The Ford Explorer and the Chevy Tahoe are in two different classes of SUV, but they're among the best in their class. The smaller Explorer is a little more nimble than the powerful Tahoe, but that's not the only difference. Our breakdown can help you decide which vehicle would be right for you. For the sake of this article, we’ll be comparing the 2017 Ford Explorer base model and the 2017 Chevy Tahoe LS.
Most people look at price as the biggest determinant for their next vehicle. The Ford Explorer is the cheaper option with a starting MSRP of $31,660, according to Ford’s website. The Chevy Tahoe has a higher starting MSRP of $48,410, according to Chevrolet’s website. That makes the Tahoe more expensive than four of the five trims on the Explorer.
That's a price difference of $16,750 - you could buy another car for that. So does the Chevy Tahoe offer enough to make up for it?
How powerful is your SUV? The base 2017 Ford Explorer comes equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 290 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. This powerful engine gives the Explorer an above-average towing capacity of 5,000 pounds when properly equipped.
Compared to the Explorer, the 2017 Chevy Tahoe has a much stronger engine. The 5.3-liter V8 produces 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. This provides the Tahoe an ability to tow an astounding 8,600 with the rear-wheel-drive while properly equipped.
The standard equipment for the Ford Explorer base trim includes stability and traction control, trailer sway control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, a front-passenger knee airbag, and MyKey, which allows parents to specify limits for vehicle speed and stereo volume. It also has a rearview camera and a five-star rating for overall crash protection during government tests.
The 2017 Chevy Tahoe includes antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control (with trailer sway control), front-seat side airbags, and full-length side curtain airbags standard on the LS trim. The Tahoe received four out of five stars in government crash tests.
One of the biggest selling points of the Tahoe is the teen-driver management system. This system sets a reminder to check the back seats for child occupants, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera and the subscription-based OnStar system, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle assistance, and turn-by-turn navigation.
Reviewers generally indicate that the Ford Explorer has a smooth ride quality on the highway and is exceptionally quiet, which makes it a great road-trip vehicle. In general, it feels a little larger and less maneuverable than similarly sized rivals. According to Edmunds, the 2017 Ford Explorer gets 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, which is quality fuel economy for the engine.
Critics say that Tahoe can feel slower than the horsepower suggests while hauling a full load, but it has the power to deliver authoritative acceleration. This SUV often feels like a truck, especially when you’re making turns. Even with this strong engine, the Chevy still produces quality fuel economy at 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.