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Ford Explorer

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The Ford Explorer wasn’t the first sport utility vehicle, but it hit on the right formula to become the best-selling SUV and help fuel the popularity of the class. Starting as a truck-based SUV, the Explorer continually added carlike features and refined ride quality. Eventually, sales took a hit thanks to increased competition and the Firestone tire failures, but they’ve been improving with the popularity of the current generation. The present Explorer is a four-door crossover. Other variations included the Explorer Sport Trac, which had a pickup bed, and the Explorer Sport, a name used on early two-door versions as well as a later performance offering. The Explorer’s architecture was also used for the Mercury Mountaineer, Lincoln Aviator and Mazda Navajo. A performance-tuned Explorer ST version is on the way, and a redesigned Explorer will debut in 2019 with an available hybrid electric drivetrain. It may also use a unitized rear-wheel-drive platform.

Good Fit For
Large Families

Large Family vehicles seat six or more occupants in three rows.

,
Towing

Towing vehicles can tow a minimum of 2,000 pounds (see specifications for maximum). May require specific trim level and/or optional features.

Popular Competitors

5 Generations

Explorer - 5 Generations

2011–2019 Explorer

Redesigned in 2011
2011–2019 Explorer Generation, 2019 Ford Explorer model shown Showing the 2019 Ford Explorer

In a major change, Ford moved the Explorer from a truck-based, rear-wheel-drive body-on-frame platform to a car-based, unitized front-wheel-drive platform. Though still marketed as an SUV, it was now more accurately a crossover. The largest engine was a V-6, while turbocharged four-cylinders would become available later. Fuel mileage improved, as did on-road ride. The Explorer received revised front-end styling, improved technology interfaces and a new engine in a 2016 refresh.

  • MSRP Range $32,365–$54,165
  • Consumer Rating
    (5.0) 1 reviews
  • Combined MPG Coming Soon
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

  • MSRP Range $32,140–$53,940
  • Consumer Rating
    (5.0) 128 reviews
  • Combined MPG 18-20
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Read About the 2018 Model 2018 Explorer Articles
  • MSRP Range $31,660–$53,235
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.8) 245 reviews
  • Combined MPG 18-20
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Notable Features in 2017
  • New Sport Appearance Package
  • Seats up to seven in three rows
  • V-6 engine standard
  • Turbo four-cylinder and turbo V-6 available
  • Front- or all-wheel drive
  • Hands-free liftgate available
  • Current List Price $19,242–$37,726
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.6) 135 reviews
  • Combined MPG 18-20
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Notable Features in 2016
  • Seats 6 or 7 in three rows
  • New Platinum luxury model added
  • More powerful 2.3-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder
  • Available front and rear cameras with washers
  • Hands-free liftgate feature
  • Current List Price $17,627–$33,075
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.5) 114 reviews
  • Combined MPG 18-20
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Notable Features in 2015
  • New Appearance Package for XLT models
  • 18-inch aluminum wheels now standard
  • Seats six or seven
  • Inflatable rear seat belts available
  • Terrain Management system available
  • 365-hp Explorer Sport
  • Current List Price $14,227–$27,975
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.7) 133 reviews
  • Combined MPG 18-20
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Notable Features in 2014
  • Turbo four-cylinder or choice of V-6s
  • Seats six or seven
  • Optional inflatable rear seat belts
  • Available Terrain Management System
  • 365-hp Explorer Sport
  • Current List Price $11,713–$23,853
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.4) 144 reviews
  • Combined MPG 18-20
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Notable Features in 2013
  • New 365-hp Explorer Sport
  • Turbo four-cylinder or choice of V-6s
  • Seats six or seven
  • Optional inflatable rear seat belts
  • Available Terrain Management System
  • Current List Price $10,644–$21,924
  • Consumer Rating
    (3.9) 66 reviews
  • Combined MPG 20-21
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Notable Features in 2012
  • Turbo four-cylinder or V-6
  • Car-based platform
  • Optional inflatable rear seat belts
  • Available Terrain Management System
  • Current List Price $9,197–$20,937
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.2) 85 reviews
  • Combined MPG 20-21
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Notable Features in 2011
  • Redesigned for 2011
  • New car-based platform
  • Available turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Available Terrain Management System
  • Three rows of seating standard

2006–2010 Explorer

Redesigned in 2006
Showing the 2010 Ford Explorer

The 2006 Explorer grew about 4 inches longer and 1.5 inches wider on a new frame due to a subtle redesign. The optional V-8 got 53 more horsepower, paired with a new six-speed transmission. Tire pressure monitoring and electronic stability control became standard. The SUV now offered a power-folding third row, and the Explorer Sport Trac pickup returned for 2007.

  • Current List Price $4,905–$15,733
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.3) 34 reviews
  • Combined MPG 16-17
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Notable Features in 2010
  • Side curtain airbags
  • Capless refueling system
  • 292-hp V-8
  • Five- or six-speed automatic
  • Sync multimedia system
  • Stability system with Roll Stability Control
  • Available power-folding third row
  • Current List Price $4,810–$13,738
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.5) 11 reviews
  • Combined MPG 16-18
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Notable Features in 2009
  • Side curtain airbags
  • New exterior colors
  • Capless refueling system
  • 292-hp V-8
  • Five- or six-speed automatic
  • Sync entertainment system
  • AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control
  • Available power-folding third row
  • Current List Price $3,683–$12,971
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.3) 32 reviews
  • Combined MPG 16-17
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Notable Features in 2008
  • Side curtain airbags
  • New exterior colors
  • Cap-less refueling system
  • 292-hp V-8
  • Five- or six-speed automatic
  • Sync entertainment system
  • AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control
  • Available power-folding third-row
  • Current List Price $3,495–$11,555
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.6) 64 reviews
  • Combined MPG 17-18
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Notable Features in 2007
  • Available Ironman Package
  • New exterior colors
  • Standard audio input jack
  • 292-hp V-8
  • Five- or six-speed automatic
  • Optional Safety Canopy system
  • AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control
  • Available power-folding third-row
  • Current List Price $2,551–$10,243
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.3) 67 reviews
  • Combined MPG 17-18
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Notable Features in 2006
  • Fully independent suspension
  • V-6 or new 292-hp V-8
  • Five- or six-speed automatic
  • Optional Safety Canopy system
  • AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control
  • Available navigation system
  • Available power-folding third-row seat

2002–2005 Explorer

Redesigned in 2002
Showing the 2005 Ford Explorer

For 2002, Ford put a larger, all-new body on a unique platform. Combined with a new four-wheel independent suspension, it allowed the Explorer to have a third-row option for the first time. Powertrain upgrades included a new V-8 and five-speed automatic transmission across the lineup. The Sport Trac and two-door Sport variants, which were still based on the previous generation’s engineering, were phased out during this generation, and the manual transmission was discontinued.

  • Current List Price $1,809–$8,901
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.3) 46 reviews
  • Combined MPG 16-18
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Notable Features in 2005
  • Fully independent suspension
  • V-6 or V-8
  • Five-speed automatic
  • Optional Safety Canopy side-curtain airbags
  • AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control
  • Current List Price $1,401–$7,929
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.1) 73 reviews
  • Combined MPG 17-18
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Notable Features in 2004
  • Fully independent suspension
  • V-6 and V-8 engines
  • Five-speed automatic
  • Side-curtain airbags/Safety Canopy
  • ControlTrac 4WD
  • Current List Price $1,425–$7,221
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.2) 40 reviews
  • Combined MPG 16-18
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Read About the 2003 Model 2003 Explorer Articles
  • Current List Price $723–$6,819
  • Consumer Rating
    (3.7) 99 reviews
  • Combined MPG 18-19
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Read About the 2002 Model 2002 Explorer Articles

1995–2001 Explorer

Redesigned in 1995
Showing the 2001 Ford Explorer

This Explorer was restyled to differentiate it from its truck predecessor. It rode on the same frame, but with extensive suspension revisions for improved ride on-road. The interior was redesigned, with more available features and dual airbags. Initially, the past generation’s V-6 engine was carried over, but an upgraded V-6 replaced it later in the run and a V-8 engine became optional for the first time. An electronically controlled automatic four-wheel-drive system became available.

  • Current List Price $410–$5,534
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.1) 17 reviews
  • Combined MPG 16-19
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Read About the 2001 Model 2001 Explorer Articles
  • Current List Price $495–$5,715
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.2) 36 reviews
  • Combined MPG 17-20
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

  • Current List Price $501–$5,229
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.4) 35 reviews
  • Combined MPG 16-20
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

  • Current List Price $265–$4,965
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.1) 32 reviews
  • Combined MPG 17-19
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Read About the 1998 Model 1998 Explorer Articles
  • Current List Price $131–$5,315
  • Consumer Rating
    (3.9) 17 reviews
  • Combined MPG 16-20
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Read About the 1997 Model 1997 Explorer Articles
Read About the 1996 Model 1996 Explorer Articles
  • Current List Price $724–$3,856
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.2) 8 reviews
  • Combined MPG 17-20
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Read About the 1995 Model 1995 Explorer Articles

1991–1994 Explorer

Redesigned in 1991

The first Explorer derived directly from the Ford Ranger pickup truck and was criticized for poor handling. Despite its truck roots, the upper trim levels, XLT and Limited, were nicely equipped, and the Explorer became the country’s best-selling SUV. The sole engine was a 4.0-liter V-6 with 160 horsepower. A four-speed automatic and a variety of four-wheel-drive systems were available, as were rear antilock brakes. No airbags were offered on this generation.

  • Current List Price $3–$4,639
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.4) 8 reviews
  • Combined MPG 18-20
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Read About the 1994 Model 1994 Explorer Articles
  • Current List Price $1,009–$5,245
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.8) 4 reviews
  • Combined MPG 19-20
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

Read About the 1993 Model 1993 Explorer Articles
  • Current List Price $955–$3,271
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.2) 9 reviews
  • Combined MPG 19
  • Body Styles:

    SUV

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