2023 Ford Explorer Overview

What’s new:

  • The list of standard and optional equipment has been updated.
  • In 2020, the sixth generation of the Explorer will come out.

One of the oldest SUVs on the road is the Ford Explorer. It came out more than 30 years ago and started the country’s love affair with SUVs, which is still strong. Our editors liked the current generation Explorer because it has strong engines, a lot of space for luggage, and safety features that come standard. But even though its price can get close to that of a luxury SUV on higher trim levels, the interior materials often need to be better.

Even though we like some things about the Explorer, it is no longer the best in its class because the market for midsize SUVs has grown significantly since it came out. In the past few years, our most recommended cars have been the Kia Telluride and its business cousin, the Hyundai Palisade. Both get updates for the 2023 model year, and their interiors are more luxurious and comfortable than the Explorers. The 2023 Honda Pilot will also come in a new TrailSport version with better off-road capabilities.

The 2023 Explorer is also likely to improve, but the SUV is the same now. Ford will probably give it’s family hauler a makeover for the 2024 model year. They will probably change Explorer’s look, interior layout, materials, and electronics. Keep an eye out for the latest Sync infotainment systems and BlueCruise hands-free highway driving assistance systems from Ford at that time.


  • Engines that pick up speed quickly
  • The rear-wheel-drive platform makes it easier to drive and tow.
  • An impressive number of safety features
  • A large cargo area.


  • Most trims don’t have a hybrid option, even though it only saves a little gas.
  • The price can quickly rise to shockingly high levels.
  • Adults might prefer to avoid sitting in the third row.

How do you move the Explorer? The Explorer is the one to buy if you want a three-row SUV that handles well and moves quickly. In contrast to many other SUVs in this class, it feels quick and light as you turn. In addition, there are numerous grips to choose from.

Ford uses the fact that the new Explorer can handle a lot of power. The standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine is very reliable and easily beats the competition. For people who think you can never have too much, the Explorer ST has a crazy turbo V6. A ten-speed transmission is used to help with both of these things. It constantly shifts down when it needs to, but the shifting is too erratic when you step on and off the gas in city traffic.

How good is the Explorer’s comfort? The front seats of the Explorer are well-made and comfortable. We don’t recommend the optional ones that massage you, though, because when the mechanism is turned off, the seats can feel bumpy. As you move back in the car, the second and third rows have less seat padding. Even though small road bumps were sometimes more noticeable than in other SUVs, our Explorer Limited test vehicle rode well most of the time.

The automatic climate control system might need more adjustments from a person than expected. For example, lowering the temperature might mean the air vents pump out less air than wanted. Another problem is that the Explorer needs to be more. Even at low speeds on the highway, the engine noise is not well muffled, and you can hear the wind blowing.

How does the inside look? From the driver’s point of view, everything looks fine. The front seats have a lot of room, and the driver’s seat is set up well. With lots of glass and big mirrors, it’s easy to see outside.

On the other hand, people in the middle and back seats get less attention. Adults who are taller than average probably won’t be impressed by the third row, and the middle row has less room for knees and legs than the rest of the class. It is hard to open the back doors past the first detent because there is little room between the large door map pockets and the large rear wheel arches. Even though the power-folding system for the third row is helpful, passengers must raise the row from the hatch area.

How good is the tech? The Explorer has a standard 8-inch touchscreen, the Sync infotainment system, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. The Explorer has a lot of features that make it safer to drive. Automatic emergency braking, help to stay in your lane, cross-traffic and blind-spot warnings, and automatic high beams are all standard on all Explorer models. Some extra features may or may not be included depending on the trim level. Everything works well. Because the sounds are so similar, the lane-centering system might think you took your hands off the wheel when you didn’t.

What about putting things away? The Explorer can carry a lot of things. Even with the third-row seats up, you can still fit three or four rolling suitcases. You can store small items in the front, and it’s easy to put child seats in the middle row.

Even though the Explorer’s maximum towing capacity isn’t all that great, the fact that it has rear-wheel drive makes it an excellent tow vehicle. The trailer tow kit includes an easy-access receiver hitch, four- and seven-pin wiring, support for an add-on electronic trailer brake controller, a tow-haul transmission mode, and an upgraded blind-spot monitoring system.

How well does it use gasoline? EPA estimates show that the 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine gets better gas mileage than its closest competitor. The all-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive versions use a total of 24 mpg of gas. That’s usually 1 or 2 mpg better, depending on what you compare it to.

We couldn’t match these numbers because the turbocharged engine needed to be stronger. Our test average was 21.1 mpg; most of the time, we drove on the highway. This number was about the same as competitors with lower ratings, so we moved similarly.

What do you think, The Explorer? Fin takes little plastics on the inside, ugly gaps, and bad design doesn’t take much time or work. These might make sense if this car was a good deal, but it isn’t. To make up for these flaws, you’d have to be the person who puts a lot of value on being quick on mountain roads and having a good powertrain. On paper, the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine will get you better gas mileage. But it was hard to match the EPA estimates in real life, and the Explorer performed about the same as its competitors in our tests.

The most recent model will still be called an Explorer, and it has a strong stance and streamlined shapes that make it look like it’s moving. It’s a much better car to drive than any Explorer that came before it or most of its competitors, proving that this isn’t just a promise. It moves quickly, is elegant and well-balanced, and likes to be rushed around corners. If your daily commute takes you through mountain roads with twists and turns, this Ford is for you.

Even though there are a lot of nice Explorers on the market, the XLT is the best value and most customizable choice. You can keep the SUV’s factory-installed equipment or upgrade its appearance, comfort, and safety.

Ford Explorer models

There are a lot of different trim levels for the Ford Explorer. Base, XLT, ST-Line, Timberline, Limited, ST, King Ranch, and Platinum will be the trim levels for the Explorer. Models that cost more have a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine, while models that cost less have a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine with 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque (400 hp, 415 lb-ft). On some Explorers, you can get a hybrid drivetrain with a 3.3-liter V6 engine and 318 horsepower. Every SUV model has a 10-speed automatic transmission; most of them already come with rear-wheel drive. The Timberline is the only model that doesn’t have all-wheel drive as an option.

2023 Ford Explorer Video Review

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