in trim levels, the Traverse adds numerous extras, including leather seats, some more driver-assist and safety features, and a bit more luxury.

 

The Explorer’s an old dog in this segment, having existed in one form or another since 1990 and in its current iteration since 2011. It’s comfortable and roomy, with a ride geared more toward comfort than sport, and while it does offer all-wheel drive, there are others in the segment that are better choices for going off-road. The Traverse is one of the relatively newer members of the segment, and Chevy has worked hard to keep it competitive. A full redesign for 2018 improved it across the board, with everything from a vastly improved transmission to increased space for both passengers and cargo. Both Explorer and Traverse max out at 5,000 pounds of towing capacity and while both offer good engines and optional all-wheel drive, neither is your best choice in this segment if off-roading is a priority.

Similarities

Towing capacity limited to 5,000 pounds; neither is the class leader for true off-roading; both have plenty of power

Ford Explorer Advantages

Wider variety of engine choices; lots of safety features

Chevrolet Traverse Advantages

Seats 8 rather than 7; significantly more cargo space, including hidden compartments

Final Recommendation

The Ford Explorer has been a solid crossover for many years, but it’s beginning to show its age. Chevy redesigned the Traverse for 2018 and has improved it in every way, particularly in its handling of both passengers and cargo. You might not need to carry eight passengers, but the Traverse does it comfortably, with plenty of space, a great ride, an excellent combination of a strong V6 and a smooth transmission, and plenty of optional luxury features. In this race, the Bowtie gets the nod over the Blue Oval.

  2019 Ford Explorer 2019 Chevrolet Traverse
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 3.5-liter V6 3.5-liter V6
Horsepower 290 hp @ 6,500 rpm 280 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 255 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 266 lb-ft @ 2,800 rpm
Transmission Automatic, 6-Spd Automatic, 9-Spd
Fuel Economy 20 mpg (17 city, 24 hwy) 21 mpg (18 city, 27 hwy)
Also Available 2.3-liter I4, turbocharged; 3.5-liter V6, twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter I4, turbocharged
Specs    
Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5 Stars 5 Stars
Max Seating Capacity 7 8
Wheelbase 112.6 inches 120.9 inches
Overall Length 198.3 inches 204.3 inches
Width 90.2 inches (w/ mirrors) 78.6 inches (w/o mirrors)
Height 70.0 inches 70.7 inches
Turning Diameter 39.2 feet 39.0 feet
Headroom, Front 41.4 inches 41.3 inches
Headroom, Rear 37.8 inches 38.2 inches
Legroom, Front 42.9 inches 41.0 inches
Legroom, Rear 33.3 inches 33.5 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 61.5 inches 62.1 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 50.8 inches 57.5 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 151.7 cu. ft. n/a
EPA Cargo Volume 81.7 cu. ft. 98.2 cu. ft.
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