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2019 Ford Explorer

What’s new

  • Minor changes to the availability of certain features among the various trim levels
  • Part of the fifth Explorer generation introduced for 2011

Pros & Cons

  • Quiet and comfortable cabin
  • Strong acceleration from optional turbocharged V6
  • Its infotainment and tech features are easy to use
  • Depending on trim level, feels big and ponderous from behind the wheel
  • Subpar legroom in the third row
  • Doesn't offer automatic emergency braking
MSRP Range
$32,365 - $54,165
MSRP Starting at
$32,365
MSRP Range
$32,365 - $54,165
MSRP Range
$32,365 - $54,165

Compare dealer price quotes
Select your model:
Compare dealer price quotes
MSRP Range
$32,365 - $54,165
MSRP Starting at
$32,365
MSRP Range
$32,365 - $54,165
MSRP Range
$32,365 - $54,165

Compare dealer price quotes
Select your model:
Compare dealer price quotes


Which Explorer does Edmunds recommend?

Without question, the Sport trim is the version of the Explorer we like best. It's one of the few ways to get the twin-turbocharged V6, which delivers power in spades. Plus, its suspension enhancements improve the Explorer's handling reflexes without making its ride quality punishing or noisy.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

The Explorer hasn't changed much since this generation's introduction in 2011, though it had a face-lift in 2016. But it still offers solid refinement, and its three engine offerings give it a lot of versatility. It's had to face increasingly stout competition as the years pile up. In the wash, the Explorer's tight third-row legroom and at-times ponderous routine handling stand out as drawbacks. On the plus side, the Explorer's list of tech-oriented features is long, yet it's user-friendly.

In Sport trim, the Explorer shines brightest. It handles significantly more sharply than lesser trim levels, which can feel detached and ponderous around town. We're also fans of the exceptionally powerful and refined twin-turbo V6, though it's reserved only for upper trim levels.

2019 Ford Explorer models

There are five different ways to configure your 2019 Ford Explorer: the base, XLT, Limited, Sport and Platinum trim levels, which cover a broad swath of features. The base, XLT and Limited models are available in front-wheel or all-wheel drive, while the Sport and Platinum are offered solely with all-wheel drive. Regardless of trim level, every Explorer is equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The base trim, predictably, sits at the very bottom of the Explorer range. Standard feature highlights include 18-inch wheels, a power-adjustable driver's seat, a rearview camera, a 4.2-inch central display, Bluetooth, a USB port and Ford's Sync voice command system. Under the hood is a non-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 (290 horsepower, 255 pound-feet of torque), while a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (280 hp, 310 lb-ft of torque) is available as an option.

The XLT trim level is one rung up the ladder, adding a few standard features over the base trim level such as a power-adjustable front passenger seat, satellite radio and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. There are two main option packages to consider with the XLT. The first is the Driver Connect package that includes an 8-inch central touchscreen with the Sync 3 interface, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and extra USB ports. You can also get a Ford Safe and Smart package that comes with blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane-keeping assist and automatic wipers.

Buyers who want to amp things up will be attracted to the Limited trim, which adds the features from the XLT's Driver Connect package plus leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, premium audio and power-folding third-row seats. Note that the Limited comes standard with the turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but you can still get the regular V6 if you want.

While those additional comfort items are desirable, we're partial to the Sport variant's more fundamental changes. These models come with a powerful turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 (365 hp, 350 lb-ft of torque), firmer suspension tuning and a towing package.

It's possible to get the turbocharged V6 paired to the softer suspension of non-Sport models by going for the top-of-the-line Platinum trim level. It comes with the Ford Safe and Smart package, a panoramic sunroof, power-adjustable pedals, an automated parking system, premium leather upholstery, a premium audio system and more.

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 Ford Explorer Sport (turbo 3.5L V6 | 6-speed automatic | AWD).

Scorecard

Overallundefined / 5

Driving

Unlike other models dubbed "Sport," the 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.

Acceleration

There's lots of "boost," not much "eco," with the EcoBoost V6. It 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.

Braking

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.

Steering

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.

Handling

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.

Drivability

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. The always available power makes merging into fast traffic simple.

Off-road

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 modes. Still, this is all for enhancing on-pavement traction, not conquering trails.

Comfort

Given the 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.

Interior

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

The Sync 3 technology interface works well. Radio tuning uses a button; volume gets a grippy knob. We like the configurable gauge cluster display 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 legs on the doorsill, but hitting heads is not an issue. The 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.

Roominess

Super airy up front, with a long dash, loads of headroom and elbow space. The second-row captain's chairs recline and, unlike the standard bench seat, they slide fore and aft, granting more third-row legroom and thus space for adults or big teens in all rows.

Visibility

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.

Quality

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

Utility

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.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2019 Ford Explorer.

5 star reviews: 68%
4 star reviews: 0%
3 star reviews: 20%
2 star reviews: 0%
1 star reviews: 12%
Average user rating: 4.1 stars based on 16 total reviews

Trending topics in reviews

  • interior
  • comfort
  • ride quality
  • appearance
  • oil
  • fuel efficiency
  • seats
  • handling & steering
  • infotainment system
  • towing
  • warranty
  • sound system
  • climate control
  • value
  • spaciousness
  • safety

Most helpful consumer reviews

3 out of 5 stars, Desert Copper Package
vince,
XLT 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I just bought a 2019 Ford Explorer with the Dessert Copper Special Trim Package. the copper colored center insert is pure junk. With only 300 miles the copper insert in the seats center is badly deformed. Lindsay Ford in Wheaton, Maryland tried to make this sound normal which it is not. Many other leather seats in my many other cars have never bagged out and deformed like this even after years of wear. Lindsay Ford is either not technically competent or outright dishonest. I have filed a complaint and am awaiting a response from Ford.

3 out of 5 stars, Transmission Failure
Keith Clem,
Sport 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl Turbo 6A)

I purchased my Ford Explorer Sport about a year ago and the transmission failed. Fortunately I was driving on a local street and not on a freeway as when it happened I came to a complete stop. I have 12,652 miles on this vehicle so warranty wil cover it but now I have a little anxiety it will happen again in a less convienent time and location so I will most likely trade it in for another vehicle.

5 out of 5 stars, Drive it! Dream it up!
JH,
4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

When you first see this vehicle, you would think it's to big to drive. The length and width of the SUV. I couldn't believe how smooth and studied the explorer was, the navigation system is wonderful, spacious seats, and luggage room. Also a gas saver I did a fill up twice it only took $36.75 to get from Alabama to Gulfport MS. I really enjoyed riding in the SUV, this will be my next own vehicle. Thanks Ford

5 out of 5 stars, My Platinum 2019 Explorer
Tom Hull,
Platinum 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl Turbo 6A)

The styling of the Explorer, I think is one of the best in the industry. Performance is spectacular. Trading up to the 2019 Platinum, from the 2014 Limited was a wonderful surprise. If anyone is considering a upgraded version of an SUV the Platinum Explorer is what I’d recommend.

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See all 16 reviews




Features & Specs

4dr SUV AWD features & specs
4dr SUV AWD
3.5L 6cyl 6A
MSRP$34,515
MPG 16 city / 22 hwy
SeatingSeats 7
Transmission6-speed shiftable automatic
Horsepower290 hp @ 6500 rpm
See all for sale
Sport 4dr SUV AWD features & specs
Sport 4dr SUV AWD
3.5L 6cyl Turbo 6A
MSRP$46,625
MPG 16 city / 22 hwy
SeatingSeats 7
Transmission6-speed shiftable automatic
Horsepower365 hp @ 5500 rpm
See all for sale
XLT 4dr SUV features & specs
XLT 4dr SUV
3.5L 6cyl 6A
MSRP$34,400
MPG 17 city / 24 hwy
SeatingSeats 7
Transmission6-speed shiftable automatic
Horsepower290 hp @ 6500 rpm
See all for sale
Limited 4dr SUV AWD features & specs
Limited 4dr SUV AWD
2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6A
MSRP$44,915
MPG 18 city / 25 hwy
SeatingSeats 7
Transmission6-speed shiftable automatic
Horsepower280 hp @ 5600 rpm
See all for sale
See all 2019 Ford Explorer features & specs

Safety

Our experts’ favorite Explorer safety features:

Collision Warning with Brake Support
Alerts the driver to an impending forward collision and precharges brakes to shorten 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 5 out of 5 stars

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.

Frontal Barrier Crash RatingRating
Overall5 / 5
Driver4 / 5
Passenger5 / 5
Side Crash RatingRating
Overall5 / 5
Side Barrier RatingRating
Overall5 / 5
Driver5 / 5
Passenger5 / 5
Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsRating
Front Seat5 / 5
Back Seat5 / 5
RolloverRating
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
Good
Roof Strength Test
Good
Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
Good
IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
Moderate Overlap Front Test
Good

Ford Explorer vs. the competition

Ford Explorer vs. Ford Escape

When a third row of seating isn't required, the Ford Escape is a natural alternative to the Explorer. Its tidier dimensions pay off in superior routine handling, though its cargo space isn't as large as the Explorer's. The Escape can even tow up to 3,500 pounds when equipped with the 2.0-liter engine, which you'll want for its power anyway.

Compare Ford Explorer & Ford Escape features

Ford Explorer vs. Toyota Highlander

The Highlander can seat eight passengers, but with less third-row passenger space and cargo room behind the third row than the Explorer. The Highlander does, however, come standard with driver aids such as adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking, which aren't offered on the base Explorer. You can get a fuel-efficient Highlander Hybrid version, too.

Compare Ford Explorer & Toyota Highlander features

Ford Explorer vs. Honda CR-V

One of the best compact crossovers you can buy, the Honda CR-V has more space for passengers and cargo than you might expect. Sure, the Explorer is larger, but if you don't have a need for a third-row seat, the CR-V might fit the bill. It'll save you money up front and in running costs since the CR-V is reasonably miserly with fuel. The power from its turbocharged engine is more than adequate, too.

Compare Ford Explorer & Honda CR-V features
FAQ
Is the Ford Explorer a good car?
The Edmunds experts tested the 2019 Explorer both on the road and at the track. Edmunds’ consumer reviews show that the 2019 Explorer gets an average rating of 4 stars out of 5 (based on 16 reviews) You probably care about Ford Explorer fuel economy, so it's important to know that the Explorer gets an EPA-estimated 18 mpg to 22 mpg, depending on the configuration. What about cargo capacity? When you're thinking about carrying stuff in your new car, keep in mind that the Explorer has 21.0 cubic feet of trunk space. And then there's safety and reliability. Edmunds has all the latest NHTSA and IIHS crash-test scores, plus industry-leading expert and consumer reviews to help you understand what it's like to own and maintain a Ford Explorer. Learn more
What's new in the 2019 Ford Explorer?

According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2019 Ford Explorer:

  • Minor changes to the availability of certain features among the various trim levels
  • Part of the fifth Explorer generation introduced for 2011
Learn more
Is the Ford Explorer reliable?
To determine whether the Ford Explorer is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the Explorer. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the Explorer's 4-star average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more
Is the 2019 Ford Explorer a good car?
There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 2019 Ford Explorer is a good car. Our consumer reviews show that the 2019 Explorer gets an average rating of 4 stars out of 5 (based on 16 reviews). Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 2019 Explorer is a good car for you. Learn more
How much should I pay for a 2019 Ford Explorer?

The least-expensive 2019 Ford Explorer is the 2019 Ford Explorer 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $32,365.

Other versions include:

  • 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) which starts at $34,515
  • Sport 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl Turbo 6A) which starts at $46,625
  • XLT 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A) which starts at $34,400
  • Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6A) which starts at $44,915
  • XLT 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) which starts at $36,550
  • Limited 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6A) which starts at $42,765
  • Platinum 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl Turbo 6A) which starts at $54,165
  • 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A) which starts at $32,365
Learn more
What are the different models of Ford Explorer?
If you're interested in the Ford Explorer, the next question is, which Explorer model is right for you? Explorer variants include 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Sport 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl Turbo 6A), XLT 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), and Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6A). For a full list of Explorer models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more

More about the 2019 Ford Explorer

The 2019 Ford Explorer is a competitive midsize three-row crossover SUV that, while aging, still has a lot to offer. It is available in a variety of trim levels that can be fortified with a range of optional features. It can be configured with your choice of three engines depending on the trim level.

The 2019 Explorer is offered in base, XLT, Limited, Sport and Platinum trim levels, and they truly run the gamut in terms of features and hardware. The base-level Explorer comes with a 3.5-liter V6 that is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. It's definitely the value-priced version, with cloth upholstery, manual climate control and a single USB port. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine is optional. Otherwise, options on the base version of the Explorer are largely centered around accessories, though there's a choice of two towing packages.

It's not a large leap up to the XLT trim level, which adds a few items plus access to a lot more optional features that aren't available on base variants. Two options packages each include a host of interior comfort and convenience items such as Sync 3, remote starting, dual-zone climate control, a hands-free tailgate and a premium audio system. It's likely that the bulk of buyers will skip the base version in favor of an XLT or higher trim level.

The Limited trim level brings more luxury-oriented appointments such as perforated leather seats, a heated steering wheel and a power-folding third-row seat. Sport models, meanwhile, introduce a powerful twin-turbo V6 into the equation, plus a sport-tuned suspension and 20-inch wheels. It's the version we favor most, although it comes at a significantly greater price tag than base versions. All Sport models are equipped with all-wheel drive.

At the top of the Explorer range is the aptly named Platinum trim level, which is loaded with nearly every item that's optional on lesser models, and then some. Platinum models come with premium leather upholstery, a powerful sound system and an enormous panoramic sunroof.

Although the top of the Explorer range can get expensive, the variety of trim levels and configurations available means there's one that's right for you. As always, Edmunds' outstanding car-shopping tools were designed to make your search process as smooth and informative as it can be.

2019 Ford Explorer Overview

The 2019 Ford Explorer is offered in the following submodels: Explorer SUV. Available styles include 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Sport 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl Turbo 6A), XLT 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6A), XLT 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Limited 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Platinum 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl Turbo 6A), and 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A).

What do people think of the 2019 Ford Explorer?

Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2019 Ford Explorer and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2019 Explorer 4.1 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2019 Explorer.

Edmunds Expert Reviews

Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2019 Ford Explorer and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2019 Explorer featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

Our Review Process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

What's a good price for a New 2019 Ford Explorer?
Which 2019 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) 2019 Ford Explorer for sale near. There are currently 4 new 2019 Explorers listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $37,545 and mileage as low as null miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap 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 2019 Ford Explorer.

Can't find a new 2019 Ford Explorers you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a new Ford Explorer for sale - 4 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $20,742.

Find a new Ford for sale - 1 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $22,327.

Why trust Edmunds?

Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.

Should I lease or buy a 2019 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.

Check out Ford lease specials