Ford Explorer

The Explorer is offered in base, XLT, Limited, Sport and Platinum models, but no matter the model, it comes with three well-designed rows of seating and room for up to seven (the second row comes with two bucket seats for adults). While the third row is kid-sized, it's easier to fold than those on just about any other model, thanks to the simple, single-button power-folding system. Parents will also note that LATCH fasteners for child seats are included in the second-row outboard positions. Both the second and third rows flip forward, giving a cavernous 81 cubic-feet of cargo space.

The base engine is a 3.5L V6 that produces 290 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque, with EPA ratings of 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. The optional 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder makes a healthy 280 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, and fuel economy is best in class at 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.

The 4-wheel-drive system in the Explorer is available with both engines, and it is designed with the urban driving done by most Explorer owners in mind. The system includes a Terrain Management system that cleverly recalibrates itself for snow, sand or mud when needed. With 4-wheel drive, there's also Hill Descent Control, to help maintain composure on steep, slippery slopes.

Standard equipment on the Explorer is more extensive than what's found in most mainstream-brand vehicles. Cruise control, a media hub system, four 12-volt powerpoints, capless fuel-filling and the MyKey control/monitoring feature are all standard on the base model, while optional or standard goodies on the upper XLT or Limited trims include dual-zone climate control; remote start; power-folding, heated side-view mirrors; reverse sensing; ambient lighting, adjustable pedals, a rearview camera system, push-button start and a 110-volt AC outlet. The top-of-the-line Platinum trim includes quilted leather seating, brush aluminum accents, and ash wood inlays.

MyFord Touch combines a host of vehicle, information and entertainment functions in an interface that appears a bit like that of iPads or other tablet computers. The system works together with Ford's Sync interface to interact seamlessly -- and with voice commands -- with media players, smartphones and music on USB sticks.

All Explorers include both Roll Stability Control and Curve Control sophisticated stability control systems. Safety Canopy side-curtain airbags also cover all three rows and an SOS Post-Crash System helps alert authorities if the airbags deploy. Safety-related tech features on the Explorer include adaptive cruise control with a collision warning system that includes brake support as well as a Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert.

Model Year

Editors' First Take

View Gallery (13)

The Ford Explorer, partially credited with kicking off America's SUV obsession, was first launched for the 1991 model year. It entered its current fifth generation in 2011 and received a major refresh for 2016, but not much is new for 2019. The Explorer currently enjoys status as the best-selling three-row SUV in the United States.

Click here to read our most recent Ford Explorer review.

Powertrain and specs

The 2019 Explorer offers a choice of three engines, all of which are paired with a six-speed automatic. Base models come with a 3.5-liter V6 producing 290 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque, which is about average for the segment. Ford's 2.3-liter Ecoboost engine is actually a step up, even though it's down two cylinders from the base engine. The turbocharged four-cylinder is good for 280 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque.

Continue Reading

Other Models

Ford News

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor review: The off-road truck that does it all

Trucks by 7 days ago

The 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty gets a new look and more capability

Trucks by Feb 6, 2019

Best cars

See all