Is the 2019 Ford Explorer a Good Car?

Even as the midsize SUV class becomes more crowded, the Ford Explorer remains one of the most popular choices. Buying a new Explorer is relatively affordable, but it makes sense to shop used models to score a better deal. And to get some of the most modern features at a discount, you might want to get the 2019 version. But is the 2019 Ford Explorer a good car?

What it’s like to drive the 2019 Explorer 

For 2019, the Ford Explorer is available in three flavors. The Explorer came with a 290-hp 3.5-liter V6. This option provides sufficient power and will likely satisfy most drives and can tow up to 5,000 pounds. However, it’s not that impressive regarding fuel economy. The Explorer has an EPA rating of 20 mpg overall. Front-wheel drive is standard, and so is a six-speed automatic transmission. 

Some models will have a 280-hp, turbocharged EcoBoost 2.3-liter four-cylinder that also supplies good power for everyday driving situations. However, this option doesn’t drastically improve fuel efficiency. For the quickest experience the Explorer offers, shop for models with the twin-turbo EcoBoost 3.5-liter V6. This twin-turbo makes 365-hp and has all-wheel-drive. Although, this powerplant doesn’t increase the Explorer’s max towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. 

Cabin comforts 

A 2019 Explorer with beige leather seats.
2019 Ford Explorer interior with leather | Ford

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Overall, the 2019 Explorer looks pretty good on the inside. This midsize SUV can seat up to seven people across its three rows. Base models will have cloth upholstery, but upgraded versions will have more amenities, including heated front seats and genuine leather.

For 2019, the Explorer kept things simple in the tech department. Standard infotainment items include a 4.2.-inch display and Bluetooth connectivity. The only active safety feature on the entry-level version is a backup camera. However, some Explorers will have more tech, as U.S. News highlights. Available tech for 2019 includes a larger display screen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Ford also made many active safety features available, including blind-spot monitoring on this SUV. 

Overall reliability 

Ford Explorer parked at a dealership
Ford Explorer | Mario Tama/Getty Images

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Predicted reliability ratings help us determine how likely a car will hold up. That said, the 2019 Explorer didn’t earn the best ratings in this department. Consumer Reports gave the 2019 Explorer its lowest rating for reliability. It’s worth mentioning that CR has given this Ford poor reliability scores for 10 years now.

U.S. News also gave the 2019 Explorer a below-average dependability rating. Even so, U.S. News evaluations still indicate that this model is a good SUV. There are no significant repairs associated with this model, and it has average ownership costs. 

2019 vs. 2019 

A silver 2020 Ford Explorer on a country road.
2020 Ford Explorer | Ford

The 2019 Explorer is the final model year before the redesign that launched for 2020. Nevertheless, there are many considerable styling and powertrain differences between the 2019 and 2020 versions. The 2020 lineup features three turbocharged engines and a more refined 10-speed automatic transmission. What is also unique for 2020 is that the Explorer is now available as a hybrid

According to Consumer Reports, the average price range for a 2019 Explorer ranges from $23,750 – $39,375. A new 2020 model starts at $32,765. More tech is standard on the 2020 version, and the interior design is more upscale. But if you can do without the extra frills, you’ll be OK with the 2019 version.