Based on personal experience, the Ford Explorer deserves a chance! The Ford Explorer has been around for over 30 years and is still popular for a reason. If you don’t want to go as big as the Expedition, then the Explorer is an underrated option to consider.
How much does the Ford Explorer cost?
One of the biggest complaints about the Explorer is that it gets expensive in a hurry. The 2022 Ford Explorer starts at about $33,745, and the King Ranch takes the price up to around $53,995. But there are 10 different trims to choose from. That’s plenty of versatility.
Do you want the Timberline for off-roading, the ST for racing, the hybrid to save on gas, or the King Ranch for luxury comfort?
Edmunds says the prices can reach the luxury level. However, the King Ranch has power-folding seats in the second and third rows, a wireless phone charger, a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats, massaging seats, and more. It provides tons of luxury comfort.
The Toyota Highlander starts at $35,405, and its most expensive trim tops out at around $50,000. The Kia Telluride may have more luxury amenities, but it might not be as fun to drive.
Does the Explorer have enough space?
Critics love to diss the Ford Explorer for having a third row that’s tiny. Everyone says it’s reserved for kids. But it’s a midsize SUV and could be the perfect family option because it has a place for the younger kids to go.
I’m 5’1,” and I sat in the third row of the Explorer. My knees did hit the back of the second-row chairs, but that issue was resolved by moving them forward slightly. The third row reclines at a nice comfortable angle too.
The seats were much smaller in other vehicles I tested, like the Mazda CX-9 and the Volkswagen Atlas. They also had an awkward seating position that was difficult to adjust. While those vehicles are great, they have a smaller third-row than the Explorer. Kids about 4’9” and under will fit just fine.
The 2022 Ford Explorer has 18.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats with up to 87.8 cubes total. Also, when properly equipped, it can tow up to 5,600 lbs.
Does the Explorer have a nice ride?
Another thing that frustrates critics about the Ford Explorer is road noise. They say it’s too loud at highway speeds. But I took the Explorer on all sorts of adventures. I drove it on country backroads with massive potholes, on the interstate, on dirt trails, and on gravel roads.
While the wind noise was noticeable at higher speeds, it wasn’t bothersome. The Ford Bronco, Maverick, and Escape each seemed louder. I didn’t have to turn up the music to cover the noise, and I didn’t have to raise my voice to talk to passengers.
The Explorer also has a pretty smooth ride. It absorbs impacts and potholes with ease. Bumps don’t make it jostle or rattle. But you can tell when you’re on rougher surfaces, and that’s a good thing.
You feel connected with the road and in control. The Explorer is a sporty SUV with responsive handling and confident brakes. The transmission can be slow to downshift, but overall the ride is engaging and comfortable.
Critics might be a little too harsh when it comes to the Explorer. It could be the perfect ride for your family. Stay tuned for a full-length review.