The Ford Explorer is widely regarded as the catalyst that started America's love affair with the SUV back in the early 1990s. Certainly there were SUVs before the Explorer, but they were mostly utilitarian in nature. The Explorer was the first go-to SUV for the Everyman. Throughout its life, the Ford Explorer has delivered versatility, a reasonable amount of comfort, affordability and, perhaps most importantly, more style than a station wagon or minivan. New or used, the justifiably popular Explorer should be part of any serious SUV search.
Current Ford Explorer
The Ford Explorer is a large three-row SUV that can accommodate up to seven passengers. There are four trim levels: base, XLT, Limited and Sport.
Though even the base version comes well-equipped, moving up the list provides luxuries such as leather seating, the Sync voice command system, a rearview camera, keyless ignition/entry and upgraded audio systems. In addition to its potent engine, the Sport trim features a sport-tuned suspension as well as unique interior/exterior trim details. Optional highlights (depending on trim level) include a navigation system, a rear-seat entertainment system, adaptive cruise control, a heated steering wheel and even an automatic parallel-parking system. Stability control and a multitude of airbags are standard, with blind spot and collision warning systems available on upper trims.
A 3.5-liter 290-horsepower V6 is standard on all but the Sport trim, which comes with a turbocharged version good for 365 hp. Optional on all but the Sport is a fuel-efficient 2.0-liter, 240-hp turbocharged four-cylinder. All engines are hooked up to a six-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard on all but the Sport, which has all-wheel drive standard. The latter is optional for all other Explorers equipped with the 290-hp V6.
In reviews, we've found the Ford Explorer to be one of the best choices for a family-oriented SUV. It drives well, gets good fuel economy for its class and still retains the versatility that made people like SUVs in the first place. Fitted with most of its optional high-tech features, the Explorer is also one of the most advanced SUVs available, luxury brand or not. The Explorer's most notable downside is that it doesn't provide as much third-row and cargo space as some rival large crossover SUVs, and its MyFord Touch electronics interface can be finicky to use.
Read the most recent 2016 Ford Explorer review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Ford Explorer page.
For more on past Ford Explorer models, view our Ford Explorer history page.