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Since the Ford Explorer’s first model year in 1991, it has been widely accepted as an American family SUV. According to Motor and Wheels, these first few years of sales were huge for the Explorer, with sales numbers reporting over one million units sold during its first four years of production.

However, not all is well for the Ford Explorer. Motor and Wheels reports that most of the success with the Explorer came in the late 90s and early 2000s, and since then, sales have faltered, with 2009 being the lowest point for the SUV. Only a little over 50,000 units were sold.

While sales have bounced back, the Explorer is still struggling to find its way back to the top of the highly saturated SUV market. Unfortunately, many automotive media outlets rank the Explorer down near the bottom of its class. Here are two examples of publications ranking the Ford Explorer near the bottom.

Lost in a sea of competition

Three different 2022 Ford Explorers parked in a desert area.
2022 Ford Explorer | Ford Media Center

According to J.D. Power, the Ford Explorer is one of the lowest ranking upper mid-size SUVs, as it is beat by all of the competition except for the GMC Acadia and the Dodge Durango, which tied for worst. J.D. Power attributes this low ranking to Ford Explorer owners’ opinions regarding the Ford Explorer’s ride comfort, engine sound, and lack of solid build quality, which can be noticed in the sound made when someone closes the doors.

With a decent fuel economy rating of 18 mpg city on the low end and 28 mpg highway on the very high end, the Ford Explorer is not a total loss. J.D. Power gives great ratings to the Ford Explorer’s quality and reliability, driving experience, resale value, and an average rating for the Ford dealership experience. The Ford Explorer seems to be a great SUV that falls just short of the fierce competition in its class.

Near the bottom of Consumer Reports

The Ford Explorer is also having trouble catching a break with Consumer Reports, who have ranked the Explorer second to last in its class. Consumer Reports found issues with the Explorer involving the stiff suspension, clunky transmission, and a high price tag that falls thousands above the better-built competition in its class.

Consumer Reports also found issues involving the long-term ownership of the Ford Explorer, with nearly every model year since 2000 receiving low-to-average ratings in reliability and owner satisfaction. Consumer Reports concludes that the Ford Explorer is a fine SUV that can seat seven passengers, but there are just many better options for way less money in its class. But what SUV came in last place behind the Ford Explorer?

What is the worst 2022 midsize three-row SUV?

Consumer Reports has ranked the 2022 Kia Sorento as the lowest scoring midsize SUV in its class, behind the Ford Explorer. While the Kia Sorento did receive solid marks in the road test portion of Consumer Reports’ review, the Sorento ranks near the bottom regarding predicted reliability and owner satisfaction.

This low-reliability score can be attributed to the four recalls already placed on 2022 Kia Sorentos, which include an issue with the tires where the traction control system can be impaired, seat belt tensioners that can explode and cause injury, oil leaks that can cause a fire, and a separate seat belt tensioner recall. While these recalls are good because they are fixing problems with the cars, a whole list of issues at release can be a bad look for the future of a car.

When it comes down to it, the Ford Explorer is a solid SUV in a competitive class where just being dependable isn’t good enough to rank high on the list. But this doesn’t mean consumers should avoid the Ford Explorer. It is a great seven-seater option if you can get one reasonably priced.


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