The sixth iteration of America’s best-selling SUV of all time receives new styling, a more diverse model range, new engines and, for the first time, a rear-wheel-drive powertrain on entry-level models.
The company claims that the shift from front to rear-wheel drive for entry-level variants of the Explorer has allowed for a roomier and more versatile interior layout, as well as more “athletic” exterior styling.
Blacked-out A and D-pillars are carried over from previous generations of Explorer, while a sloping roofline and shorter front overhang lend a sportier appearance to the Jeep Grand Cherokee rival.
Priced from $400 more than the previous Explorer's $32,365 starting price, the new model is equipped with an electronically assisted tailgate, an 8.0in infotainment touchscreen, in-car wi-fi and the FordPass Connect intelligent navigation technology as standard. Parking and braking assistance systems can be equipped with the Platinum trim package.
Also fitted as standard is the Ford Co-Pilot360 package, which comprises active safety technology that helps the driver stay in lane, avoid pedestrians, see through blindspots and take evasive action.
Chris Billman, Co-Pilot360 engineering manager, said the Explorer’s abundance of autonomous technology is not about “filling the vehicle with technology for technology’s sake".
He explained: “It’s about improving the experience, making driving less stressful and helping the driver to feel more confident behind the wheel.”
New engines for the Explorer include a tuned variant of the turbocharged 2.3-litre petrol Ecoboost unit used in the entry-level Mustang, while the US-only ST performance variant receives a twin-turbocharged 400bhp 3.0-litre petrol V6 - the most powerful engine ever fitted to an Explorer.