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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

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The interior of a 2022 Ford Explorer King Ranch is shown from the passenger side.

Three Rows of Greatness: A Ford vs Chevy SUV Comparison

It’s a tale as old as time…or as old as the last century anyways. Ford vs Chevy makes political conversations at the dinner table seem like child’s play, especially for avid supporters on either side. There’s a lot of back and forth between the two, and with a debate as long-lasting as this one, we find it’s helpful to restock the arsenals of our fellow drivers with as much good information as possible. SUVs are becoming more and more popular, and since we have had a good amount of time to enjoy driving the 2022 models and make some honest comparisons, here’s our take on the 2022 Ford Explorer vs 2022 Chevy Traverse.

Power Houses

When it comes to driving a Ford or a Chevy, we know that each of these brands can hold its own against its competitors. But when compared to each other, can the same be said? To start with, the 2022 Chevy Traverse only has one engine option. Chevy knew it was a bit risky not to put out multiple options, so the bowtie brand made sure the engine it used was a good one. The 2022 Chevy Traverse comes stock with a 3.6-liter V6 that is capable of 310 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. This combination gives the Traverse a fair amount of take-off and sticking power in terms of speed and is comparable with most entry-level three-row SUV engines.

Ford chose not to take Chevy’s single-engine gamble, and the 2022 Explorer has three different engine options. The standard engine is a tried and true 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged I-4, which has some good output, coming in with 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. This is comparable to the Traverse, but Ford doesn’t like to just be comparable. That’s where the 2022 Explorer’s other two engine options come into play.

The next option Ford Explorer drivers have is a slightly larger 3.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged V6. The additional displacement means this engine puts out additional power, sitting at 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. This is a set-you-back-in-your-seat level of power for the Explorer, and the 3.0-liter is probably our favorite engine to drive.

The Explorer’s third and final engine option is a 3.3-liter V6 hybrid. As a hybrid engine, you may expect that it is less impressive in the power department, but the Explorer hybrid keeps up with the best of them. The hybrid V6 is capable of an impressive 318 hp and 322 lb-ft of torque. This combination gives it an excellent middle-ground level of power and handling, on top of its excellent efficiency of 27 MPG combined.

When it comes down to it, what powers your three-row SUV is pretty important. While the Chevy Traverse has a solid and reliable motor, the inability to adjust the engine to match your needs is a big drawback for Chevy fans. When it comes to which SUV has the better powertrain, we definitely feel like the Ford Explorer is the right choice.

A red 2022 Chevy Traverse RS is shown from the front at an angle on a city street.

Housing Power

We know that the Ford has the better powertrain, but which of these rival SUVs is better able to fit your cargo? The 2022 Explorer’s cargo capacity is 87.8 cu.ft. when both the back rows are laid down and turned into storage space. This is a great amount of space for a single driver or a couple to fit a week’s worth of camping gear into their vehicle. If you know you’ll need to utilize those back rows for additional passengers, then the Explorer gives you 18.2 cu.ft. of storage space in the trunk. This is about one medium suitcase per person in the vehicle, without encroaching on anyone’s legroom. The 2022 Explorer has a great amount of space that allows you to take everything with you without sacrificing passenger comfort.

At its highest capacity, the 2022 Chevy Traverse has a massive amount of room for cargo, accommodating up to 98.2 cu.ft. of whatever stuff you need to take with you. This is 10.4 cu.ft. more than the 2022 Explorer is able to offer. If you’re someone who needs a lot of space, then the Traverse is definitely the better option, as long as you keep in mind that sometimes bigger vehicles are a little more difficult to maneuver and fit into tight spaces.

Fueling Greatness

Everyone is worried about fuel economy right now, which means manufacturers are, too. There’s really nothing quite as hard to get over as the fact that it can cost SUV drivers over $100 to fill their tanks right now, and Ford and Chevy both took that into account. The 2022 Chevy Traverse has been given a nine-speed automatic transmission that allows it to achieve up to 21 MPG combined. This is solid fuel efficiency for an SUV, and it puts quite a bit of time between gas station stops. With its standard 19.4-gallon tank, your Traverse could drive around 400 miles on one tank of gas.

The Traverse has a pretty hard number to beat, but this is just one more place where Ford’s use of multiple engines has really paid off! The standard 2.3-liter turbo is able to get 24 MPG combined, while the hybrid option can get 27 MPG combined. In fact, the Explorer’s 3.0-liter turbo with 400 hp is able to get the same 21 MPG combined as the Traverse with its 310 hp engine. In short, the 2022 Explorer can get you quite a bit further on a single tank of gas. The Explorer’s estimated range of up to 486 miles without refueling sees you going around 80 miles further than the Traverse gets you, which can really add up in the long run.

A red 2022 Ford Explorer is shown from the front at an angle on a city street during a 2022 Ford Explorer vs 2022 Chevy Traverse comparison.

No Need to Tow the Line

Both Chevy and Ford are seeking to break out of the SUV norms when it comes to towing. While trucks are considered your stereotypical towing vehicle, both the Traverse and Explorer have great towing capacity. The 2022 Explorer is again given an edge over the Traverse because it has more options! If you’re looking to get the most towing capacity, then you want to look at getting into an Explorer with the 3.0-liter EcoBoost turbo V6. This is Ford’s most powerful engine and can haul up to 5,600 lbs. That is enough weight to tow a smaller camper or haul a trailer with your favorite four-wheelers and bikes on board.

The Chevy is a bit more limited in its towing capacity, but its engine still does all right. Able to tow up to 5,000 lbs, the Traverse will still get you where you need to go with most of the things you want to take with you. However, that 600 lb difference is about the weight of one four-wheeler or two dirt bikes, so you may need to leave some toys behind if you have a Traverse.

Ford Wins With Three-Row SUVs

While both manufacturers put out quality vehicles, between Ford and Chevy, the leading 2022 three-row SUV for us is definitely the Ford Explorer. It is more versatile, and this versatility makes it quite a bit more capable than the Traverse. While it does have a bit less cargo space than the larger Traverse, the Explorer more than makes up for it with its much more powerful and efficient engine options. Sorry Chevy, but this time Ford gets the title of SUV Champion.

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