2020 Chevrolet Traverse vs. 2019 Ford Flex

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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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 Flex 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 Flex 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 Flex doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

The Traverse (except L/LS) offers optional Automatic Emergency 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 Flex 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 Chevrolet Traverse has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Flex doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The Traverse (except L/LS)’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Flex doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

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 Flex only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

Both the Traverse and the Flex 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, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.


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


J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 31 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.


The Traverse’s 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 23 more horsepower (310 vs. 287) and 12 lbs.-ft. more torque (266 vs. 254) than the Flex’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Chevrolet Traverse is faster than the Ford Flex V6:



Zero to 30 MPH

3 sec

3.2 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.3 sec

8.5 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.9 sec

5.8 sec

Quarter Mile

15.7 sec

16.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93 MPH

88 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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




3.6 DOHC 6-cyl.

18 city/27 hwy


3.6 DOHC 6-cyl.

17 city/25 hwy



3.5 DOHC 6-cyl.

16 city/23 hwy


3.5 DOHC 6-cyl.

16 city/22 hwy

3.5 Turbo 6-cyl.

15 city/21 hwy

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 Flex doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Chevrolet Traverse uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Flex Limited requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Traverse AWD’s standard fuel tank has 3.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Flex (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 Flex (3). This means the Traverse produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Flex every 15,000 miles.


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 Flex.

Brakes and Stopping

The Traverse stops much shorter than the Flex:



70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

192 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

130 feet

144 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

136 feet

157 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Traverse has larger tires than the Flex (255/65R18 vs. 235/60R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Traverse has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Flex SE.

The Chevrolet Traverse’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Ford Flex 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 Flex doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Traverse’s wheelbase is 3 inches longer than on the Flex (120.9 inches vs. 117.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Traverse is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 1.6 inches wider in the rear than on the Flex.

The Traverse RS handles at .84 G’s, while the Flex SEL AWD pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Traverse’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the Flex’s (39 feet vs. 40.7 feet).


The front grille of the Traverse uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Flex doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Traverse uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Flex 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 Flex Limited AWD (67 vs. 68 dB).

Passenger Space

The Traverse has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Flex can only carry 7.

The Traverse has 2.6 inches more front hip room, 3.7 inches more front shoulder room, 1.9 inches more rear hip room, 4.1 inches more rear shoulder room, .2 inches more third row legroom, 7.4 inches more third row hip room and 6.7 inches more third row shoulder room than the Flex.

Cargo Capacity

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



Behind Third Seat

23 cubic feet

20 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

57.8 cubic feet

43.2 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

98.2 cubic feet

83.2 cubic feet

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Traverse Premier/High Country’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Flex doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.


Maximum trailer towing in the Ford Flex is limited to 4500 pounds. The Traverse offers up to a 5000 lbs. towing capacity.


The Traverse’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Flex’s parking brake has to released manually.

On a hot day the Traverse’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Flex can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Traverse’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Flex’s power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

Consumer Reports rated the Traverse’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Flex’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Traverse (except L/LS) detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Flex doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

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 Flex’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Traverse Premier/High Country has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Flex has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

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 is only available on the Flex SEL/Limited.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Traverse owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Traverse will cost $725 less than the Flex over a five-year period.

The Traverse will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Traverse will retain 46.83% to 49.78% of its original price after five years, while the Flex only retains 41.51% to 45.94%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Traverse is less expensive to operate than the Flex because typical repairs cost much less on the Traverse than the Flex, including $454 less for a muffler, $34 less for front struts and $81 less for a power steering pump.


The Chevrolet Traverse outsold the Ford Flex by over seven to one during 2018.

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

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