Model years: 1991–present
- Body and Chassis
Class: Compact SUV (2 door)
Mid-size SUV (1991–2010)
Mid-size crossover SUV (2011–present)
Predecessor; Ford Bronco II (3 door)
Successor: Ford Territory (in Oceania)
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). Introduced for 2020 production, the current generation was redesigned as a unibody chassis SUV, reverting again to a model-specific chassis.
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).
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.
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.
SOME INFORMATION ABOUT THE EXPLORER
- 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.
TIPS FOR TAKING CARE OF A FORD EXPLORER
- Interior and Exterior Cleaning
Cleaning the interior and exterior of your vehicle once a month is a priority. Everyday dirt and grime accumulate on the exterior from the weather, and the interior gets dirty from basic use. To keep both clean, use a good car washing solution to remove dirt and grime that can damage your car’s finish. Inside, vacuum the dirt, dust, and crumbs from floor mats, seats, and particle-catching crevices.
- Oil Change
Your vehicle needs oil to survive, plain and simple. Check the oil level each month to be sure there’s enough to lubricate the engine. The oil also needs to be changed periodically, on average about every 7,500 miles. Old oil doesn’t filter out dirt as well as clean oil, which will cause engine problems. The cost of an oil change is minimal compared to major engine repairs.
- Tire Pressure
No one wants to wake up to a flat tire. To avoid the inconvenience, check the pressure in your tires with a gauge. Low tire pressure results in poor traction, reduced gas mileage, and excessive tire wear. Ultimately, low tire pressure will lead to a flat. If a tire continually loses its pressure, it’s a sign that it’s time to have the tire replaced or repaired at a local body shop.
Taking a few minutes each month to take care of basics saves money in the long run.
Source: wikipedia, caranddriver, use.ford