The first Explorer was built off the Ford Ranger's pickup truck chassis and shared a plethora of parts with its more utilitarian sibling, namely body panels ahead of the A-pillar and a dashboard.

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Although the Explorer resembled the (also Ranger-based) two-door Ford Bronco II compact SUV of the 1989 and 1990 model years, the Explorer was actually a full segment size larger.

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Under the hood was a 4.0-liter, overhead-valve V6 that made a respectable (for the time) 155 horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque.

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Later model years saw a 5-horsepower bump, but torque stayed the same.

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The V6 could be paired with a Mazda-sourced five-speed manual transmission or a Ford-designed four-speed automatic.

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The first-gen Explorer came with rear-wheel drive standard, but shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive was optional.

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In its first year, it sold 140,509 units. In its second year, it more than doubled that with 282,837 sales.

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Speaking of Mazda, the Japanese automaker sold its own version of the first-gen Explorer. Called the Navajo, it was based off the Explorer Sport, meaning that it was only offered with two doors.

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The first-generation Ford Explorer was one of the most important SUVs of its time.

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Keep scrolling for more photos of the first-generation Ford Explorer.

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