Updated April 19, 2022
WHY IS THIS INFORMATION IMPORTANT?
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.
— Source Wikipedia
- Official Page – Ford Explorer
- Price: Starts at $42,669 USD
- Comparable to: Chevrolet Blazer, Dodge Durango
- Maintenance costs: This vehicle will cost approximately $9,017 to maintain over 10 years.
REVIEWS AND IMPRESSIONS
You can view the overall Mid-Size SUV Rankings here and the Luxury Mid-Size SUV Rankings here.
Our Score is determined by taking every data point from every review that we can find, inputting it into our own algorithm and coming up with as unbiased a score as possible.
SCORES BY PUBLICATION:
We have put together as many reviews and impressions as we could find. Each finds a way to touch upon something that the others missed. If you are serious about this vehicle then these videos are worth the time.
- CNET Roadshow: 7.8 / 10
- Car and Driver: No Score
- MotorTrend — No Score
- Kelley Blue Book Review — 3.8 / 5
- Car and Driver Review — 7.5 / 10
- Edmunds Review — 7.4 / 10
- USNews Review — 7.7 / 10
- JD Power Review — 81 / 100
- Motortrend Review — 7.6 / 10
- Driving.ca Owner Review — No Score
What the critics have to say…
Indeed, this Explorer’s more performance-oriented construction makes it quite fun. The hybrid model feels uncompromised, the sporty ST trim is downright quick, (even if it lost a comparison to the back road-crushing Dodge Durango SRT), and maximum towing capability is commendable. However, when we drove an Explorer with the 2.3-liter turbo-four engine and 10-speed automatic, we found the ride “bouncy and unsettled,” and noted a slow-to-shift transmission and poor noise insulationMotortrend
HOW DOES IT DRIVE?
The Explorer is the three-row SUV to get if your priorities include balanced handling and strong acceleration. Unlike a lot of other SUVs in this class, it feels eager and light as you drive around turns. There’s a lot of grip too.Edmunds
IS IT RELIABLE AND HIGH QUALITY?
Is the Ford Explorer Reliable?
The 2021 Explorer has a predicted reliability score of 81 out of 100. A J.D. Power predicted reliability score of 91-100 is considered the Best, 81-90 is Great, 70-80 is Average, and 0-69 is Fair and considered below average.
Ford Explorer Warranty
Ford covers this crossover SUV with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
HOW COMFORTABLE IS IT?
The Explorer’s front seats are nicely shaped and comfortable. But we don’t recommend the optional massaging ones — the mechanism behind the massaging can make the seats feel lumpy when it’s off. Seat comfort gets progressively less cushiony as you move back to the second and third rows. Our Explorer Limited test vehicle rode smoothly most of the time, but smaller road imperfections were a little more noticeable than in some other SUVs.Edmunds
WHAT IS THE INTERIOR LIKE?
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 fairly easy thanks to a 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 Chevrolet Traverse and the Volkswagen Atlas provide more comfort in the third row.Car and Driver
WHAT IS THE TECHNOLOGY LIKE?
Every Explorer comes with an 8-inch touchscreen, the Sync 3 infotainment system, and support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility. The Limited comes with built-in navigation and a strong-sounding Bang & Olufsen premium audio system. Do not be tempted by the optional 10.1-inch vertical touchscreen. Its skinnier profile does not work well with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and the display of the rearview camera.Edmunds
WHAT IS THE CARGO SPACE LIKE?
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.Car and DRiver
IS THIS VEHICLE A GOOD VALUE?
You don’t have to look very far or very hard to see plasticky interior plastics, unsightly gaps and mediocre design details. These would be understandable if this vehicle was a bargain, but it’s not. The competition’s very well-equipped top-level models cost less than a lowly Explorer XLT with minimal options. What’s more, the Explorer’s stiffest competition offers stronger warranty coverage.Edmunds
IS THE Ford Explorer A GOOD SUV?
Yes, the Telluride is a very good midsize SUV. Its cabin is chock-full of quality materials and user-friendly features. There’s roomy seating for up to eight across three rows, and plenty of cargo room to boot. The Telluride delivers Yes, the Ford Explorer is a good SUV. It has a lineup of potent turbocharged engines, gets good gas mileage, and delivers a smooth ride. It also has plenty of cargo space and a long list of standard features that include several active safety technologies and an intuitive infotainment system.USNews
SHOULD I BUY THE Ford Explorer?
Though it’s a good SUV, the Explorer is hard to recommend when you compare it to the rest of the midsize SUV class. As detailed above, it lacks the all-around quality of several competitors, and it costs a bit more than many of its classmates, so it isn’t even much of a value proposition.USNews
THE FINAL WORD
Though the 2021 Ford Explorer is a good looking, adequate mid-size SUV that offers ample cargo space and plenty of features it isn’t nearly as good as many of its competitors.
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