2019 Chevrolet Traverse vs. 2018 Ford Explorer

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the Chevrolet Traverse’s middle seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Ford Explorer doesn’t offer comfort guides on its middle seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Traverse are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Explorer doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Traverse has a standard front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The Explorer doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

The Traverse (except L/LS/LT/RS) offers optional Front Automatic Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Explorer offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The Traverse (except L/LS) offers an optional Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Explorer only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Traverse and the Explorer have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Traverse’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Explorer’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Chevrolet pays for scheduled maintenance on the Traverse for 2 years and 24,000 miles. Chevrolet will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance (up to 2 oil changes). Ford doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Explorer.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

Engine

As tested in Motor Trend the Chevrolet Traverse V6 is faster than the Ford Explorer turbo 4 cyl.:

 

Traverse

Explorer

Zero to 60 MPH

6.7 sec

8.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.2 sec

16.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90.6 MPH

84.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Traverse gets better fuel mileage than the Explorer:

 

 

Traverse

Explorer

 

2WD

3.6 V6/9-spd. Auto

18 city/27 hwy

17 city/24 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

4WD

3.6 V6/9-spd. Auto

17 city/25 hwy

16 city/22 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Traverse’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Explorer doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Traverse AWD’s standard fuel tank has 3.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Explorer (21.7 vs. 18.6 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Chevrolet Traverse higher (6 out of 10) than the Ford Explorer (3). This means the Traverse produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Explorer every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chevrolet Traverse, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Explorer.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Traverse has larger tires than the Explorer (255/65R18 vs. 245/60R18).

The Chevrolet Traverse’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Ford Explorer only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Traverse has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Explorer doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Traverse’s wheelbase is 8.1 inches longer than on the Explorer (120.9 inches vs. 112.8 inches).

Chassis

The Traverse uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Explorer doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while cruising at 70 MPH, the interior of the Traverse High Country AWD is quieter than the Explorer Sport 4WD (67 vs. 70 dB).

Passenger Space

The Traverse has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Explorer can only carry up to 7.

The Traverse has .8 inches more front hip room, .6 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear hip room, 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room, .4 inches more third row headroom, .2 inches more third row legroom, 7.8 inches more third row hip room and 6.7 inches more third row shoulder room than the Explorer.

Cargo Capacity

The Traverse’s cargo area provides more volume than the Explorer.

 

Traverse

Explorer

Behind Third Seat

23 cubic feet

21 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

57.8 cubic feet

43.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

98.2 cubic feet

81.7 cubic feet

Servicing Ease

The Traverse uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Explorer uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

When the Traverse Premier/High Country is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Explorer’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Traverse has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Explorer and isn’t available on the Explorer Base.

The Traverse’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Explorer Base doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Traverse owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Traverse will cost $405 to $2205 less than the Explorer over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Traverse is less expensive to operate than the Explorer because typical repairs cost much less on the Traverse than the Explorer, including $297 less for a muffler and $475 less for a power steering pump.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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