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Ford SUVs are more popular than ever, and the Explorer is one of the best in the lineup. While the automaker has been busy improving its sport utility vehicles over the years, is there any difference between the 2022 Ford Explorer and the 2023 Ford Explorer? Check out the comparison below to see if selecting the brand-new version makes sense or if there are more reasons to go with last year’s SUV.

What is the difference between the 2022 Ford Explorer and 2023?

Regarding the 2022 Ford Explorer and the 2023 Explorer, last year’s version is cheaper and safer. For the 2022 model, Ford had 10 different trim levels to choose from. This offered plenty of options for shoppers, varying from $35,510 to $53,630. Ford also offered the Limited and Platinum trims with hybrid powertrains. These are all subject to taxes and fees.

Platinum $52,375
King Ranch$53,630
2022 Ford Explorer trim levels

Below are the 2023 Explorer trim levels, with higher MRSPs across the board. Taxes and fees are not included.

King Ranch$54,075
2023 Ford Explorer trim levels

All the options went up $1,000 or so, even though the models had no significant changes. Going with the older model year might be a good move unless the local dealership offers a better deal on the 2023 SUV.

The 2022 Ford Explorer also earned higher safety scores

In the last few years, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has updated its crashworthiness tests to make vehicles safer. For the 2022 Ford Explorer, the IIHS gave it the Top Safety Pick Plus award. It earned high marks on all of the main crashworthiness tests, like the small overlap front, moderate overlap, as well as the side and roof strength tests.

For the best option, the 2022 Platinum trim comes with LED projector headlights that earned high scores. The XLT, Limited, and ST trims received LED reflector headlights that scored just below that.

While the IIHS still awarded the 2023 Ford Explorer with a Top Safety Pick award, it missed the higher TSP+ award. The 2023 version did not correct the headlight issue, and the Explorer earned low scores for the seat belt reminders.

There is nothing wrong with the 2023 Explorer, but it could be improved

The 2022 Ford Explorer outshines the 2023 Ford Explorer
A 2022 Ford Explorer | Ford

Both years have hybrid powertrain options on the Limited and Platinum trims. That does come with a higher cost, so weigh that against the fuel economy numbers. The 2022 AWD hybrid gets 23 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, which is only two miles per gallon more than the regular version. For 2023, the Explorer hybrid gets the same fuel economy. Gasoline-powered versions get 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

That means there isn’t much of a reason to spend extra on the 2023 Explorer when the 2022 has all of the same features. Save some cash and try to get a good deal on last year’s model. Many new options exist at local dealerships, but finding a used Explorer might also work.

Ford does not offer much incentive to select the 2023 model over the 2022, especially since it is more expensive. With lower safety scores and a higher MSRP, the old 2022 Ford Explorer outshines the 2023.


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