Crossover & Midsize

2020 Chevy Traverse vs. 2020 Ford Explorer: Which Three-Row SUV Fits Your Family?

In the market for a three-row SUV? When it comes to SUVs that can get your family anywhere they need to go, you can’t do better than either the 2020 Chevy Traverse or the 2020 Ford Explorer. Both crossover SUVs are all-American vehicles that can seat up to eight passengers comfortably with room for plenty of cargo in the back.

Which of these SUVs is the right fit for your family? What does each vehicle have to offer? Let’s take a closer look.

The best features of the Chevy Traverse

Since the Chevrolet Traverse had a full redesign two years ago, there are only minor updates for the 2020 models, according to Edmunds

The second-generation Chevy Traverse is spacious inside with plenty of room for up to eight people to ride comfortably. There’s plenty of space for cargo in the back too. Considering the Traverse is not a full-size SUV, the space it provides for any combination of passengers and cargo is impressive. The Traverse offers a comfortable ride with room to stretch for longer journeys. 

The interior of the Chevy Traverse offers a lot of hard plastic. Many prefer the more upscale interiors of other SUVs from automakers like Honda or Toyota. The Traverse did get an upgraded infotainment system with the launch of the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system.

The graphics on the new system are visually appealing and sharp. The interface has been simplified to be more like that of today’s smartphones. It also comes with an HD backup camera, surround-view cameras, and a camera specifically to help with hooking up the trailer.

The V6 engine is now standard across Chevy Traverse models. The turbo four-cylinder engine that was available with the RS trim is gone. It’s understandable because it takes some power to move the Traverse. 

Aside from the upgraded infotainment system, there are new features offered within available option packages. You can get an automatic heated steering wheel in the Driver Confidence II package now. 

The Ford Explorer’s best features

When it comes to the new Ford Explorer, this three-row crossover SUV has a lot to offer. 

The Explorer has three powertrain options according to Car and Driver. There’s a turbocharged four-cylinder for the base, XLT, and Limited models. There’s a twin-turbo V6 for the ST and Platinum models. There’s also a hybrid V6 engine paired with an electric motor that’s new to the Explorer. 

Offering a comfortable ride, the new Ford Explorer is a sport-tuned model. Its interior is as unexciting as that of the Chevy Traverse, but it has good technology with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. For standard safety features, the Explorer includes auto emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision, lane-departure alerts, lane-keeping assist, and more. 

It’s easier to get to the third row of seats in the Explorer thanks to a new feature that moves the second-row seat out of the way using only a button. That being said, the second row of seats is a little cramped because it’s too close to the front row. It makes space tight there for older kids and adults.

Which offers the best value?

Which vehicle will work best for your family will ultimately come down to your specific needs. The vehicles are comparable enough that opinions vary. The folks at MotorTrend favor the Chevy Traverse because they find it easier to use than the Explorer. The team at The Car Connection favor the Ford Explorer as it has more features standard. They prefer its appearance and the fact that it offers more powertrain options.

You’ll pay $31,000 for the base Chevy Traverse as opposed to $34,000 for the base Explorer. Each vehicle has a few issues. If the third row of seats isn’t a hard need for you, you may want to opt for the new Ford Explorer for its additional features. If you need the third row of seating, the Chevy Traverse may be the better choice. Considering the lower price tag, it would offer better value in that situation.