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It’s not surprising when Ford and Chevy go up against each other, since both offer some great SUVs. Both brands have plenty of choices no matter if you’re in the market for a new vehicle or some used cars. The Ford Explorer and the Chevy Traverse are two prime offerings for used midsize SUVs. If you compare the two, which one will come out on top? Let’s take a look at both models and see which one wins. 

The first contender is the 2018 Chevy Traverse

According to J.D. Power, a used 2018 Chevy Traverse model costs anywhere from $17,181 to $32,224. When it was brand new the starting price for the base model was $29,930 and the top trim level (High Country) began at $52,600. 

As for fuel economy, you could expect a range of 17-18 mpg when driving in the city and 25-27 mpg when traveling on the highway. These figures were pretty average compared to some of its rivals.

Two different engines powered up the Traverse. The RS trim sported a 2.0-liter Inline four-cylinder producing 257 hp, while the other trims had a 3.6-liter V6, which generated 310 hp. 

Critics, like J.D. Power, felt it impressed enough to be a worthy contender in the market. The publication gave it an overall score of 81 points, with a 74 rating in quality and reliability. But, as CarComplaints shows, it wasn’t as reliable as you’d think. The biggest issue owners dealt with was a faulty transmission/gear shifter assembly. 

Shifting gears became difficult for some, especially when you put it in Park and shift to Drive. It wouldn’t engage the gear. Also, if you tried to park the vehicle and turn it off, it would continue to run, because it didn’t recognize the gear shift being in that position. Some owners complained that it wasn’t covered under warranty and the price for repairs ran around $2,000. 

How does the 2018 Ford Explorer compare?

The 2018 Ford Explorer model offered 16-19 mpg on city roads and 22-27 mpg on the highway. Powering it up is a 3.5-liter V6 engine throughout all of its trims. All lower-level versions produced 290 hp, but the higher trims (Sport and Platinum) could generate 365 hp instead. 

When it came to reliability, J.D. Power rated the Explorer with an 82 out of 100, giving it an overall score of 80/100. To buy this used model, you can expect to pay within the range of $18,816 to $33,288. When it was brand new, owners paid a starting price of $32,140 for the base and $53,940 for the Platinum trim. 

Like the Traverse, the Explorer had some issues with its transmission. However, the Car Complaints website doesn’t have as many reports on it as the Traverse does. The most common complaint with it is the problems shifting in the lower gears. A few owners experience hard downshifts while trying to get up to speed. 

One person reported having the unit replaced for a total of $6,000. But, it was later realized that the technicians misdiagnosed the problem when it was really solenoid related, which was a much cheaper fix than a transmission replacement. 

Another issue reported with the 2018 Ford Explorer was the failing water pump. This was a serious issue since it would ultimately damage the engine. There were quite a few reports sent to the NHTSA regarding this problem, one fire and one crash were reported with those complaints. 

Which of these two midsize SUVs should you choose?

As for fuel economy, reliability ratings, engine options, and price, the two are pretty much neck and neck, however, the Explorer doesn’t have near as many complaints with its transmission.

If you factor in cargo space, the Traverse offers 23 cu-ft of storage behind the third row, while the Ford model has 21 cu-ft. The total space for the Explorer, if you fold down two rows of seats, is 80.7 cu-ft, while Chevy’s SUV has 98.2 cu-ft. Chevy also offers space for eight people, while the Ford only has enough for seven, making the Traverse a winner for families needing tons of seats

Chevy’s SUV also appealed to consumers because that model offered tons of comfort as well as a quiet cabin area, which makes traveling quite easier. Those who purchased the Explorer complained that getting in and out of the vehicle wasn’t as easy as they would like, and adjusting the seats were also a little difficult. With the Traverse, you can maneuver much easier, especially with the Smart-Slide seats in the second row. 

Overall, the Chevy Traverse seems more useful for consumers. But, if you choose the Chevy SUV,  research the vehicle to determine if its had transmission issues in the past and whether or not they were addressed with a positive solution. 

Both the 2018 Chevy Traverse and Ford Explorer were two decent models offering three rows of seats. While they’re similar in many areas, the Traverse pulls ahead for the win with its larger storage space and comfortability. 

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