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The Ford Explorer has long been a leader in its class. This three-row midsize SUV offers plenty of room for people, their luggage, and more. But the 2023 Chevy Traverse makes a strong case against its rival — even if sales don’t reflect it yet. Here’s a look at their sales numbers and three reasons why the Traverse should be outselling the Explorer.

2023 Ford Explorer sales are crushing the Chevy Traverse

A white 2023 Ford Explorer parked on a pier with a carnival behind it. Ford sales include favorable numbers for the Explorer.
2023 Ford Explorer | Ford

Recent sales numbers tell a story of Ford’s dominance. According to GoodCarBadCar, the Explorer has a more than 35,000 sales lead over the Traverse. The Ford SUV sold over 104,393 units in the first half of 2023, while the Traverse moved 68,681. And there’s a good chance the gap will only increase as the year progresses.

Trust goes a long way. Even though Ford has faced quality control issues in recent years, the Explorer has always enjoyed a sterling reputation. Families trust the 120-year-old automaker to provide a comfortable, reliable, and safe ride.

Despite hailing from the equally established Chevrolet (111 years!), the Traverse is a much newer entry in the midsize SUV class. The Explorer emerged in 1991, well before the SUV craze gripped America. The Traverse has been around since 2009.

3 reasons why the Chevy Traverse should be outselling the Ford Explorer in 2023

The 2023 Chevy Traverse comes out ahead of the Explorer in three key areas:

  1. Price: The Explorer starts at $36,760. The Traverse undercuts that slightly, starting at $34,520. That’s notable enough for new car buyers. However, the higher demand for the Explorer in the secondary market means that gap increases for used Traverse models.
  2. Cargo space: The Explorer has ample cargo space: 87.8 cubic feet. But the Traverse provides 98.2 cubic feet. Those 10 cubic feet could mean fitting an essential piece of luggage along for a trip or being forced to leave it at home.
  3. Seating capacity: The Explorer provides generous passenger space at 152.7 cubic feet. Again, the Traverse has the edge with 157 cubic feet. That means an extra rider can fit in the Traverse, for a total of eight to the Explorer’s seven. And though both SUVs have high-quality cloth upholstery, the Traverse one-ups Ford with premium cloth even in the lowest trims.

You save money and get more out of the Traverse, almost across the board. Sure, some minor differences fall in the Explorer’s favor, like a slightly higher towing capacity. But in the ways that matter most to families, the 2023 Traverse has the edge. Only time will tell if sales will reflect those advantages.

Are the 2 midsize SUVs different enough to account for the sales gap?

Ford’s sales lead doesn’t tell the whole story about these two vehicles. The 2023 Traverse and Explorer are incredibly similar midsize SUVs.

Both are close in size, with plenty of room for people and their belongings. The Traverse packs the same 3.6-liter V6 engine across all trims, while the Explorer has two options above and below. However, the performance gap isn’t massive on either end.

Both offer cloth interiors as standard. And they have identical warranties: three-year/36,000-mile basic coverage and a five-year/60,000-mile warranty.

However, the Traverse’s incredible value and other benefits above make the Chevy SUV stand out.