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Refreshed 2025 Ford Explorer Receives a Ton of Updates (Including BlueCruise)

Now capable of hands-free driving

2025 Ford Explorer front
  • The Explorer is heavily refreshed for 2025.
  • It debuts a new Android-based infotainment system.
  • It will feature improved materials and dashboard layout.

The 2025 Ford Explorer proves that not all refreshes are created equal, as the updates to the three-row midsize SUV include an extensive reworking of the interior (up front at least), added equipment to enhance value, and the debut of an infotainment system that's new to the Ford lineup. These changes address some of the issues that the previous Explorer faced as it tried to stay afloat in a fast-moving, hypercompetitive segment.

This is the first major update to the Explorer since a 2020 redesign that shifted the Explorer onto a rear-wheel-drive platform, as opposed to the front-drive-based setups that underpin the vast majority of the Explorer's competitors. This gives the Ford some distinction when it comes to driving dynamics, but it also makes for more cramped quarters in the rear of the vehicle to get the packaging to work. That's an issue that won't be resolved without another platform change, but there's still plenty of new content that improves the Explorer's prospects.

For 2025, the Explorer's trim levels have shrunk from eight to four: Active, ST-Line, Platinum and the performance-oriented ST. The base price has gone up, thanks to additional standard equipment and the elimination of the previous entry-level trim. Active models start at $41,220 (all prices include destination charges), followed by the ST-Line ($45,980) and Platinum ($53,120). That leaves the ST as the new most expensive member of the group, starting at $56,800.

2025 Ford Explorer ST front

Familiar engines underhood

Engine options remain unchanged. The base engine for most of the Explorer's trims remains a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder that makes 300 hp and a nearly matching 310 lb-ft of torque. Standard on the ST and available on the Platinum is a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that makes a much more exciting 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard across the board, with all-wheel drive available. A 10-speed automatic is the only transmission option and Ford says that it has been recalibrated, but we'll wait to render judgment on that front until we have a chance to drive the updated Explorer.

2025 Ford Explorer interior

A revamped interior

Ford has completely redone the Explorer's dashboard, pushing it toward the hood to free up a bit more space and make the front passenger area feel much more open. (Second- and third-row passengers aren't as lucky and their quarters remain cramped.) There's also a pair of new standard screens: a 12.3-inch instrument cluster display and a 13.2-inch touchscreen (more on that later). Below the screens is a new storage shelf wide enough to fit two phones. That's also where the optional wireless charging pad resides. Interior quality seems to have improved as well, with an increased use of soft-touch materials at key touchpoints. Though things are nicer, the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade still offer more luxurious interiors in this class.

2025 Ford Explorer touchscreen

Improved tech offerings

Technology represents the Explorer's biggest addition in this refresh, and it's the type of overhaul that would normally come along in a redesign or a brand-new model. The 2025 Explorer is the first Ford to come with the Ford Digital Experience infotainment system (another version has appeared in Lincoln vehicles). The new Android-based system makes Google Maps its native navigation application and utilizes Google Assistant for voice commands. There's also the option to use Alexa to connect to home devices as needed.

The system offers the ability to also display Google Maps in the instrument cluster, whether it's being used within the native system or via Android Auto/Apple CarPlay (wireless connectivity for both is also standard). And it allows access to the vehicle-specific version of the Google Play store, which also includes some Ford-specific apps like a driving game.

If the complete overhaul wasn't enough for tech additions, Ford's BlueCruise hands-free driving system will also be available for the first time on the Explorer. It will be running version 1.2 of the system, which offers lane change assist (automatically changes lanes if the driver bumps the turn signal stalk) and in-lane repositioning, which will subtly shift the vehicle away from vehicles in other lanes. Adaptive cruise control is also newly standard, increasing the Explorer's value proposition.

2025 Ford Explorer interior

Edmunds says

The refreshed Explorer's upgraded materials and technology features give it fresh appeal, immediately fixing some important issues that needed to be addressed. Its cabin remains on the smaller side for this segment, so if space is a priority, some competitors will better serve you.