Ford explorer sport

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Be Smart, Check in Advance. CARFAX — Your Vehicle History.

CARFAX — Your Vehicle History Expert

Sometimes what you don't know can't hurt you, but that's not the case when buying a used car. As an independent vehicle history provider, at CARFAX we've made it our mission to tell you everything you need to know by uncovering as many events as possible from the previous life of a used car. Our primary goal is to help you get to know your next car from the inside out before deciding to make an investment that will be part of you and your family's everyday life. We believe your next car shouldn't be hiding anything from you.

CARFAX Vehicle History Reports contain over 28 billion historical records from 20 European countries, the US and Canada, which are updated daily with new information.

Even if you live in a country we don't collect vehicle data from, it's still always worth checking the Vehicle Identification Number without obligation. The used car import and export market is booming and many owners would be surprised to find out exactly what happened to their vehicle during its previous life abroad.

Privacy for Customers — Transparency over Vehicles

Let's be clear: Although we strive to find every detail of a vehicle's life so far, we are focused only on the vehicle's history, and do not collect any information on previous owners. The information we provide relates solely to the vehicle, its odometer reading, any accidents that have been covered up, where the vehicle comes from and much more — it never gets personal. We've uncovered irreparable damage several times in the past, but other times our vehicle history checks draw a blank — and sometimes that's actually a good thing.

Second Hand — Not Second Best

Did you know that considerably more used cars are sold than new cars? We think this second-hand system is nothing short of fantastic. However, it goes without saying that it gives rise to different methods and tactics: Some sellers will disguise a car that's been in an accident under a fresh coat of paint, tamper with the odometer or conceal theft. This is one of the less appealing aspects of buying second hand. Our goal is to establish trusting relationships between buyers and sellers, since this is the best way to help customers make the right decision. Your new car should be reliable and make you feel safe, as well as make you feel like you haven't paid too much.

But more than anything else, we don't want you or your family unknowingly sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle that isn't 100% safe. This is why we strive to take these vehicles off the road, which not only makes the used car market safer but our streets safer too.

CARFAX — 35+ Years of Experience in Vehicle Histories

CARFAX was founded in the US in 1984 and expanded into Europe in 2007. Around 100 team members spread across six European offices process vehicle information from 22 countries.

Fostering strategic partnerships with registration authorities, law enforcement agencies, government departments, insurance companies, inspection centers and numerous other leading companies around the world has enabled us to compile a unique international database for vehicle histories. We use this database to help make the used car market more transparent. We give everyone in the process of buying a used car access to what is currently the world's most comprehensive source for vehicle history reports, and is growing day by day.

We remain neutral and independent despite our partnerships — our sole purpose is help customers make an informed choice and ensure their safety and the safety of their family. This includes never collecting any personal details — we do not accept any PII from data sources amongst the information we provide about a vehicle. We ensure that data protection laws are observed at all times. Furthermore, we always collect our data in compliance with legal and regulatory frameworks — in all the countries in which we are active. We expressly distance ourselves from illegal activities such as data theft, scraping and hacking.



If you're shopping for a new mid-size SUV for 2021, Ford is hoping that its Explorer will make its way to your driveway. It offers three rows of seats and plentiful room for hauling cargo, and it comes equipped with much of the connectivity and safety features that are on most buyers wish lists. The base and XLT models come standard with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is optional. Optional is a hybrid powertrain, and the top-spec Platinum and sporty ST models come with a twin-turbo V-6. Overall, the Explorer is a decent choice, but rivals such as the Kia Telluride, the Hyundai Palisade, and the Mazda CX-9 offer more polish.

What's New for 2021?

Ford has made a few tweaks to its mid-size crossover for 2021, such as making heated seats standard on the XLT, offering a heated steering wheel as an optional feature on that model, and including an eight-way power-adjustable front passenger's seat on the Limited, ST, and Platinum models. A Sport Appearance package is now available on the XLT trim, and it includes 20-inch aluminum wheels that are coated in Carbonized Gray paint. In addition to the upgraded wheels, the package also brings a mesh grille with Carbonized Gray accents as well as unique lower-body cladding, dual exhaust outlets, Light Slate–colored interior upholstery, faux skid plates, and more. A new cargo organizer is optional on XLT, Limited, and ST models; the Platinum trim receives this feature as standard. A high-end King Ranch trim joins the lineup and features unique mahogany-colored leather upholstery; a sporty Enthusiast ST trim is also new for 2021 and provides the performance of the more expensive ST trim with less features and a lower price. Off-road enthusiasts may find the new Timberline trim interesting; it features a lifted suspension, all-terrain tires, and more rugged exterior styling cues. The hybrid powertrain is now available on the Platinum trim and, speaking of Platinum, buyers can now order a rear-wheel drive version of the Explorer's top trim. Ford also says an all-electric variant of the Explorer is on the way, but we don't expect to see that until at least the 2022 model year.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

We think the mid-level Limited model is the best Explorer for the money. While the hybrid makes sense for people who can take advantage of its lofty EPA-rated city mpg, we found the standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine to be sufficiently potent and more efficient on the highway. It can tow a sizeable 5300 pounds when equipped with the towing package. We'd also add all-wheel drive for $1920. Apart from that, we think the Limited trim's desirable standard features should suffice. These include a 12-speaker B&O audio system, 20-inch wheels, a heated and power-adjustable steering wheel, leather upholstery, a power-folding third row, and upgraded driver assists such as adaptive cruise control.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

Base, XLT, and Limited trims come with a 300-hp turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, and it motivates the Explorer with authority. The lead-foot drivers among us will prefer either the Platinum model, with its 365-hp twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6, or the sporty Explorer ST, which uses a 400-hp version of the same engine. A hybrid joined the Explorer lineup for 2020. It pairs a 3.3-liter V-6 engine with an electric motor for a combined output of 318 horsepower. When properly equipped, the Explorer can tow up to 5600 pounds. The Explorer rides on an all-new rear-wheel-drive platform, but all-wheel drive is still optional. A 10-speed automatic transmission is standard across the board. Ride and handling are agreeable and composed but far from entertaining; the Explorer ST is far more athletic, and its extra power and stiffer suspension make it a real performance SUV.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

Due to its myriad powertrain and drivetrain combinations, the 2021 Explorer has varying EPA fuel-economy ratings. The rear-drive hybrid model is rated as the thriftiest overall, with estimates of up to 27 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. Adding all-wheel drive reduces the hybrid's ratings by 3 and 4 mpg, respectively. We tested one on our 200-mile highway route, where it managed only 24 mpg. Comparatively, the 400-hp Explorer ST earned 25 mpg in our testing, which beat its EPA rating by 1. We also tested the four-cylinder Explorer with all-wheel drive. The government estimates that version will earn 20 mpg city and 27 highway; we saw 28 mpg.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

While the interior design may border on uninspired, the Explorer's cabin is functional and comfortable—at least for those in the first two rows. Getting into the standard third row is now easier thanks to a new mechanism that moves the second-row seat out of the way at the touch of a button. Once back there, however, older kids and adults will find that the seat is too close to the floor to be comfortable. Rivals such as the Chevy Traverse and the Volkswagen Atlas provide more comfort in the third row. We managed to fit four carry-on suitcases behind the Ford's third row, and we fit a total of 31 bags with both back rows folded flat.

Infotainment and Connectivity

An 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment is standard and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability and a Wi-Fi hotspot. The system is both attractive and responsive but not as intuitive as we'd like. A rotatory controller would help in that regard. To get the optional 10.1-inch vertically oriented screen, you'll need to upgrade to either the Platinum or ST. Still, every model is available with voice-activated navigation as well as a rear-seat entertainment system. Apart from the base Explorer, a 12-speaker B&O audio system comes standard.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

The 2021 Explorer received a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) but missed out on a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) due to a merely Acceptable score in the small-overlap front crash test. Ford outfits every Explorer with a host of standard driver-assistance technology and offers upgrades such as self-parking assist. Key safety features include:

  • Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
  • Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross-traffic alert
  • Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Ford provides wholly average limited and powertrain warranties that align with most competitors' plans. However, the company doesn't provide the complimentary maintenance that Toyota and Chevy do.

  • Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
  • No complimentary scheduled maintenance



2020 Ford Explorer ST

front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 6-passenger, 4-door hatchback

$62,020 (base price: $55,835)

twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, iron-and-aluminum block and aluminum heads,  direct fuel injection
180 in3, 2956 cm3
400 hp @ 5500 rpm
415 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm

10-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

Suspension (F/R): multilink/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 14.3-in vented disc/13.8-in vented disc
Tires: Michelin Latitude Sport 3, 275/45R-21 107Y

Wheelbase: 119.1 in
Length: 199.3 in
Width: 78.9 in
Height: 70.2 in
Passenger volume: 149 ft3
Cargo volume: 18 ft3
Curb weight: 4853 lb

60 mph: 5.2 sec
100 mph: 13.3 sec
140 mph: 35.0 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 5.9 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.2 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.8 sec
¼-mile: 13.8 sec @ 101 mph
Top speed (govenor limited): 146 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 161 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad*: 0.86 g

Observed: 21 mpg

Combined/city/highway: 20/18/24 mpg 


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Ford Explorer

Range of SUVs manufactured by Ford Motor Company

For the Explorer-based pickup truck, see Ford Explorer Sport Trac.

Motor vehicle

The Ford Explorer is a range of SUVs manufactured by Ford Motor Company since the 1991 model year. The first four-door SUV produced by Ford, the Explorer was introduced as a replacement for the two-door Bronco II. Within the current Ford light truck range, the Explorer is slotted between the Ford Edge and Ford Expedition. As with the Ford Ranger, the Explorer derives its name from a trim package previously offered on the Ford F-Series pickup trucks.

Currently in its sixth generation, the Explorer has been offered with multiple chassis and powertrain layouts. The first two generations were directly derived from the Ford Ranger, switching to a model-specific chassis for the third and fourth generations. The fifth generation was repackaged as a CUV, adopting a variant of the Ford Taurus chassis architecture (developed for SUV use).

Alongside the five-door Explorer wagon, a three-door Explorer wagon was offered from 1991 to 2003, serving as the direct replacement of the Bronco II; the 2001-2010 Ford Explorer Sport Trac was a crew-cab pickup derived from the model line. For police use, the Ford Police Interceptor Utility has been derived from the fifth and sixth-generation Explorer to replace Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (and the later Taurus-based Police Interceptor Sedan). Through rebranding, Mazda, Mercury, and Lincoln have sold versions of the Explorer; Lincoln currently markets the sixth-generation model line as the Lincoln Aviator.

The first four generations of the Explorer were produced by Ford at its Louisville Assembly Plant (Louisville, Kentucky) and at its now-closed St. Louis Assembly Plant (Hazelwood, Missouri); the model line is now currently produced at Chicago Assembly (Chicago, Illinois).

In 2020, CNBC reported the Ford Explorer range as the best selling SUV of all time in America.[3]

First generation (UN46; 1991 - 1994)[edit]

Motor vehicle

First generation (UN46)
1994 Ford Explorer Sport front 7.28.18.jpg

First-generation Ford Explorer Sport

Also calledMazda Navajo
ProductionFebruary 15, 1990[4] – November 1994[5][6]
Model years1991–1994
AssemblyUnited States: Louisville, Kentucky (Louisville Assembly Plant); St. Louis, Missouri (St. Louis Assembly)
Venezuela: Valencia, Carabobo (Valencia Assembly)
Body style3-door SUV
5-door SUV
LayoutFront engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
RelatedFord Ranger
Engine4.0 L OHV CologneV6
Transmission5-speed M5OD-R1manual
4-speed A4LDautomatic
Wheelbase3-door: 102.1 in (2,593 mm)
5-door: 111.9 in (2,842 mm)
Length3-door: 174.5 in (4,432 mm)
5-door: 184.3 in (4,681 mm)
Width70.2 in (1,783 mm)
Height3-door: 67.5 in (1,714 mm)
5-door: 67.3 in (1,709 mm)
Eddie Bauer: 68.3 in (1,735 mm)

The first-generation Ford Explorer was introduced in March 1990 as a 1991 model-year vehicle. While again sharing a visual commonality with the Ford Ranger, the Explorer differed significantly from its Bronco II predecessor, becoming a family-oriented vehicle with off-road capability.[7] In a significant design change, a five-door body style joined the model line, competing against the Jeep Cherokee and Chevrolet S-10 Blazer (the Explorer and five-door S-10 Blazer were introduced within a month of each other).

To further attract family buyers, Ford aerodynamically optimized the passenger compartment of the Explorer, adopting flush-mounted glass and wraparound doors; a wider body allowed for three-across rear seating. To optimize cargo space, the traditional swing-away spare tire carrier was deleted in favor of an underfloor location. Similar to the Ford Taurus station wagon, the rear liftgate was fitted with a flip-up rear window.


As with the Bronco II, the first-generation Explorer (design code UN46) shares its chassis underpinnings with the 1983-1992 Ford Ranger. The three-door version uses a 102.1-inch wheelbase (8.1 inches longer than the Bronco II); the five-door uses a 111.9 wheelbase (17.9 inches longer).


The Explorer was introduced with a 155 hp 4.0 L Cologne V6, replacing the 2.9L V6 of the Bronco II; the engine was shared with the Ford Aerostar and the Ranger. A Mazda M5OD 5-speed manual was the standard transmission offering, with the option of the Ford 4-speed A4LD overdrive automatic transmission. For 1993, the engine output was increased to 160 hp (119 kW).

Along with the standard rear-wheel drive powertrain, at its launch, the Explorer was also offered with various configurations of part-time four-wheel drive, powered by a Borg Warner 13–54 transfer case. The "Touch Drive" electric-shift transfer case was standard (shared with the Ranger and the previous Bronco II); it allowed the vehicle to be shifted from two-wheel drive into high-range 4x4 drive (at any speed) and into low-range 4x4 (when stopped). As an option, the Explorer was also offered with a manual-shift transfer case (the option was paired with manual-locking hubs).[7]

All Explorers were equipped with the Ford 8.8 axle in either a limited-slip differential or open version; multiple rear-axle ratios could be specified. Four-wheel-drive front axles were the TTB ("Twin Traction Beam") Dana 35 with some Dana 44-spec components; 4x2 models shared Twin I-Beam components with the Ranger.


Shifting into the midsize SUV size class,[2] the Explorer is far larger than the Bronco II. In comparison to its predecessor, the three-door Explorer is 12.6 inches longer and 2.2 inches wider; a five-door Explorer is 22.4 inches longer and 730 pounds heavier than the Bronco II.[2]

Again sharing a front fascia with the Ford Ranger (including front bumper, fenders, headlamps, wheels, and grille), the passenger compartment of the Explorer underwent major upgrades over its predecessor. Alongside the addition of a five-door body style, the body underwent multiple aerodynamic upgrades; the Explorer received its own door stampings, eliminating exterior drip rails (wrapping the doors onto the roof) and bracket-mount side-view mirrors (replaced by ones integrated onto the doors). In what would become a design feature of the model line, the B-pillar and D-pillars were blacked out (visually lowering the vehicle).

The interior of the Explorer shared its dashboard with the Ranger in its entirety. In line with its own door stampings, the Explorer received model-specific door panels and interior trim. Five passenger seating was standard; on five-door versions, a front split-bench seat was offered as an option, expanding seating to six.[7][8] On three-door vehicles, four-passenger seating was standard, with front bucket seats and a split-folding rear bench.


1992 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer
1994 Ford Explorer Sport rear

In line with other Ford light trucks, the five-door Explorer offered two primary trim levels. The XL served as the base-level trim with XLT serving as the higher-range trim. Sharing the features of the XLT, the outdoors-themed Eddie Bauer was the highest-range trim. The XL was distinguished by a black grille (chrome optional) with steel wheels, while the XLT offered a chrome grille and alloy wheels; the Eddie Bauer offered alloy wheels and two-tone paintwork.

Alongside its five-door counterpart, the three-door Explorer offered the XL trim and Eddie Bauer trims. In place of the XLT trim, the three-door offered the Sport trim, distinguished by its black lower bodywork, grille, and standard alloy wheels.[7][8] From 1991 to 1994, the Sport-trim three-door Explorer was rebranded as the Mazda Navajo (see below); the 1991 Navajo became the first SUV to win the Motor TrendTruck of the Year award.[9]

For 1994, Ford introduced the Explorer Limited as a luxury-trim version of the model line.[8] Largely intended as a competitor for the Oldsmobile Bravada, the Limited was a five-door vehicle that equipped with nearly every available feature of the model line (the only available options were a sunroof, compact disc player, and towing package[8]). The Limited standardized several optional features introduced for the 1994 Explorer, including an anti-theft system, keyless entry, and automatic headlights.[8] In contrast to the two-tone Eddie Bauer, the Limited was styled with a monochromatic exterior, including a color-matched grille, headlight trim, and bumpers; the alloy wheels and lower bodywork were also model-specific.

Second generation (UN105/150; 1995 - 2001)[edit]

Motor vehicle

Second generation (UN105/UN150)
1998 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0L, front 11.22.19.jpg
Also calledFord Explorer Sport (3-door)
ProductionNovember 1994 – December 2000[10]
November 1994–July 2003 (Explorer Sport)
Model years1995–2001 (5-door)
1995–2003 (3-door)
AssemblyUnited States: Louisville, Kentucky (Louisville Assembly Plant); St. Louis, Missouri (St. Louis Assembly)
Venezuela: Valencia, Carabobo (Valencia Assembly)
DesignerBob Aikins (1992)
Body style3-door SUV (1995–2003)
5-door SUV (1995–2001)
LayoutFront engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
RelatedFord Explorer Sport Trac
Mercury Mountaineer
Engine4.0 L CologneOHVV6 (1995–2000)
4.0 L CologneSOHC V6 (1997–2003)
4.9 L small blockOHVV8 (1996–2001)
Transmission5-speed M5OD-R1manual (4.0 L OHV)
5-speed M5OD-R1HD (2001–2003 Explorer Sport)
4-speed 4R55Eautomatic (4.0 L 1995–1996)
4-speed 4R70Wautomatic (V8 models)
5-speed 5R55Eautomatic (4.0 L 1997–2001)
Wheelbase1995–97 5-door: 111.5 in (2,832 mm)
1998–2001 5-door: 111.6 in (2,835 mm)
1995–99 3-door: 101.7 in (2,583 mm)
2000–03 3-door: 101.8 in (2,586 mm)
Length1995–2001 5-door: 190.7 in (4,844 mm)
1995–97 3-door: 178.6 in (4,536 mm)
1998–99 3-door: 180.8 in (4,592 mm)
2000–03 3-door: 180.4 in (4,582 mm)
Width70.2 in (1,783 mm)
Height67.0–68.3 in (1,702–1,735 mm)

For the 1995 model year, Ford released a second generation of the Explorer. Following the success of the first generation, the redesign of the exterior was largely evolutionary, with the model line receiving front bodywork distinct from the Ranger. Rear-wheel drive remained standard, with four-wheel drive offered as an option; all-wheel drive was also introduced as an option.

To better compete against the Jeep Grand Cherokee, a 4.9 litres (302 cu in) V8 was introduced as an optional engine. The Explorer went from lacking airbags to having dual airbags (a first for an American-brand SUV).

For 1997, the Lincoln-Mercury division introduced its first SUV, the Mercury Mountaineer; in contrast to the Mazda Navajo, the Mountaineer was sold only as a five-door. For 2001, Ford introduced the Ford Explorer Sport Trac mid-size crew-cab pickup truck based on the five-door Explorer. Following the introduction of the third-generation Explorer for 2002, the three-door used the second-generation bodystyle through the 2003 model year.


The second-generation Ford Explorer is based upon the Ford U1 platform shared with its predecessor, adopting the UN105/UN150 model codes. Introducing key chassis upgrades that were also shared with the 1998 Ford Ranger, the long-running Twin I-Beam/Twin Traction Beam front suspension was retired in favor of a short/long-arm (SLA) wishbone front suspension configuration. Along with more compact packaging of front suspension components (allowing for a lower hoodline), the design allowed for improved on-road handling/feel. In line with the Ranger and F-Series trucks, the rear suspension remained a leaf-sprung live rear axle.[11]

The standard four-wheel ABS of the previous generation returned; the rear drum brakes were replaced by disc brakes.[11] As with the first generation, rear-wheel drive remained standard with part-time four-wheel drive as an option; all-wheel drive became an option for the first time.


1995-1996 Ford Explorer XLT V8

The second generation Explorer carried over its 160 hp 4.0 L V6 from the previous generation (shared with the Ranger and Aerostar). For 1996, largely to match the V8 engine offerings of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Land Rover Discovery, a 210 hp (157 kW) 4.9 litres (302 cu in) V8 (marketed as 5.0 L) was introduced as an option for rear-wheel drive XLT five-doors. By 1997, the V8 was offered with nearly all trims (except XL[11]) and was paired with all-wheel drive; output was increased to 215 hp (160 kW) (from revised cylinder heads).

For 1997, a third engine was added to the model line, as Ford introduced an overhead-cam version of the 4.0 L Cologne V6. Differing from its predecessor primarily by its single overhead-cam drivetrain, the 210 hp engine rivaled the V8 in output. Introduced as standard equipment for Eddie Bauer and Limited trims, by 1998, the engine became offered on all non-XL trims.[11] For 2001, the overhead-valve version of the 4.0 L V6 was discontinued, with the SOHC engine becoming standard (and the only engine of the Explorer Sport).

Following the introduction of the overhead-cam Triton-series V8s for the 1997 Ford F-Series and E-Series, the 2001 Explorer would be the final Ford Motor Company vehicle in North America sold with an overhead-valve gasoline-powered V8 engine for nearly two decades (until the 2020 introduction of the 7.3 L Godzilla V8 for Super Duty trucks).

For 2000, Ford added flex-fuel capability to the Explorer for the first time.

A Mazda-produced 5-speed manual was standard with the 4.0 L OHV V6 engine; the SOHC V6 was not offered with a manual transmission until 2000, receiving a heavier-duty version of the Mazda-sourced 5-speed. The V6 Explorers initially received a 4-speed automatic, shared with the Ranger and Aerostar, adopting a 5-speed automatic for 1997. The 4.9 litres (302 cu in) V8 was paired only with a 4-speed heavy-duty automatic (shared with the F-150, Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis, and Lincoln Mark VIII).

For the second-generation Explorer, the four-wheel drive system underwent a redesign. The previous Touch-Drive system (electrically-operated) was retired and replaced by ControlTrac, an electronically controlled full-time four-wheel drive system with a two-speed transfer case; in place of a center differential, software-controlled a multi-disc clutch. Similar to the previous push-button Touch-Drive system, a rotary dash selector was used for driver input, selecting two-wheel drive (rear wheels), and four-wheel drive (high and low range). As an intermediate mode, "Auto" mode allowed software to control the torque sent to the front wheels; if the front axle began to spin, torque was shifted from the rear wheels to the front wheels until traction is achieved. As a result of low demand from the first generation, manual hubs and manual transfer cases were withdrawn as an option.

Similar to the system used on the Aerostar van, the V8 Explorer used a full-time all-wheel drive system without separate high or low ranges. The all-wheel drive required no driver input; torque distribution was entirely managed by a viscous clutch with a 40/60 split.

Engine Production Configuration Power Torque Transmission Transfer Case
Ford Cologne V61995-2000 245 cu in (4.0 L) OHV 12V V6 160 hp (119 kW) 220 lb⋅ft (298 N⋅m) 5-speed manual (Mazda M5OD-R1)

4-speed automatic (Ford 4R55E); 1995-1996

5-speed automatic (Ford 5R55E); 1997-2000

Borg Warner 44-05 Electric Shift Control Trac
Ford Cologne V61997-2003 245 cu in (4.0 L) SOHC 12V V6 210 hp (157 kW) 254 lb⋅ft (344 N⋅m) 5-speed manual (Mazda M5OD-R1HD); 2001-2003 Explorer Sport

5-speed automatic (Ford 5R55E)

Borg Warner 44-05 Electric Shift Control Trac; 1997-2001

Borg Warner 13-54 Electric Shift; 2001-2003 Explorer Sport

Ford small block 4.9 L V81996-2001 302 cu in (4.9 L) OHV 16V V8 210 hp (157 kW) 280 lb⋅ft (380 N⋅m) 4-speed automatic (Ford 4R70W) Borg Warner 44-04 Full-Time AWD


1999-2001 Ford Explorer XLS
Interior, 1998 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer

While bearing an evolutionary resemblance to the previous generation, nearly the entire body underwent a change, with only the roof and the side door stampings carried over. Coinciding with the lower hoodline allowed by the redesigned front suspension, much of the body was distinguished by a restyled front fascia, introducing a styling theme used by several other Ford light trucks during the late 1990s. The Ford Blue Oval was centered in a now-oval grille, joined by oval headlamp clusters wrapping into the fenders. In contrast to the front fascia, the rear body saw relatively few changes, receiving mildly restyled taillamps (with amber turn signals). In a functional change, the Explorer received a neon CHMSL (center brake light), adopted from the Lincoln Mark VIII.[12]

While again directly sharing its dashboard with the Ranger, the interior of the Ranger underwent a complete redesign (allowing for the fitment of dual airbags). To improve driver ergonomics, the instrument panel received larger gauges, rotary-style climate controls, and a double-DIN radio panel.

For 1997, export-market Explorers received a third-row seat as an option (expanding seating to seven passengers).

For 1998, Ford gave the exterior of the model line a mid-cycle revision. Distinguished by body-color rear D-pillars and larger taillamps, the rear license plate was relocated from the rear bumper to the liftgate (to better accommodate export); the neon CHMSL was replaced by an LED version. In another change, 16-inch wheels were introduced.

The interior received redesigned front and rear seats; alongside second-generation dual airbags, side airbags were introduced (as an option). Other options included load-leveling air suspension (on Eddie Bauer and Limited) and a reverse-sensing warning system. The rarely-specified 60/40 front bench seat was restricted to fleet vehicles after 1998 and was discontinued for 2000.[11]

For 1999, the front bumper underwent a second revision, adding a larger cooling inlet and standard fog lights.

For 2001, the three-door Explorer Sport underwent an additional revision, adopting the front fascia of the Explorer Sport Trac pickup truck.


1995-1997 Ford Explorer Limited

At its launch, the second-generation Ford Explorer retained the use of the previous trim nomenclature; the standard trim was the XL, with the XLT serving as the primary model upgrade. Along with the two-tone Eddie Bauer trim, the highest trim Explorer was the monochromatic Ford Explorer Limited. For 2000, XLS replaced XL as the base trim (introduced as an appearance package for 1999).

In contrast to five-door Explorers, second-generation three-door Ford Explorers shifted to a separate trim nomenclature. While the XL remained the base model (largely for fleets), most examples were produced under a single Sport trim level (again equipped similarly to the XLT). For 1995, Ford replaced the 3-door Eddie Bauer with the Expedition trim; in anticipation of the full-size Ford Expedition SUV, the trim line was withdrawn for the 1996 model year.

For 1998, all three-door Explorers became Explorer Sports; the model was produced alongside the third-generation Explorer through the 2003 model year.


1999 Ford Explorer XL (UQ) 5-door (Australia, RHD)

Outside of North America, this generation of the Explorer was marketed in right-hand drive configurations[citation needed] As of 2018, RHD countries (such as Japan) export used examples of the Explorer to other countries (such as Australia and New Zealand) where there is demand for right-hand drive SUVs. Due to Japan's strict Shaken Laws, used vehicles tend to have low mileage with detailed repair histories.[13]

In the United States, the second-generation Ford Explorer has the (dubious) distinction of being two of the top five vehicles traded-in under the 2009 "Cash for Clunkers" program, with the 4WD model topping the list and the 2WD model coming in at number 4.

Third generation (U152; 2002 - 2005)[edit]

Motor vehicle

Third generation (U152)
2002-2005 Ford Explorer -- 06-16-2011.jpg
ProductionNovember 2000–June 2005
Model years2002–2005
AssemblyUnited States: Louisville, Kentucky (Louisville Assembly Plant); St. Louis, Missouri (St. Louis Assembly)
Venezuela: Valencia, Carabobo, (Valencia Assembly)
DesignerEdward Golden (1997)[14]
Body style4-door SUV
LayoutFront engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive / all-wheel drive
RelatedFord Explorer Sport
Ford Explorer Sport Trac
Lincoln Aviator
Mercury Mountaineer
Engine4.0 L CologneV6
4.6 L 16-valve ModularV8
Transmission5-speed M5OD-R1HDmanual
5-speed 5R55Wautomatic
5-speed 5R55S automatic
Wheelbase2002–03: 113.7 in (2,888 mm)
2004–05: 113.8 in (2,891 mm)
Length189.5 in (4,813 mm)
Width72.1 in (1,831 mm)
Height71.4 in (1,814 mm)

The third-generation Ford Explorer went on sale in January 2001 for the 2002 model year. Undergoing the first complete redesign since its introduction, the Explorer ended its direct model commonality with the Ford Ranger in favor of a purpose-built SUV design. Following a decline in demand for three-door SUVs, Ford developed the third-generation Explorer solely as a five-door wagon; the three-door Explorer Sport from the second generation continued production through the 2003 model year.

The primary objective behind the development of the model line was to make the Explorer more competitive in both domestic and export markets.[15] Along with tuning the vehicle for higher-speed European driving, Ford also benchmarked the model line against the Lexus RX300 and the (then-in-development) Volkswagen Touareg.[15] The Lincoln-Mercury division marketed the third-generation Explorer, with Mercury introducing a second generation of the Mercury Mountaineeer; Lincoln offered its first version of the Explorer, marketing the Lincoln Aviator from 2003 to 2005.


The third-generation Explorer (design code U152) marked a major change in the model line, ending chassis commonality with the Ford Ranger. While still retaining body-on-frame construction, the U152 chassis was developed specifically for the third-generation Explorer (and its Lincoln-Mercury counterparts). The wheelbase was extended slightly, to 113.7 inches. Along with rear-wheel drive, the third-generation Explorer was offered with both four-wheel drive and permanent all-wheel drive.

Following the redesign of the front suspension of the previous-generation Explorer, Ford redesigned the suspension layout of the rear axle, replacing the leaf-sprung live rear axle with an independent rear axle located by two half-shafts (similar to the Ford MN12 chassis). The 4-wheel independent configuration was a first for Ford Motor Company trucks and American-market SUVs (with the exception of the HMMWV-derived Hummer H1). As with the previous generation, four-wheel disc brakes were standard with an anti-lock braking system.


Carried over from the previous generation, a 210 hp 4.0 L V6 was the standard engine. The 5.0 L V8 of the previous generation was retired, with the Explorer adopting a 239 hp 4.6 L Modular V8 as its optional engine (shared with the Ford Crown Victoria/Mercury Grand Marquis); the Explorer was the final V8-powered American Ford to adopt the 4.6 L engine.

For 2002, a 5-speed manual transmission was standard equipment with the 4.0 L V6, the final year a manual transmission was offered for the model line.[16] From 2003 to 2005, the Ford 5R55 5-speed automatic transmission (previously optional for the 4.0 L V6) was paired with the 4.0 L V6 and the 4.6L V8.

Third-generation (U152) Ford Explorer powertrain details
Engine name Production Engine Configuration Output Transmission
Power Torque
Ford Cologne V62002-2005 245 cu in (4.0 L) SOHC 12V V6 210 hp (157 kW) 254 lb⋅ft (344 N⋅m) Mazda M5OD-R1HD 5-speed manual (2002 only)

Ford 5R55 5-speed automatic

Ford Modular V82002-2005 281 cu in (4.6 L) SOHC 16V V8 239 hp (178 kW) at 4750 rpm 282 lb⋅ft (382 N⋅m) at 4000 rpm Ford 5R55 5-speed automatic


2002-2005 Ford Explorer XLS Sport
2002-2005 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer

In contrast with the second-generation Ford Explorer (a major revision of the first-generation model line), the third-generation Ford Explorer was a ground-up redesign (ending all body commonality with the Ford Ranger). Offered solely as a five-door wagon, the model line returned several exterior design elements from previous-generation Explorers (blacked-out B and D-pillars, quarter glass in the rear doors); the grille and taillights were elements adopted from the larger Ford Expedition. The 2002 Ford Explorer introduced a design theme adopted by multiple Ford vehicles, including the 2003 Ford Expedition, the 2004 Ford Freestar, and the 2005 Ford Freestyle wagon and Five Hundred sedan.

Proportioned nearly identically the same as the previous two generations, the third-generation Explorer was an inch shorter, two inches wider, and two inches longer in wheelbase. Several functional changes were brought to the Explorer as part of the rear suspension redesign. The change allowed for a lower rear cargo floor, adding nearly 10 cubic feet of additional cargo space. Offered on nearly all versions, a folding third-row seat was offered as either standard equipment or as an option (expanding seating to seven passengers).[17] For 2004, a rear-bucket seat configuration became an option for higher-trim models, including a second center console (reducing seating to six).[18][19] Following the design of previous generations, the third-generation Explorer again received a multi-opening rear liftgate, enlarging the rear window opening (covered partially by a filler panel, housing the rear windshield washer).


2002 Ford Explorer (UT) XLT (rear view, Australia)

For the 2002 model year, the third-generation Ford Explorer adopted the trim nomenclature of its predecessor. The base trim of the model line was the XLS (intended largely for fleet sale) with the newly introduced XLS Sport, which standardized many options offered for the XLS.[17] The primary trim level of the Explorer was the XLT, split into two versions; the standard XLT received a monochromatic exterior and the XLT Sport received gray lower-body trim and 17-inch wheels.[20] The Eddie Bauer and Limited returned as the highest-trim versions of the Explorer, with the Eddie Bauer distinguished by tan lower-body trim; the Limited was styled with a body-color exterior.

For 2003 and 2004, Ford marketed the Explorer NBX trim. Equipped between the XLT and Eddie Bauer/Limited, the Explorer NBX was an off-road oriented version of the Explorer equipped with all-terrain tires, black bumpers and body cladding, heavy-duty roof rack, and custom seat trim.[20] The NBX was also offered with an Off-Road option package; offered with any four-wheel drive Explorer, the option featured skid plates, tow hooks, and upgraded suspension.[20]


Undergoing development during the late 1990s, the third-generation Explorer adopted safety features in response to the tread separation controversy that affected the previous-generation model line. Along with the deletion of the Firestone Wilderness AT tires, to further reduce rollover risk, the front and rear axles were widened (the latter, coinciding with the introduction of independent rear suspension). As an option, AdvanceTrac was introduced as a stability control system.[18][20] For 2005, AdvanceTrac was redesigned, becoming AdvanceTrac RSC (Roll Stability Control); included as a standard feature, the system used ABS, traction control, stability control, and yaw control to reduce rollover risk.[19]

In addition to standard dual front-seat airbags, seatbelt pretensioners were added; side-curtain airbags became an option on all versions of the model line.[18][19][20]

Fourth generation (U251; 2006 - 2010)[edit]

Motor vehicle

Fourth generation (U251)
2006-2010 Ford Explorer -- 01-07-2012.jpg
ProductionJuly 2005–December 16, 2010[21]
Model years2006–2010
AssemblyUnited States: Louisville, Kentucky (Louisville Assembly Plant); St. Louis, Missouri (St. Louis Assembly)
Venezuela: Valencia, Carabobo (Valencia Assembly)
DesignerJeff Nowak (2003)
Body style4-door SUV
LayoutFront engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
RelatedFord Explorer Sport Trac
Mercury Mountaineer
Engine4.0 L Cologne SOHCV6
4.6 L Modular 24-valveV8
Transmission5-speed 5R55Sautomatic
6-speed 6Rautomatic
Wheelbase113.7 in (2,888 mm)
Length193.4 in (4,912 mm)
Width73.7 in (1,872 mm)
Height2006–07: 71.2 in (1,808 mm)
2008: 72.8 in (1,849 mm)
2009–10: 71.9 in (1,826 mm)

Ford Explorer


The Ford Explorer and the Mercury Mountaineer were both updated for the 2006 model year on a new frame, produced by Magna International rather than Tower Automotive. Along with this new, stronger chassis, Ford updated the interior, redesigned the rear suspension and added optional power-folding third-row seats. Also, a tire pressure monitoring system and electronic stability control became standard equipment. In 2007 power-deployable running boards, like the ones from the Lincoln Navigator, were also made available for Eddie Bauer and Limited trims on the Explorer and the Premier trim on the Mountaineer; the running boards lower to allow easier access when entering the vehicle, then retract upon door closure. Unlike previous generations, there was no right-hand drive option available for order, causing Ford to market Explorers in Japan in left-hand drive configuration. The LHD Explorers were desirable there because LHD vehicles are considered prestigious in Japan. Moreover, Ford switched to a one-piece rear liftgate design due to the problems associated with the previous generation's design.

This generation Explorer would be the last to use body on frame construction as future Explorers, beginning in 2011, would use unibody construction. Additionally, it was the last generation to be produced in Louisville, Kentucky.

The 210 hp (157 kW) 4.0 L 12-valveSOHC V6 was once again the standard engine. The 292 hp (218 kW) 4.6 L 24-valveSOHC V8, similar to the Fifth-generation Ford Mustang's engine, was available as an option. The 6-speed 6Rautomatic transmission, built by Ford and based on a ZF design, was made standard equipment with the V8 engine as well. The five-speed 5R55W automatic transmission was advanced and became the 5R55S. It was the only transmission available for the V6 engine, because the Mazda five-speed manual transmission was dropped in the previous generation.

The 2006 Ford Explorer was nominated for the North American Truck of the Year award for 2006.

The fourth generation Explorer was the last generation to also have a Mercury Mountaineer counterpart as Mercury was dissolved in 2011.

Model year changes[edit]

For 2007, The Explorer received a few minor updates including a standard AUX input on all stereos, optional power running boards, a heated windshield, Ironman Package, XLT Appearance Package, and heated leather seat package. The XLS trim was also dropped for 2007, and the XLT became the base model. Additionally, the leather-wrapped steering wheel, power driver seat, and dual illuminated vanity mirrors were deleted as standard equipment on the XLT trim. Side curtain airbags were optional on Eddie Bauer and Limited trims, while XLT models were only available with seat-mounted side torso airbags. The Ford Explorer Sport Trac was also re-introduced for the 2007 model year after skipping 2006. [22]

For 2008, Ford added standard side curtain airbags on all Explorers. The 2008 Ford Explorer also became the first Ford vehicle to utilize the cap-less fuel filler system, though Explorers were not equipped with it until mid-year 2008. Three new colors were added for the 2008 model year: Stone Green clearcoat metallic, Vapor Silver clearcoat metallic, and White Suede clearcoat metallic. All Explorers now came standard with body-color fender lip and bumper cladding, while Eddie Bauer models received standard Pueblo Gold cladding. The AdvanceTrac badge on the trunk door was replaced with a "4X4" badge on 4WD models. In a reversal from the 2007 model year, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, a power driver seat, and dual illuminated vanity mirrors were once again standard on the XLT. In addition to this, XLT models also now received faux carbon-fiber trim on the window switches, puddle lights, and a standard overhead console.[23] Furthermore, Ford SYNC was now optional on all Ford Explorer models and the optional satellite navigation system was upgraded with voice control.[24] The Ironman appearance package was dropped after the 2008 model year.

For 2009, the Explorer received a trailer sway control system as standard equipment, and the navigation system received traffic flow monitoring with updated gas prices from nearby stations. Revised front headrests were also standard for the 2009 model year.[25]

For the 2010 model year, Ford's MyKey became standard on all Explorers equipped with the Sync system, while V8s were restricted to 4-wheel-drive models.

The last fourth generation Explorer rolled off the assembly line on December 16, 2010.

Engine specifications[edit]

Ford Cologne 4.0 LSOHC V6
Model years2006–2010
Power (SAE net)210 hp (157 kW)
Torque (SAE net)254 ft⋅lbf (344 N⋅m)
Ford Modular 4.6 L SOHC V8
Model years2006–2010
Power (SAE net)292 hp (218 kW)
Torque (SAE net)315 ft⋅lbf (427 N⋅m)

Explorer Ironman[edit]

In 2005, Ford signed a three-year deal to sponsor the Ironman Triathlon. Ford Explorer marketing manager Glen Burke compared the Explorer and the Ironman Triathlon; noting that both had the same attributes of strength, endurance, and passion. The Explorer Ironman debuted on June 25, 2006, for the 2007 model year was an interior and exterior appearance package for the XLT trim. It featured a blacked-out front grille, a protruding silver lower grille with rivet patterns and "Ironman" embossing, a unique rear fascia, Ironman badging, smoked headlights, amber fog lights, blacked-out fender flares with rivet patterns, and unique 18-inch wheels. The interior featured unique heated ten-way power-adjustable two-tone black and stone leather seats, as well as silver trim around the radio and climate controls. Additionally, a leather-wrapped steering wheel was standard. The Explorer Ironman was available in only five colors: Oxford White, Ebony, Redfire, Silver Birch, as well as Orange Frost; which was a unique color only available with the Ironman package. The Ironman could be had with either the standard 4.0 L SOHC V6 or the 4.6 L V8, and in either standard RWD or 4WD configurations. The Explorer Ironman went on sale in September 2006 as a 2007 model, and it was discontinued after the 2008 model year.[26]

Ford Explorer Sport Trac[edit]

The second generation Sport Trac came out in early 2006 for the 2007 model year. Unlike its predecessor sold through 2005, it featured the V8 engine as an option and was based on this generation Explorer's platform. AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control was made standard on the Sport Trac.

Sport Trac Adrenalin[edit]

2010 Sport Trac Adrenalin

For the 2007 model year, the Ford Special Vehicle Team built the Sport Trac Adrenalin concept with a supercharged version of the 4.6 L Modular V8, with 390 hp (291 kW), and featuring 21-inch (533 mm) wheels. The model was planned by Ford SVT to be the successor to the F-150 Lightningsportspickup truck. However, the SVT version of the Adrenalin was cancelled in a cost-cutting move as part of The Way Forward.[27] The Adrenalin was subsequently sold as an appearance package from 2007 to 2010. It had blacked-out headlights, black grill, monochrome color interior, unique front and rear bumpers, front fender vents, and molded-in running boards. It also came standard with 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, and the fender flares that came on the Explorer and standard Sport Trac were deleted.

Explorer America concept[edit]

Ford Explorer America concept

Ford unveiled an Explorer America concept vehicle at the 2008 North American International Auto Show.[28][29][30] The Explorer America concept is built on a unibody platform to reduce weight and improve driveability, migrating from the body-on-frame platform of the fourth generation Explorer. It is designed for up to six passengers while improving fuel economy by 20 to 30 percent relative to the current V6 Explorer. The powertrain packages in the concept vehicle include a 2 L four-cylinder turbocharged direct injection EcoBoost gas engine with 275 hp (205 kW) and 280 ft⋅lbf (380 N⋅m) of torque, and a 3.5 L V6 version EcoBoost with 340 hp (254 kW) and up to 340 ft⋅lbf (461 N⋅m) of torque.[31]

Fifth generation (U502; 2011 - 2019)[edit]

Motor vehicle

Fifth generation (U502)
2012 Ford Explorer XLT -- NHTSA.jpg
Also calledFord Explorer Classic (Chile)
ProductionDecember 1, 2010 – March 3, 2019[32][33][citation needed]
Model years2011–2019
AssemblyUnited States: Chicago, Illinois (Chicago Assembly)
Venezuela: Valencia, Carabobo (Valencia Assembly)
Russia: Yelabuga, Tatarstan[34]
DesignerBrian Izard, George Bucher (2008)
Mike Arbaugh (facelift: 2013)[35]
Body style5-door SUV
LayoutFront engine, front-wheel drive / all-wheel drive
PlatformFord D4 platform
RelatedFord Flex
Lincoln MKT
Ford Taurus[36]
Engine2.0 L EcoBoost turbocharged I4 (front-wheel drive only)
2.3 L EcoBoost turbocharged I4
3.5 L Duratec Ti-VCT V6
3.5 L EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V6 (all-wheel drive only)
3.7 L Cyclone Ti-VCT V6 (Police Interceptor Utility, all-wheel drive only)[37]
Transmission6-speed Ford 6Fautomatic w/ overdrive (EcoBoost I4 model)
6-speed 6F SelectShift automatic (3.5L)
6-speed 6F SelectShift automatic with paddle shifters (Sport model)[38]
Wheelbase112.6 in (2,860 mm)[39]
Length197.1 in (5,006 mm)
Width78.9 in (2,004 mm)
Height70.4 in (1,788 mm)
Curb weight4,385–4,901 lb (1,989–2,223 kg)

Pre-facelift Ford Explorer


The 5th generation 2011 Explorer bore similarity to the Explorer America concept's construction, and includes a unibody structure based on the D4 platform, a modified version of the D3 platform.[40][41] The move from traditional SUV to crossover effectively vacated the midsize SUV segment for Ford until the sixth generation Bronco arrived, which debuted in July 2020.[42]

The fifth generation Explorer features blacked-out A, B, and D-pillars to produce a floating roof effect similar to Land Rover's floating roof design used on its sport utility vehicles; a design which Ford previously used on the Ford Flex. The fifth generation Explorer features sculpted body work with stepped style headlamps similar to the Flex, Edge, Escape, Expedition and F-150, as well as new stepped style tail lamps. The grille features Ford's corporate three-bar design with upper and lower perforated mesh work, similar to that of the sixth-generation Ford Taurus.

The development of the fifth generation Explorer was led by chief engineer Jim Holland from February 2008 to October 2010, who was also a chief engineer for Land Rover; heading development of the Land Rover Range Rover (L322) 2005 facelift from December 2001 to December 2004. Holland also worked on the Ford Expedition (U324) during its initial development.[43]

The fifth generation Explorer made its debut online on July 26, 2010. Ford had set up a Ford Explorer Facebook page ahead of its debut.[44] Assembly of the fifth-generation Explorer moved to Ford's Chicago Assembly plant commencing December 1, 2010,[45] where it is built alongside the Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS. The Louisville plant, where the previous generation was built, was converted to produce cars based on Ford's global C platform (potentially including the Ford Focus, Ford C-Max, and Ford Kuga).[46] Like the Escape, the Explorer will continue to be marketed as an "SUV" rather than a "crossover SUV". It went on sale in December 2010, after pre-launch sales had by the end of November 2010 totaled around 15,000.[47] The EPA rated fuel economy of 20/28 mpg city/highway for the four-cylinder EcoBoost engine option.


Available features on the fifth generation Explorer include intelligent access with push button start, remote engine start, power liftgate, power adjustable pedals with memory, premium leather trimmed seating, heated and cooled front seats, dual headrest DVD entertainment system, adaptive cruise control, active park assist, SIRIUS Travel Link, MyFord Touch, Ford SYNC by Microsoft, Sony audio system with HD radio and Apple iTunes tagging, in-dash advanced navigation system, SoundScreen laminated acoustic and solar tinted windshield with rain-sensing wipers, 20-inch polished V-spoke aluminium wheels, and High-intensity discharge headlamps (HID) and LED tail lamps.

Unlike the Explorer America concept vehicle which only seats five occupants, the production Explorer holds two rows of seating with available PowerFold fold-flat third-row seating (like the previous generation) and accommodates up to seven occupants.[48]


The Explorer is available in either front-wheel drive or full-time all-wheel drive. At first only one engine was available: the 290 hp (216 kW) (255 lb⋅ft (346 N⋅m) of torque) 3.5 L TiVCT (Twin independent Variable Camshaft Timing) V6 with either the 6-speed 6F automatic or 6-speed 6F SelectShift automatic.

Soon thereafter, Ford offered the economical[citation needed] 240 hp (179 kW) (270 lb⋅ft (366 N⋅m) of torque) 2 L EcoBoostturbocharged, direct-injected I-4 mated to the 6-speed 6F automatic. The I-4 engine is not available with the optional 6-speed 6F SelectShift automatic, and will only be available in front-wheel drive.[49][50]

The Explorer is available with an automatic intelligent all-wheel drive system inspired by Land Rover, featuring a variable center multi-disc differential with computer controlled lock.[51] Conventional front and rear differentials are used with 3.39:1 gearing. The center multi-disc differential controls the front-to-rear torque split, biasing as much as 100 percent of torque to either the front or rear wheels.[52] Depending on the Terrain Management mode selected, the center multi-disc differential's intelligent lock will allow for a 50:50 torque split in off-road conditions.[52] The power take off (PTO) unit includes a heavy-duty dedicated cooling system to allow the four-wheel drive system to supply continuous non-stop torque delivery to all four wheels indefinitely, without overheating.[53] A "4WD" badge is advertised on the rear liftgate on the all-wheel drive models.[54][55] Explorer's overall off-road crawl ratio is 15.19:1 with high range – no low range – gearing only.

Off-road electronics include Hill Descent Control (HDC), Hill Ascent Assist (HAA), four-wheel electronic traction control and Terrain Management.

Four-wheel electronic traction control (ABS braking) is employed to simulate front and rear differential locks via aggressively "brake locking" the front or rear differentials, transferring up to 100 percent of torque from side-to-side.[51][53][56] In the right conditions, the Explorer can keep moving even if only one wheel has traction, regardless of which wheel it is.

Terrain Management includes four selectable modes. Each mode is selected via a rotary control dial on the center console, aft of the transmission shifter.

Depending on the mode selected, Terrain Management will control, adjust, and fine-tune the engine, transmission, center multi-disc differential lock, throttle response, four-wheel electronic traction control and electronic stability control (ESC) to adapt the SUV for optimal performance on the corresponding terrain.

Off-road geometry figures for approach, departure and ramp breakover angles are 21°, 21° and 16° respectively.[39] Minimum running ground clearance is 7.6 inches (193 mm).[39] Standard running ground clearance is 8.2 inches (208 mm).[58] Low hanging running boards are no longer offered from the factory to help increase side obstacle clearance.

Moving to a monocoque body usually has a negative impact on towing capacity. The new Explorer will be available with an optional trailer tow package. The package includes a Class III trailer hitch, engine oil cooler, trailer electrics connector, trailer sway control (TSC), wiring harness and a rear-view camera with trailer alignment assistance to help in backing up to a trailer. If equipped with the trailer tow package the new 2011 Explorer will be able to tow up to 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) of braked trailer. That is 1,500 lb (680 kg) greater than the towing capacity stated for the Explorer America concept and 2,115 lb (959 kg) less than the outgoing Explorer's towing capacity, although that was only available with the 4.6 L V8 engine.[59][60]

Safety and security[edit]

Safety features include: Dual front adaptive SRS airbags, dual front-seat side-impact airbags, dual rear safety belt airbags (beginning first quarter, 2011), and side curtain head, torso and rollover protection airbags. Other optional safety features include BLIS blind spot information system with rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning with brake supportprecrash system, Auto high-beam, Roll Stability Control (RSC), Electronic stability control (ESC) and Curve Control.

The fifth-generation Explorer was the first-ever vehicle to be equipped with dual rear inflatable safety belts. Airbags are sewn into the inside of the seat belts, and inflate with cold air to prevent burns. Ford claims it will be released as an option and to introduce inflatable seat belts on other Ford models eventually.[61]

Global recall[edit]

On June 12, 2019, Ford announced a global recall of 1.2 million Explorers produced from 2011 to 2017 citing suspension issues. Ford stated if the car was subjected to frequent rides over rough terrain that the toe link on the rear suspension could fracture which would affect steering and lead to greater risks of traffic accidents.[62]


Moderate overlap frontal offsetGood
Small overlap frontal offset (passenger side)Poor
Small overlap frontal offset (driver side)Marginal*(2013–2019)
Side impactGood
Roof strengthGood

*vehicle structure rated "Poor"


The fifth generation Ford Explorer earned the 2011 North American Truck of the Year award.[65] The rear inflatable seat belts won the 2011 Best New Technology Award from the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada.[66]

2013 Ford Explorer Sport[edit]

2013 Ford Explorer Sport

2016 Ford Explorer Sport

The Ford Explorer Sport was announced March 28, 2012, as an option for the 2013 model year and went on sale in June 2012. The "Sport" trim level comprises blackened exterior treatments, stiffened chassis and suspension, larger brakes and the installation of the EcoBoost 3.5L Twin Turbo V6 rated at 365 hp (272 kW) and 350 lb⋅ft (470 N⋅m) of torque. It is the only version to feature a combined 4WD/EcoBoost option (a FWD version is not being offered for the Sport trim), allowing its MPG to average between 16/city and 22/highway.[67] This version will be slotted above the Limited trim and is expected to compete in this segment against Jeep Grand Cherokee's SRT trim and Dodge Durango's R/T trims[68] and a newly updated 2013 Chevrolet Traverse, the latter of which unveiled their new look on the same day as the Explorer Sport as their response to Ford's news.[69]

2016 facelift[edit]

The refreshed 2016 model year Ford Explorer debuted at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, with a redesigned front fascia, hood, and lower bumper, standard LED low-beam headlights, and fog lamps that were inspired by the thirteenth generation Ford F-150. The rear of the Explorer was also refreshed with restyled LED tail lamps and dual exhaust outlets. The 2016 refresh bumped the I4 engine to a 2.3 L EcoBoost four-cylinder engine from the 2015 Ford Mustang. A newly introduced Platinum trim now tops out the range, slotting above the Sport and Limited trims. Similar to the Platinum editions of the F150 and Ford Super Duty trucks, the Platinum trim features front and rear cameras, enhanced active park assist with perpendicular park assist, park-out assist and semi-automatic parallel parking, hands-free liftgate from the Ford Escape, an exclusive 500-watt Sony surround sound system, and a heated steering wheel. The Platinum trim is paired with a 3.5 L EcoBoost Twin-turbo V6 with 365 bhp (272 kW) which was previously only available with the Sport trim. The 2016 Explorer went on sale at dealerships in the Summer of 2015. Other than the addition of the top-of-the-line Platinum trim, as well as standard eighteen-inch alloy wheels on the base Explorer trim, the changes are mainly in styling, exterior and interior color combinations, technology, and power.

2018 facelift[edit]

The Ford Explorer received a second facelift which includes a refreshed front end with revised LED headlights and redesigned LED fog lights as well as new exterior and interior colors in addition to new wheel designs.[70]

2019 Update[edit]

The Ford Explorer received two new packages for the 2019 model year. XLT Desert Copper and Limited Luxury package. This was the last model year of this generation Explorer right before the 2020 Explorer entered production.


TypeModel YearsPowerTorque
1,999 cc (122.0 cu in) EcoBoost 2.0 I42012–2015240 bhp (179 kW) at 5500 rpm270 lb⋅ft (366 N⋅m) at 3000 rpm
2,253 cc (137.5 cu in) EcoBoost 2.3 I42016–2019280 bhp (209 kW) at 5600 rpm310 lb⋅ft (420 N⋅m) at 3000 rpm
3,496 cc (213.3 cu in) Duratec 35 V62011–2019290 bhp (216 kW) at 6500 rpm255 lb⋅ft (346 N⋅m) at 4000 rpm
3,497 cc (213.4 cu in) EcoBoost 3.5 TT V62013–2019365 bhp (272 kW) at 5500 rpm350 lb⋅ft (475 N⋅m) at 3500 rpm
3,700 cc (230 cu in) 3.7L V62013-2019, Police Interceptor Utility304 bhp (227 kW) at 6500 rpm279 lb⋅ft (378 N⋅m) at 4000 rpm

Sixth generation (U625; 2020)[edit]

Motor vehicle

Sixth generation (U625)
2020 Ford Explorer XLT (2), front 9.7.20.jpg
ProductionMay 6, 2019 – present
Model years2020–present
AssemblyUnited States: Chicago, Illinois (Chicago Assembly)[71][72]
China: Hangzhou (Changan Ford)[73]
Body style5-door SUV
LayoutFront engine, rear-wheel drive / all-wheel drive
PlatformFord CD6 platform
RelatedLincoln Aviator
Electric motor44 hp (45 PS; 33 kW) Modular electric-motor system
102 PS (75 kW; 101 hp) Permanent-magnet synchronous AC electric motor
TransmissionFord 10R60 10-speed automatic
Hybrid drivetrainFHEV (Explorer Hybrid)
EcoBoost PHEV (Explorer PHEV)
Battery14.4 kwh Lithium-ion (Li-ion)
Wheelbase119.1 in (3,025 mm)
Length198.8 in (5,050 mm)
Width78.9 in (2,004 mm)
Height69.9 in (1,775 mm)
Curb weight4,345–4,727 lb (1,971–2,144 kg)

The sixth-generation Ford Explorer officially debuted on January 9, 2019, ahead of the 2019 North American International Auto Show.[75] The 2020 Ford Explorer is built on the new rear-wheel-drive based CD6 platform shared with the new Lincoln Aviator. A high-performance Ford Explorer ST model will also be offered. The turbocharged 2.3 L EcoBoost inline-four is the standard engine on the new Explorer, with 300 hp (224 kW) and 310 lb⋅ft (420 N⋅m) of torque. It comes with a new 10-speed automatic transmission and either rear- or all-wheel drive. Its maximum tow rating is 5,300 lb (2,404 kg). An optional twin-turbocharged 3.0 L EcoBoost V6 makes 365 hp (272 kW) and 380 lb⋅ft (515 N⋅m) of torque, while the ST with the same engine makes 400 hp (298 kW) and 415 lb⋅ft (563 N⋅m) of torque. It also mates with a 10-speed automatic and sees an increase in towing capacity, to 5,600 lb (2,540 kg). An Explorer Hybrid will also be available in the US with an initially detuned 3.3 L V6 producing a combined 318 hp (237 kW). but in a possible future full tuned version could make over 500 hp (373 kW) combined output being the possible most powerful non turbo V6 engine ever. The European version includes a 350 hp (261 kW) 3.0 L V6 petrol engine and a 100 hp (75 kW) electric motor with a combined output of 450 hp (336 kW) and 600 lb⋅ft (813 N⋅m). It will have a fuel consumption of 3.4 L/100 km (69.2 mpg‑US) and can tow 2,500 kg (5,512 lb). The 2020 Explorer comes in four trim levels: XLT, Limited, ST, and Platinum. The base Explorer will be sold mainly to fleet buyers, and will not be available for retail sale.[71][76]

Thousands of initial Explorer and Aviator vehicles were shipped to Ford's Flat Rock Assembly Plant for repairs due to quality control problems. Later models have been shipped from the Chicago plant to dealerships; however, many required dealer repairs before they could be sold. Consumer Reports noted their purchased Aviator was having quality problems.[77]


TypeModel YearsPowerTorque
2,253 cc (137.5 cu in) EcoBoost 2.3 I42020-,300 bhp (224 kW)310 lb⋅ft (420 N⋅m)
3,340 cc (204 cu in) 3.3L V6 Hybrid2020-, Police Interceptor Utility318 bhp (237 kW)332 lb⋅ft (450 N⋅m)
3,340 cc (204 cu in) 3.3L V62020-, Police Interceptor Utility Only285 bhp (213 kW)260 lb⋅ft (353 N⋅m)
2,956 cc (180.4 cu in) EcoBoost 3.0 TT V62020-, ST/Police Interceptor Utility400 bhp (300 kW)415 lb⋅ft (563 N⋅m)
2,956 cc (180.4 cu in) EcoBoost 3.0 TT V62020-, Platinum365 bhp (272 kW)380 lb⋅ft (515 N⋅m)
2,956 cc (180.4 cu in) EcoBoost 3.0 TT V6 Hybrid2020-444 bhp (331 kW)620 lb⋅ft (841 N⋅m)
  • Explorer Plug-in Hybrid (rear)


Ford Explorer Sport (1991–2003)[edit]

As the direct successor of the Bronco II, Ford developed a three-door version of the Explorer for the 1991 model year; while 10 inches shorter than its five-door counterpart, the three-door was still nearly 13 inches longer than the Bronco II. For the first generation, the three-door was available in any trim (except Limited), with Sport offered as a trim exclusive to the three-door. Distinguished by black-colored wheel wells and rocker panels, Sport was slotted between XL and XLT. For 1995, Expedition was offered as a trim package for the three-door Explorer; replacing the Eddie Bauer trim, the nameplate was retired after 1995 in preparation for the 1997 full-size four-door SUV.

During the second generation, the XL and XLT trims were retired for the 1998 model year, with all three-door Explorers becoming Explorer Sports. For 2001, the Explorer Sport was split from the four-door Explorer, retaining the second-generation body and chassis and adopting the front fascia of the Explorer Sport Trac.

Ford discontinued the Ford Explorer Sport following the 2003 model year, with the final vehicle produced in July 2003.

  • 1991-1994 Ford Explorer XL

  • 1991-1994 Ford Explorer Sport

  • 1995-2000 Ford Explorer Sport

  • 2001-2003 Ford Explorer Sport

Ford Explorer Sport Trac (2001–2010)[edit]

Introduced in 2000 as a 2001 model, the Explorer Sport Trac is a mid-size pickup truck derived from the second-generation Explorer, becoming the first mid-size Ford pickup. In contrast to the Ranger, the Sport Trac was marketed primarily as a personal-use vehicle rather than for work use.

Offered solely as a four-door crew cab, the design of the Sport Trac shared commonality with multiple vehicles. Sharing the frame and wheelbase of the Ranger SuperCab, the Sport Trac combined the front fascia of the Explorer Sport with a crew cab derived from the four-door Explorer; the pickup bed (designed for the model line) shared its tailgate with the F-150 SuperCrew.

The 2001-2005 Sport Trac was the final version of the Explorer derived from the Ranger. After skipping the 2006 model year, a second-generation Sport Trac was produced from 2007 to 2010 (derived from the fourth-generation Explorer).

  • 2000-2005 Ford Explorer Sport Trac

  • 2002 Ford Explorer Sport Trac, rear

  • 2007-2010 Ford Explorer Sport Trac

Ford Police Interceptor Utility[edit]

Ford Police Interceptor Utility operated by the San Diego Harbor Police Department.

Following the end of production of the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor in 2011, Ford began the development of a police-service variant of the Ford Explorer. For the 2013 model year, Ford introduced the Police Interceptor Utility; as with the related Police Interceptor Sedan variant of the Ford Taurus, the Utility is referred to as a Ford Police Interceptor[78] in lieu of being a Ford Explorer.

As with the Police Interceptor Sedan and the Ford Expedition SSV, the Utility is not sold for retail sale and is specifically designed for use by law enforcement or use by other emergency service agencies. Along with fleet-specific options such as steel wheels and provisions for user-specific paint schemes (such as contrasting doors), the Utility comes with provisions for fitting emergency equipment such as radios, lightbars, and sirens. To free up interior space on the center console for equipment, the transmission is fitted with a column-mounted shifter.

The Police Interceptor Utility comes with an all-wheel drive powertrain standard. Over a standard Explorer, the Utility is fitted with larger brake rotors, more advanced ABS and traction control systems, a more efficient cooling system, and other standard police equipment.

At its launch, the initial engine fitted was a 305 hp (227 kW) 3.7 L version of the Ti-VCT V6, shared with the Ford Mustang and F-150. For 2014, Ford added the 365 hp (272 kW) 3.5 L EcoBoost V6 (shared with the Police Interceptor Sedan and Ford Taurus SHO).

The California Highway Patrol now uses the Police Interceptor Utility because the current Ford Taurus, Chevrolet Caprice, and Dodge Charger patrol cars did not meet the payload the CHP requires for a universal patrol car.[37] In May 2014, statisticians R.L. Polk declared the PI Utility the most popular police vehicle, based on 2013 U.S. sales figures.[79]

2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility[edit]

2020 Police Interceptor Utility being used by Vigilant Fire Department as a medic response unit.

For the 2020 model year, Ford has created a second-generation Police Interceptor Utility, derived from the sixth-generation Explorer.[80] Offered exclusively in an all-wheel drive configuration, the Utility is offered with a twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 and as a hybrid, with a 3.3 L V6 and an electric motor. A naturally aspirated version of the 3.3 L V6 engine is also offered to departments, which is unavailable on civilian models.[80]

Following the shift from the D4 to the CD6 architecture, the Police Interceptor Utility gains cargo space (even with hybrid batteries onboard) over its predecessor.[80] In total, the hybrid system increased the combined fuel economy of the Utility from 19 MPG to 24 MPG,[80] a 26% increase.

Mazda Navajo (1991-1994)[edit]

The first-generation Ford Explorer was sold by Mazda from 1991 to 1994 as the Mazda Navajo. Offered solely in a three-door configuration, only minor design details differed the Navajo from its Ford counterpart.

Along with a revised front fascia, the Navajo received new taillamps and wheels; the bumpers were painted dark gray (resulting in the deletion of all chrome trim).[81] The interior was largely shared between the two model lines, with the Navajo receiving its own lettering for the instrument panel (in line with other Mazda vehicles); Mazda lettering was added to the Ford steering wheel hub.

In place of the three trims offered on the three-door Ford Explorer, Mazda offered the Navajo in base DX and top-tier LX trim[81] (roughly the equivalent of the Explorer Sport and three-door Explorer XLT). Offered only with four-wheel drive at its launch, a rear-wheel drive version of the Navajo was introduced for 1992. As with the first-generation Explorer, all Navajos were fitted with a 4.0 L V6; a five-speed manual was standard, with a four-speed automatic offered as an option (on both the DX and LX[81]).

In the early 1990s, SUVs transitioned into alternatives to station wagons, leading to a decline in demand for two-door SUVs. After the 1994 model year, Mazda withdrew the Navajo, returning in 2000 with the four-door Tribute (a counterpart of the Ford Escape).

Mercury Mountaineer (1997-2010)[edit]

Main article: Mercury Mountaineer

The Ford Explorer was sold by the Mercury division as the Mercury Mountaineer from 1997 to 2010. Developed as a competitor for the Oldsmobile Bravada, the Mountaineer was a four-door SUV slotted above the Explorer Limited. Marking the reintroduction of the waterfall grille to the Mercury brand, the model line was distinguished by two-tone (and later monochromatic) styling different from the Explorer.

Coinciding with the 2010 closure of the Mercury brand, the Mountaineer was withdrawn after the 2010 model year; three generations were produced, with the Mountaineer serving as the largest Mercury SUV (above the Mariner).


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2016 Ford Explorer Sport - CarGurus Test Drive Review

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