2018 Ford Explorer Review - Everything You Need To Know

August 21, 2018

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You are looking at the fifth generation of the Ford Explorer. It was updated with a facelift back in 2011, and there is no question the current Ford Explorer is at the top its game. This mid size SUV is in a word...refined.

The Explorer comes in a variety of trim levels including the base model, XLT, Limited, Sport, and the Platinum edition which is what we are driving. Our test model was extremely quiet inside. There wasn't a creak, squeak or rattle anywhere. This is a tight, well constructed SUV.

 

It's well engineered too, with excellent ergonomics. The height is perfect making it easy to get in and out. The suspension provides good road feel, but is soft enough to provide a comfortable ride on long trips, and on pot hole plagued city streets. The handling isn't quite like a car, but it isn't anything like a truck. The electric power assisted steering, and terrain management with different settings for different driving conditions, like gravel, pavement, sand, and grass. There;'s a hill descent feature to help you maintain control when coming down a steep grade, and curve control is available too. That feature will slow you down automatically if you are going into a corner too fast. Of course it has anti lock brakes too and airbags.

The six speed automatic transmission shifts with authority. It's smooth. It doesn't hunt for gears. It's solid. Choose the sport or platinum models and you'll get paddle shifters.

Our model came with the 3.5 litre v6- turbocharged engine. It produces 365 horsepower, and provides acceleration from zero to sixty miles per hour in about 6.3 seconds.  Our test vehicle got about 16 miles per gallon in the city...22 mpg on the highway.  Your can also choose a non turbo 3.5 litre engine with 290 horsepower, or 2.3-litre four cylinder ecoboost engine with 280 horsepower.  All three engines provide enough low end torque for towing, and there are towing packages available. 

 

Building on AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control™ 19 , the standard trailer sway control selectively brakes and adjusts engine power to maintain trailer control19 . When properly equipped you can tow up to 5000 pounds.

 

The exterior is attractive. The first explorer was introduced way back in 1990. They were originally kind of boxy and they rode a little rough. Today's Explorer is more elegant, with a more attractive front end, lines that flow, and modern led headlights and fog lights, and taillights that blend into the overall design nicely. The Platinum edition comes with big 20-inch aluminum wheels. They're wide and enhance handling. The quad tip exhaust is a nice finishing touch.

 

The available Ford Smart and Safe Package includes; 

* Blind spot and cross-traffic alert.
* Lane Keep Assist
* Adaptive Cruise
* Forward Collision Alert with Brake Support
* Rain Sensing Wipers
* Automatic High Beam Headlights

 

Step inside this Platinum edition and you're immersed in unexpected luxury. Take a look at the heated, and cooled leather seats. It doesn't get much nicer than this. These are power seats, with memory settings. Nice. Really really nice. The leather dash, the leather inserts on the doors, the fine stitching. It's all very high end. Very refined.

Coded or keyless entry, push button start, navigation system, it's all here. The head rest mounted dvd player and video screens will keep the kids, or any back seat passengers entertained on long trips.

 

Our test vehicle came with third row seating, providing enough room for up to seven people. All those rear seats fold down too, providing over 590 litres of cargo space when the third row is folder. Fold down the second row and it expands to more than 1200 litres of cargo space. It's huge in there, and all that space is provided with the simple push of a button. The seats fold and stow away automatically and flip back up just as easily.

Keep your key fob in your pocket and just wave your foot under the rear bumper and the hatch opens automatically. The power hatch closes with just the push of a button. 

The infotainment system is intuitive. It syncs to your Iphone, or Android phone easily, and the 500-watt Sony stereo in our test vehicle provided crisp clean audio. The big volume button in the center of the console is a nice touch, and the steering wheel audio controls make it easy and safe to change the radio station or adjust volume when on the road.  The roof rack makes the Explorer even more practical.

 

Even with all the features that come standard there is even more you can add. Options like Enhanced Park Assist put even more technology to work for you. 

 

We've been told Ford is developing an all new sixth generation of the Ford Explorer, but the current model is still competitive and offers exceptional value in its class. A lot of testing, consumer feedback, and millions of miles have allowed Ford to work all the bugs in the current model. The result is the best Ford Explorer to date. It's a mid size SUV that offers exceptional value and remains competitive in its class. 

 

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