Continuing the trend of being more family hauling-centric than off-road-ready, the third-gen Ford Explorer was no longer tied to the Ford Ranger. But it was still a body-on-frame SUV.

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
1
of 50

Regardless of having truck-like roots, this Explorer was more car-like than ever before.

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
2
of 50

A new independent rear suspension not only offered a superior ride, but it also freed up space for the newly available third row of seats, bringing the total occupant count to seven.

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
3
of 50

The base engine was carried over from the second-gen Explorer: A 4.0-liter V6 making 210 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque, but the third generation brought a more powerful 4.6-liter, single-overhead cam, all-aluminum V8 with 240 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque.

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
4
of 50

The extra V8 power paired with body-on-frame construction meant this Explorer could tow as much as 7,300 pounds. 

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
5
of 50

You could also have the Mazda-sourced five-speed manual transmission with the V6, but that was only offered for the first model year, after which all Explorers were built only with the five-speed automatic. 

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
6
of 50

The Explorer Sport, still based on the previous-gen model, met its maker in 2003.

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
7
of 50

In addition to the Explorer bidding farewell to the manual and a two-door configuration, the SUV also kissed its stellar sales figures goodbye.

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
8
of 50

In 2002, the Explorer was still resounding with 433,847 sales for the year, but by 2005, sales were down 45 percent from three years earlier to just 239,788 units as more consumers ditched traditional SUVs for car-based crossovers.

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
9
of 50

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

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
10
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
11
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
12
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
13
of 50

2002 Ford Explorer

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
14
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
15
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
16
of 50

2004 Explorer

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
17
of 50

2004 Explorer

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
18
of 50

2004 Explorer

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
19
of 50

2004 Explorer

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
20
of 50

2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
21
of 50

2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
22
of 50

2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
23
of 50

2005 Ford Explorer

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
24
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
25
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
26
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
27
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
28
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
29
of 50

2005 Ford Explorer

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
30
of 50

2005 Ford Explorer

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
31
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
32
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
33
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
34
of 50

2005 Ford Explorer

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
35
of 50

2005 Ford Explorer Police Package

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
36
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
37
of 50

2005 Ford Sport Trac

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
38
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
39
of 50

2005 Ford Explorer

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
40
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
41
of 50

2005 Ford Sport Trac

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
42
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
43
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
44
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
45
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
46
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
47
of 50

Published:Photo:FordRead the article
48
of 50

2003 Ford Explorer NBX.

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
49
of 50

2003 Ford Explorer Sport XLT.

Published:Caption:Photo:FordRead the article
50
of 50
Up Next

The 2019 Ford Explorer is getting old