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Let’s build a 2023 Ford Explorer and create a budget-focused build to answer the question, how realistic is the starting price? When it comes to the starting price of new cars, it can be a bit misleading. In some cases, the starting price is relatively accurate and reflects what most people would pay for the base model with minimal add-ons. This straightforward pricing approach helps consumers make informed decisions without hidden surprises. 

However, there are instances when the starting price doesn’t tell the whole story and can be somewhat confusing. Additional features, upgrades, and packages can significantly increase the final cost, catching unsuspecting buyers off guard. Let’s dive into the 2023 Ford Explorer.

The Ford Explorer build-your-own tool

On the Ford website, you are given the option to pick a base model to build from. The Explorer has eight models: Base, XLT, Limited, ST, Platinum, ST-Line, Timberline, and King Ranch. Since we are focused on budget, we will pick the Base model that has a starting price of $36,760. 

The base model comes standard with a power liftgate, three-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, rear privacy glass, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED lighting, and keyless entry. 

The base model’s powertrain consists of the Ford CoPilot 360, Terrain Management System, trailer sway control, a 2.3-liter EcoBoost I-4 engine with auto start-stop technology, and a 10-speed automatic transmission. The I-4 engine produces 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque.

Adding some options to the 2023 Ford Explorer’s price

The first option is to add four-wheel drive. This option adds $2,645. This is a little too expensive for our budget, so we’ll skip this option. However, if you live in an area where the extra cost is justified, this could be worth adding. The class IV trailer towing package is going to add $545, so we’ll skip this option too.

This brings my final total to $38,355 with destination charges. If I added the four-wheel drive, my total would have been $41,000. For an SUV, that’s not a bad price. Next, we’ll look at what car critics recommend and use the build tool to build our own.

Comparing other trims

MotorTrend‘s recommendation is the XLT. They said, “If we were buying an Explorer, we’d go for a mid-level Explorer XLT. The XLT offers the same three-row functionality as higher trims with additional feature content over the base model, including keyless entry, second-row USB charge ports, roof rails, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and 18-inch wheels.”

With that in mind, let’s build the XLT. The base price of the XLT is $38,570. It comes with the same powertrain and accompanying specs. However, it comes standard with LED signature lighting, body-color door handles, and first-row heated seats. For safety, we are going to add the 202A equipment group, which gives us a 360-degree camera, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, The BLIS with cross-traffic alert and trailer coverage, and power and heated side view mirrors. It also comes with a remote start, heated steering wheel, and keyless entry keypad. 

Adding all these options brings our new total to $46,695 with destination charges. For the extra safety features, you can get with the upgraded package, this still fits nicely within our budget with some added luxury features to boot.

Some optional add-ons may be essential for certain lifestyles or driving needs, further influencing the overall price. As a result, it is crucial for potential buyers to carefully review the full range of options and consider their individual preferences before making a purchase, ensuring they have a comprehensive understanding of the true cost of the car they want.


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