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Ford Explorer SUV: What We Know of Its Future

It’s possible the next-generation gas-powered Ford Explorer debuts in 2026, while the Explorer EV is planned for the 2024 model year. So, what have we heard lately about one of the brand’s most sought-after models?

The Ford Explorer is the bestseller of the brand in America, apart from the F-Series, of course. 120,680 vehicles were sold within 7 months of 2022. The model is also popular in other markets.

For example, a heavily updated current-gen Explorer has been recently unveiled for China as a 2023 model.

Unlike the Chinese market, the 2023 Ford Explorer for North America remains virtually unchanged. The ordering process already began last month, and Ford plans to start production of the 2023 Explorer on November 7, 2022, at the Chicago Assembly plant.

The current 2022 model is on sale now. Ford made several updates to it: dropped a 365-hp V6, added a new ST-Line variant to the lineup, and a rear-wheel drive system as standard for the ST trim.

For the 2024MY, the SUV will get a refresh, and the next generation of the regular internal-combustion vehicle is set to follow in 2026, as currently reported.

All-Electric Ford Explorer

Previously Ford announced it would unveil the Ford Explorer EV as a 2024 model toward the end of 2023. The same can be said about the all-electric Lincoln Aviator – a luxurious ‘brother’ of the Explorer.

The carmaker has chosen its Oakville Assembly plant in Canada as a production site for both. Nevertheless, there is a possibility that the electric versions will be built alongside their ICE counterparts at the Chicago facility at some future point.

Some time ago, Jim Farley shared that Ford’s new electric vehicles, including the Explorer EV, would not be based on the existing gasoline models and would look pretty different.

He warned that customers might not like the fully electric newcomers. The company strives to diversify its EV model range from the traditional ICE style.

Our Take on the Ford Explorer

Current 2022 model’s price (MSRP): $33,745 – 55,995

This is a good versatile midsize SUV with a large cargo area, multiple tech and safety features, energetic engines, a well-mannered ride, spry handling, and a choice of versions aimed at off-roading, luxury, and performance. Its base 4-cylinder even outpowers the rivals’ V6 engines.

Yes, the Explorer is powerful, and a pretty good off-roader, but it still can’t match the roominess and luxury of competitors. A relatively low-grade cabin is the model’s weak point. The infotainment system has fussy controls; the 2nd- and 3rd-row seats are tight.

Though the Ford Explorer Hybrid is more fuel-efficient than the regular model, it is still less economical than many classmates and, in addition, more expensive ($54,595 – 54,595 MSRP). By standards set by other hybrid SUVs, the Explorer Hybrid’s fuel economy rating is subpar.

The similarly-priced Chevrolet Traverse provides more space for cargo and occupants. The Toyota Highlander has a nicer interior.

The Honda Pilot is better than the Ford SUV when it comes to cabin quality, roominess, and ride.

The Kia Telluride is more spacious and offers seating for up to 8. Its interior is more premium, and the infotainment system is more user-friendly, but the Kia SUV can’t match the Explorer’s towing capacity and engine power.

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