*All information in this article has been revised and updated for the latest 2021-2022 models.
The 2022 Ford Explorer starts $15,000 less than the similarly equipped Chevrolet Tahoe. If that were the end of the story, we’d just drive the Explorer laughing all the way to the bank but, hold on. The 2022 Chevy Tahoe is a large SUV whereas the Ford Explorer is a smaller midsize--so does that mean the Explorer automatically loses? Absolutely not, since the difference in size isn’t as great as you might think. The Tahoe is only 6 inches longer, 2 inches wider, and 4 inches taller than the Explorer. Is that difference in dimensions really worth fifteen grand? Let’s find out in this comparison guide.
Seating: It’s a Tie!
This might shock you, but in the seating department the Explorer and the Tahoe are practically neck and neck, mostly because there are so many variables at work. Unsurprisingly, the Explorer wins in some of them while the Tahoe wins in others. For example, the 2022 Chevy Tahoe seats more people than the Ford Explorer. With seating for up to nine on three rows, you can’t do much better in an SUV. The Explorer also has three rows, but seats for “only” seven. That much is pretty straightforward.
When you start looking at head- and legroom, things get a little more complicated. The Chevy Tahoe has more space for front seat passengers, but those in the second and third rows will be far more comfortable in an Explorer where they have much more space than in the squished Tahoe. So, if you want the backseat passengers to be content, or plan to haul people larger than car-seat size on the regular, the Explorer is the better SUV for that.
Cargo Room: It’s a Tie!
Again, the Chevy Tahoe seems at face value to be a clear winner, but the details show that the Explorer and Tahoe have to split the difference here too. With all the seats folded down, there’s 80.7 cubic feet in the Explorer and 94.7 cubes in the Tahoe. The Tahoe wins, right? But, if you’re like us, we like having a place for the kids to sit all the time, even when we have cargo to haul. That’s why you buy a 7- or 9-seater as opposed to, say, a pickup truck. If you want to use all three rows of seating, the Tahoe offers only 15.3 cubic feet of storage while the Explorer does better with 21 cubes, one of the best in its class. What’s more, the Chevy Tahoe has a pretty high load-in height. That can make loading a pain in the back, literally.
Fuel Economy: 2022 Ford Explorer
This one is simple. The 2022 Ford Explorer is the SUV to beat, getting 19 city and 27 highway miles per gallon. That might not be anything more than average in the midsize SUV class, but the Explorer’s fuel economy easily outstrips that of the Chevy Tahoe, which gets only 15 city and 23 highway mpg. The bigger they are, the harder they fuel.
If you must seat 8 or 9 and don’t mind a tiny cargo space, or if you just want a cavern of cargo room back there and don’t mind keeping all the seats folded down all the time to get it, the Chevy Tahoe is a good pick. For all others, the 2022 Ford Explorer makes more sense.