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The Ford Explorer has been one of America’s most popular SUVs for decades. In fact, the Explorer is one of the country’s trademark vehicles that helped usher in the “era of the SUV.” But with so many other competitive options in the infinitely growing SUV segment, the Ford Explorer must do more than ever to outshine the rest. And today’s SUV shoppers are more demanding than ever. As tempting as a nearly new 2018 Ford Explorer might be, is it a reliable SUV?

Is the 2018 Ford Explorer a reliable SUV?

Ford SUVs typically have a reputation for dependability, but the 2018 Explorer is proving to be a little behind the pack. According to research performed by experts at Consumer Reports, the 2018 Ford Explorer stands as one of the worst-ranked SUVs from the 2018 model year in reliability.

In fact, its so-so overall reliability rating of three-out-of-five, combined with reliability history, pull it down to the 21st position out of 27 2018 SUVs. 

It is important to note, however, that while the Explorer’s reliability history is riddled with poorly ranked model years, the 2018 Ford Explorer receives the highest reliability rating of all model years. So out of all Ford Explorers, 2018 models may be the most reliable.

A few problem areas and causes for concern with this Ford SUV

The Ford Explorer’s reliability report is riddled with problems, with many areas being rated by Consumer Reports experts with the worst possible score. But the 2018 Ford Explorer seems to be judged more on its predecessors’ past, rather than its own performance.

The worst-rated trouble spot for the 2018 Ford Explorer appears to be with in-car electronics, with many owners experiencing issues with the infotainment system, communications, etc. But that category’s “average” score of three-out-of-five is not only the lowest you’ll find for the 2018 Ford Explorer but also one of the easiest problem areas to fix as well. 

Owners experience fewer problems in the drive system, paint/trim, body integrity, power equipment, and body hardware categories, which all receive good reliability scores of four-out-of-five.

Every other category for the 2018 Ford Explorer comes with an above-average reliability score of five-out-of-five, including brakes, exhaust, suspension, climate system, electric system, fuel system, transmission, engine, and engine cooling categories.

The experts at U.S. News are in agreement with the Consumer Reports team, assigning a “below-average predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power” to the 2018 Ford Explorer. In addition to its not-so-great reliability rating, the Explorer has a few other weaknesses.

Although still being referred to as an alright used SUV, the experts claim that the Explorer simply lacks in way of safety features, a roomy third-row, and fuel economy, when compared to its biggest rivals.

Features, advantages, and cost of a 2018 Ford Explorer

According to Kelley Blue Book, some of the biggest advantages of the 2018 Ford Explorer include its “upscale design, rugged stance, and big horsepower.” In addition to seating up to seven passengers, the Ford Explorer is also available in a variety of trim levels, with an endless array of engine and feature choices.

Base model 2018 Ford Explorers come with a 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine that makes 290 hp, although there are two other turbocharged engines available, making up to 365 hp. 

With a few years under its belt now, shoppers can find a low-mileage model for much less. Most used 2018 Ford Explorers can be found for an average of around $24,000, while even upper-trim, options loaded Explorers average around $40,000, according to U.S. News. For a nearly new, decent SUV, the 2018 Ford Explorer is a bargain.


The Ford Explorer Just got Cheaper