8 Top Ford Explorer Competitors

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Whether you want a more affordable crossover like the Hyundai Santa Fe, a larger car like the Honda Pilot, or a more powerful vehicle like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, there are various
Ford Explorer
competitors you should consider.
  • Top Ford Explorer competitors include the Honda Pilot, Hyundai Santa Fe, and Toyota Highlander.
  • If you’re looking for greater towing capacity, the Kia Telluride or Nissan Pathfinder are two great alternatives.
  • Three-row SUV options like the Toyota Highlander and Chevy Traverse offer more seating.

8 Top Ford Explorer Competitors

Here is our list of the 8 toughest Ford Explorer competitors.

1. Honda Pilot

Starting MSRP: $35,950 to $52,030
Selling points: Lots of cargo space and interior space
Weak spot: Poor off-road performance and fuel economy, underwhelming exterior
Honda Pilot
is significantly bigger than the Ford Explorer, so it’s a good option for drivers who have a lot of passengers or need to store lots of cargo. However, the Pilot has been criticized for its underwhelming styling.
It’s also not a great choice for off-road enthusiasts, since it isn’t well-equipped to handle unpaved roads. Finally, the Pilot has a lower fuel economy than many other vehicles on this list, so it might end up being more expensive to own.

2. Hyundai Santa Fe

Starting MSRP: $28,750 to $44,300
Selling points: Competitively priced, comfortable interior
Weak spot: Lower towing capacity, a little cramped
Even with its competitive pricing, the
Hyundai Santa Fe
still delivers a comfortable, stylish interior with a user-friendly infotainment interface. While adults riding in the rear seats might find the Santa Fe lacks in legroom, this SUV is great for families with children.
If you’re hoping to tow a large trailer, however, the Santa Fe might not be the vehicle for you. With its towing capacity of just 3,500 pounds, this SUV definitely isn’t designed for hauling heavy loads.

3. Toyota Highlander

Starting MSRP: $37,405 to $47,560
Selling points: Safe and family-friendly
Weak spot: Cramped, particularly for adult passengers
While you might feel a little like a soccer mom driving this SUV, the
Toyota Highlander’s
best-in-class safety features and extensive driver assistance technology make it a great alternative for families.
The Highlander does offer a lot of seating, but it can be cramped for adult passengers. If you’re planning to use your car like a minivan, you should be prepared to squeeze a little more than is comfortable.
MORE: Toyota Highlander specs you should know

4. Mazda CX-9

Starting MSRP: $38,750 to $48,460
Selling points: Great styling inside and out
Weak spot: Cramped third row and limited cargo space
Mazda CX-9
has a sleek, stylish interior and exterior with a look that can’t be beaten. It also offers a great driving experience, so you’ll look cool and comfortable behind the wheel.
That said, the Mazda CX-9’s optional third-row seating is pretty cramped, and opting for it means you’ll have to sacrifice most of your storage area.

5. Chevrolet Traverse

Starting MSRP: $34,520 to $54,200
Selling points: Tons of cargo space and passenger space
Weak spot: Big blind spots
Chevy Traverse
can hold lots of passengers and cargo, making it a great family SUV. While you do have to compromise a little on fuel economy in order to drive this larger vehicle, the Traverse gets decent mileage for its size.
The biggest downside of the Traverse, however, is that it has some huge blind spots, particularly towards the rear of the car. This is mostly due to the size of the vehicle, but it can make driving safely a little more tricky, especially for drivers used to smaller cars.

6. Kia Telluride

Starting MSRP: $35,890 to $52,985
Selling points: Great style and value
Weak spot: Poor fuel economy and handling, not for off-road drivers
As is typical with the Kia brand, the
Kia Telluride
is a stylish, user-friendly car with a plush interior and top-of-the-line technology. It’s also priced for accessibility, as the second-most affordable midsize SUV on this list.
However, the stiff handling and lack of rugged features mean that this car isn’t a good choice for off-roading, and the fuel economy leaves something to be desired. Still, the Telluride is a great alternative for city drivers looking for an affordable, user-friendly SUV.

7. Jeep Grand Cherokee

Starting MSRP: $39,000 to $66,155
Selling points: Great off-road performance
Weak spot: A little pricier than the competition
Jeep Grand Cherokee
is great for off-road adventures, so if you were considering the Explorer because of its off-road capabilities, the Grand Cherokee might be a good alternative for you.
Unfortunately, the Grand Cherokee is the most expensive vehicle on this list, and it offers a lower fuel economy than some of the competition. This means that you’ll consistently pay more for the Grand Cherokee than you might for a different vehicle.

8. Nissan Pathfinder

Starting MSRP: $35,200 to $50,070
Selling points: Great interior storage options, good towing capacity
Weak spot: Poor off-road performance, expensive top trims
Nissan Pathfinder
is filled with helpful little storage cubbies for your various small items, offers plenty of interior cargo space, and has a maximum towing capacity of 5,900 pounds. That means you can haul a lot of stuff with this vehicle!
However, you should be prepared for higher prices on higher trim levels—especially the
and Rock Creek options. If you want a Pathfinder with all of the available features and add-ons, you should expect to pay quite a bit more than you might pay for a comparable model.

The Ford Explorer vs the competition

TL;DR? No worries. For a side-by-side comparison of the Ford Explorer and its competition, here’s a table.
Starting price range
Powertrain options
Maximum seating capacity
Maximum cargo volume 
Maximum towing capacity
EPA fuel economy (city/highway/combined)
$36,760 to $56,220
Four-cylinder or V6
7 seats
87.8 cubic feet
5,600 pounds
21/28/24 MPG
$35,950 to $52,030
8 seats
87.0 cubic feet
5,000 lb
19/27/22 MPG
$28,750 to $44,300
Four-cylinder or V6
5 seats
72.1 cubic feet
3,500 lbs
25/28/26 MPG
$37,405 to $47,560
8 seats
84.3 cubic feet
5,000 lb
22/29/25 MPG
$38,750 to $48,460
7 seats
71.2 cubic feet
3,500 lb
20/26/23 MPG
$34,520 to $54,200
8 seats
98.2 cubic feet
5,000 lbs
19/22/21 mpg
$35,890 to $52,985
8 seats
87.0 cubic feet
5,000 lbs
20/26/23 MPG
$39,000 to $66,155
V6 or V8
7 seats
70.8 cubic feet
6,200 lbs
19/26/22 MPG
$35,200 to $50,070
8 seats
80.5 cubic feet
5,900 lbs
20/27/23 MPG
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