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Ford Explorer's fifth generation is just what the doctor ordered

With a car platform and much better fuel economy, the fifth-gen Ford Explorer returns to success.

manuel-carrillo
manuel-carrillo
Manuel Carrillo III, Manuel Carrillo III
2011 Ford Explorer
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After about a decade of car-based crossovers eating the Explorer's lunch, Ford finally caved and engineered an Explorer -- based on the Taurus sedan -- that followed the lead of successful, car-based crossovers like the Toyota Highlander.

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With 135,704 units sold in 2011, the Explorer more than doubled its volume from the previous year, while also beating the Highlander by more than 34,000 units.

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The Explorer's resurgence definitely had something to do with drastically improved fuel economy.

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The fifth-gen started life with a 3.5-liter V6 pumping 290 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission.

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The Explorer's new engine and car-based construction helped it to achieve 17 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg highway for all-wheel-drive models and 18/25 city/highway mpg on front-wheel-drive versions.

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To appease budget-minded shoppers even further, the Explorer also came with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine rated at 237 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque, allowing the first four-cylinder Explorer to achieve 20/27 city/highway mpg.

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The SUV got a visual update in 2016, followed by more subtle visual tweaks in 2018.

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Throughout this generation's nine years in action, Ford has been injecting more tech into its midsize SUV.

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There's built-in Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to keep everyone entertained.

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

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2016 Ford Explorer Hands-Free Lifthate

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New 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum with standard 20-inch Bright Machined face wheels with Dark Painted Pockets

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Unique content to air during "Gotham: Wrath of the Villains" stars the Ford Explorer Platinum and showcases various features such as voice-to-text capabilities of SYNC® 3 driver-connectivity system, as well as the 180-degree front camera, hands-free liftgate and active park assist. / Photo credit: ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co.

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2016 Ford Explorer Platinum Series with EcoBoost

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New 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum series in Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat (exterior)

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New 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum series in Blue Jeans

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New 2016 Ford Explorer Limited series in White Platinum Metallic Tri-coat

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New 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum comes standard with an industry-exclusive 12-speaker, 500-watt Sony Audio System with Live Acoustics and Clear Phase

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2018 Ford Explorer exterior

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New 2018 Explorer strengthens Ford's most well-known SUV, giving customers upgraded style, technology improvements and more choice, including an available 4G modem with standard new Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 devices, plus SYNC® 3

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New 2018 Explorer strengthens Ford's most well-known SUV, giving customers upgraded style, technology improvements and more choice, including an available 4G modem with standard new Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 devices, plus SYNC® 3

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New 2018 Explorer strengthens Ford's most well-known SUV, giving customers upgraded style, technology improvements and more choice, including an available 4G modem with standard new Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 devices, plus SYNC® 3

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2019 Ford Explorer Limited Luxury Edition

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2019 Ford Explorer Limited Luxury Edition

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2019 Ford Explorer Limited Luxury Edition Interior

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2019 Ford Explorer Sport - Ruby Red Metallic

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2019 Ford Explorer XLT Desert Copper Edition

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2019 Ford Explorer XLT Desert Copper Edition with 2019 Explorer Limited Luxury Edition

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