2017 Ford Explorer Review

Pros & Cons

  • Plenty of high-tech features that are easy to use
  • Optional turbocharged V6 engine delivers plentiful power
  • Cabin is quiet and comfortable on the highway
  • Cargo space is generous behind the third row
  • Depending on trim level, feels big and ponderous from behind the wheel
  • Legroom in the second and third rows is subpar
List Price Range
$17,375 - $37,990

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Which Explorer does Edmunds recommend?

Our favorite version of the 2017 Ford Explorer is easily the Sport. It eradicates the ponderousness of non-Sport versions while still maintaining excellent ride composure. The Sport doesn't compromise the Explorer's quiet demeanor either, despite its relatively low-profile 20-inch wheels. On top of that, its EcoBoost V6 is plenty powerful, though fuel economy could be better. Summer tires are optional on Sport models, and we recommend matching the tires to the season whenever possible — summer tires in rainy or dry conditions and dedicated winter tires when there's snow on the ground.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

Available with plenty of features and three distinctly different engines, the 2017 Ford Explorer has a lot to offer if you're shopping for a three-row crossover SUV. Its outstanding quietness and quality cabin trimmings elevate this practical do-all crossover to the front of the segment.

A household name among American carbuyers, the Ford Explorer has evolved from its long-ago roots as a body-on-frame SUV into the comprehensively modern three-row crossover it is today. Depending on trim level and options (and how deep your pockets are), it can be downright luxurious. Our preference for the Sport arises from the "drives big" nature of other non-Sport trim levels — though comfortable, the soft suspension and numb steering of non-Sport models make their driving experience oddly ponderous.

Aside from that, though, there is an awful lot to credit to the Explorer. You can configure an Explorer that keeps things relatively basic, or you can go all-in on luxury. Versatility is a strong suit, too. You have your choice of three engines. You can get it with a second-row bench or captain's chairs and option the second and/or third row with power-folding functionality. Lots of cargo space is standard.

What's it like to live with?

To learn more about the Ford Escape of this generation, read our updates from a full year and more than 20,000 miles of living with a 2017 Ford Escape SE. We cover everything from seat comfort to real-world reliability. We were impressed with the performance from the Escape's turbocharged 2.0-liter engine but think it falls short in many other areas. Get the full scoop from our long-term test.

2017 Ford Explorer models

The 2017 Ford Explorer seats six or seven passengers, depending on how you equip it. There are five trim levels: base, XLT, Limited, Sport and Platinum. Three engines are available, and all models are equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission. The Sport and Platinum have all-wheel drive only, while Base, XLT and Limited models are available in front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Base Explorers have the basics covered, but going up one notch to the XLT gets you a few extra features plus access to more desirable options. The Limited and Sport have similar features, while the Platinum tops off the Explorer line as the fully loaded trim.

Entry-level base models have the basics covered with their 3.5-liter V6 (290 horsepower, 255 pound-feet of torque), 18-inch wheels, rearview camera, cruise control, rear climate controls, a 60/40-split second-row seat, 50/50-split third-row seat, an eight-way power driver seat (with manual recline), a 4.2-inch dashboard display screen, Sync (Ford's voice-activated phone and entertainment interface), Bluetooth and a six-speaker sound system.

Going up one notch to the XLT trim adds a few features as standard, but the real draw is that it grants access to desirable options that aren't offered on base variants. We expect many buyers will find their needs met by an XLT with a few extra options added.

Base and XLT trims also offer an optional turbocharged 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (280 hp, 310 lb-ft of torque) engine. It's more fuel-efficient than the regular V6, but depending on how you drive, you might not realize a whole lot of savings. The V6 is our preferred choice of the two.

Limited models come with the turbo four-cylinder engine as standard (the V6 is optional) and add more comfort and convenience items such as leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, power-adjustable pedals, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, an 8-inch touchscreen display with the new Sync 3 interface, a nine-speaker sound system and power-folding third-row seats.

It's nice, but we prefer the more substantive changes ushered in by the Sport variant. It has most of the Limited's features but comes with a gutsy turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 (365 hp, 360 lb-ft of torque) and sport-oriented suspension tuning.

Likewise, range-topping Platinum trim levels are offered solely with the turbo V6 but not the unique suspension and steering tuning of Sport models. Platinum variants make standard the features offered as options on lesser trim levels. The result is the kitchen sink of comfort and driver assistance features to suit the most well-heeled buyers. Highlights include a panoramic sunroof, a parking assistance system, adaptive cruise control, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel and a 12-speaker Sony audio system. For the Platinum, a rear-seat entertainment system and power-folding second-row captain's chairs are optional.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Ford Explorer Sport (3.5L turbo V6; AWD; 6-speed automatic).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Explorer has received only revisions. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Explorer.


Unlike other models dubbed "Sport," the 2017 Explorer Sport is indeed sporty, thanks to its turbocharged 3.5-liter V6, stiffer suspension tuning, quicker steering and our test vehicle's optional summer performance tires. The result is lots of speed and impressive handling and braking.


There's lots of "boost," not much "eco," with the EcoBoost V6. Has instant, effortless power anytime you touch the gas pedal. The six-speed automatic is smooth and smart about using the 350 lb-ft of torque; 0-60 mph takes just 6.3 seconds, which is excellent for a big three-row crossover.


The brakes don't feel overly powerful, but they get the job done. The pedal has a nice linear action around town, and it's easy to stop smoothly. We recorded a remarkable stopping distance from 60 mph of 108 feet, thanks largely to the (optional) sticky summer tires.


Well-tuned electric steering system and natural assist level; it turns in with immediacy. Good heft at speed but light enough for parking-lot duty. Feedback could be improved, but overall it's excellent for this class.


The Sport's stiffer suspension and optional performance tires transform the Explorer. Body roll is kept to a minimum, the tires give good grip and it doesn't feel floaty. The suspension does a good job soaking up midcorner bumps, too.


The gas pedal can be a bit abrupt on initial tip-in. The optional adaptive cruise control is ultra-consistent and never varies by more than 1 mph; the transmission downshifts to maintain speed. Always-available power makes merging into fast traffic simple.


The Explorer Sport comes with all-wheel drive, including a four-position controller for the Terrain Management System, letting you toggle between Normal, Mud/Ruts, Sand and Grass/Gravel/Snow. Still, this is all for enhancing on-pavement traction, not conquering trails.


Given the 2017 Explorer Sport's handling prowess, we expected ride quality to suffer. We were wrong. Although it loses a small degree of overall plush compared to the regular Explorer, the tauter handling is worth the minor trade-off. The seats are comfy, except in the third row.

Seat comfort

The reasonably wide and flat front seats are cushy with good support. Nicely padded armrests. The optional second-row buckets have excellent comfort but no inner armrests. The third-row upper seatback is hard and has awkward outer armrests.

Ride comfort

The Sport's stiffer suspension tuning means you'll feel more bumps and ruts on the road than you will in a regular Explorer, but it's still pretty comfy. The 20-inch wheels make deep potholes harsh, but the suspension is surprisingly compliant given the improved handling.

Noise & vibration

A quiet SUV. The tires are unusually silent for their size and performance-bent. Wind noise is barely noticeable, too. At full throttle, the turbocharged V6 takes on a V8-like tonal quality.


We're glad Ford finally got rid of the touch-sensitive controls on the Explorer's center stack. We highly recommend the optional sliding second-row bucket seats — you lose a seat but gain comfort as well as better third-row access and space. Rear visibility is a problem.

Ease of use

All-new Sync 3 technology interface works far better than previous versions. Radio tuning uses a button; volume, a grippy knob. Handy, configurable gauge screens.

Getting in/getting out

The long and wide-opening front doors make for a big entryway. Noticeable step down from the second row; shorter-legged folks will brush their leg on the doorsill, but hitting heads is not an issue. Second-row captain's chairs make for easy third-row access.

Driving position

Most drivers will find it easy to get in a good position that feels comfortable and affords a good view. On the downside, once situated the armrests can be too far away for some to use comfortably.


Super airy up front, with a long dash, loads of headroom and elbow space. Second-row captain's chairs recline and, unlike the standard bench seat, slide fore and aft. Third-row headroom is good for average-size adults, but knee- and footroom are extremely tight.


Expansive windshield and tall windows. The windshield roof pillars are thick at the bottom, though, which hampers your ability to easily look through turns. The rear view is also limited by thick pillars. Getting the optional parking sensors and other driver safety aids will help out.


A well-made SUV. Plenty of soft-touch materials throughout the cabin; the steering wheel has quality leather; the trim pieces look good and fit together well. The only flaw we noticed was an occasional dash rattle that we couldn't pinpoint.


The cargo area's deep well is useful even if the total cargo volume isn't exceptional. There's a good variety of cabin storage overall.

Small-item storage

Anti-tip cupholders, long door pockets, a huge center console bin. The forward bin is covered but oddly shaped.

Cargo space

The deep well behind the third row provides a superior amount of space. The total capacity of 81.7 cubic feet is on the small end for the segment.

Child safety seat accommodation

Installing certain rear-facing child seats in the middle of the second row makes it difficult to use the outboard seat belts. Two child seats can fit easily in the outboard positions, but some seat manufacturers don't recommend using them in conjunction with Ford's optional inflatable seat belts.


Electronic trailer sway control and a Class III trailer tow package come standard on the Explorer Sport. Both the base V6 and this EcoBoost V6 are rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds, with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost at 3,000 pounds.


Overall4.5 / 5

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2017 Ford Explorer.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Great value
XLT 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
Costs thousands less than comparable cars from other companies. Roomy, comfortable, drives nice. Great for hauling kids, pets, and stuff around. Super in the winter snow. The XLT version with a few options get's you 99% of the higher priced versions at far less cost. The standard engine power is excellent - no reason to "upgrade". My only minor concerns are the drivers left foot room is limited by the wheel well, and access to the third row seat is clumsy but workable. Update 4/18: I have had the car for 18 months and 29,000 miles now. Nothing but oil changes! Great car, much better than the 2 Mercedes I owned previously. Update 10/18: 37,000 miles and zero repairs needed. Quiet, great power, good utility for kids and stuff. The modern day family station wagon, with all wheel drive for snow. Update 4/20 Over 50,000 miles now. Replaced the battery and cleaned up corroded battery cables, oil and filter changes, no problems. I don’t need a family sized car any longer, but keeping this one because it has been so good. Still looks new inside and out. Update 10/20: No problems, car works perfectly. Still like-new inside and out. I saw reports in the internet about power transfer unit (transfer case) fluid overheating and turning into sludge. I replaced my fluid DIY, which was easy. Owners should do this to prevent a problem.
Slick, quick, and legit
Platinum 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl Turbo 6A)
This SUV has it all. A punchy V6 that acts quickly and behaves as billed. It is fast and responsive! The torque is great. It's MPG is a bit underwhelming, but what it lacks in efficiency, it makes up in performance and agility. I've never been disappointed in the engine's performance when I have needed it. The ride is amazing as well. There is virtually no cabin noise, even at speed in excess of 70 mph on the highway. Parking this beast is a bit tedious. It does feel larger than it actually is, but the external sensors and radar gadgets make parking and maneuvering easy over time. The comfort and luxury of the cabin rivals that of much higher end SUVs. This cabin has it all; heating, cooling, massage, dual zone, memory seating, etc... The ride and driving experience is great. One big downer.. SYNC 3. It still misses on seamless integration and reliable operation. It seems clunky and at times, unresponsive. It also seems to affect the quick response of the vehicle's radar sensors. It's not horrible, but it is an annoyance. All in all, this SUV is insane! Our family cannot be more happy with it.
Traded my Escalade ESV Premium and MUCH HAPPIER
Jim Keys,02/06/2017
Platinum 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl Turbo 6A)
After frustration in owning 3 successive Escalades that had the ride of a broken tractor and the ergonomics of a cracked brick, I'm much happier with my Explorer Platinum. The ride is a world better, the human factors engineering is far better and the controls fit me naturally. At 6'6" I was concerned about headroom and shoulder room, but the Explorer comes through in spades. The ride is almost as good as my Lexus LS460 which was my favorite car ever. Despite the Cadillac dealer trying to always convince me that the Escalades shortcomings didn't matter, they mattered to me. After blowing out all 4 shocks of my 18-month old Escalade without hitting anything major. Dealer agreed they've had a lot of suspension problems. Sorry Cadillac, 3rd strike, you're out. Explorer is off to a great start.
Gas hog, small tank, some improvements needed.
XLT 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
I owned this car a year. It drives very nice, very much like a car. It has a bold look on the exterior which I like. The seats are very comfortable. The negatives are the rear seats, very hard to fold seats, takes a good hard yank and the rear seat is hard to access. The remote to start the car and unlock doors is very sensitive. I wish they would recess the panic button, it goes off very easy when I'm my pocket and my horn starts going crazy. I had a GMC Sierra 5.3 V8 crew cab truck before this car, My GMC averaged better gas mileage than the V6 in the explorer. Car has a small tank and gets between 280-300 miles a tank. I drove it 6,000 miles in the 1st year. This car has terrible resale value. The worse of any car I have ever ownwed. It has been in paint shop twice for paint bubbling and the learher seats started to seperate, both were covered under warranty. The vehicle is garage kept and had low miles so poor quality control to be having these defects. I would not recommend this car.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2017 Ford Explorer features & specs


Our experts like the Explorer models:

Collision Warning with Brake Support
Alerts the driver to an impending forward collision and pre-charges the brakes to shorten the stopping distance.
Lane Keeping System
Vibrates the steering wheel and reduces steering effort if the car veers toward the edge of its lane.
Blind-Spot Information System
Senses vehicles in adjacent lanes and illuminates a warning in the side mirrors.

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover16.4%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2017 Ford Explorer

Used 2017 Ford Explorer Overview

The Used 2017 Ford Explorer is offered in the following submodels: Explorer SUV. Available styles include XLT 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), XLT 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Sport 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl Turbo 6A), Platinum 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl Turbo 6A), Limited 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6A), and 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2017 Ford Explorer?

Price comparisons for Used 2017 Ford Explorer trim styles:

  • The Used 2017 Ford Explorer XLT is priced between $17,424 and$33,988 with odometer readings between 8692 and124335 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Ford Explorer Sport is priced between $24,999 and$37,990 with odometer readings between 16971 and82565 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Ford Explorer Limited is priced between $20,943 and$34,398 with odometer readings between 11445 and128443 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Ford Explorer Base is priced between $17,375 and$26,900 with odometer readings between 11937 and103079 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Ford Explorer Platinum is priced between $26,895 and$36,816 with odometer readings between 17869 and74243 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2017 Ford Explorers are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2017 Ford Explorer for sale near. There are currently 437 used and CPO 2017 Explorers listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $17,375 and mileage as low as 8692 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2017 Ford Explorer.

Can't find a used 2017 Ford Explorers you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Ford Explorer for sale - 1 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $8,338.

Find a used Ford for sale - 4 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $10,593.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford Explorer for sale - 2 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $22,197.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford for sale - 1 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $14,697.

Should I lease or buy a 2017 Ford Explorer?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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Check out Ford Explorer lease specials