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You don’t have to look far to see Ford Explorer SUVs on American roads, whether carrying families or cruising with law enforcement. But even with past popularity, the Explorer found itself faltering last year. Two midsize SUV competitors had better sales than the 2022 Ford Explorer.

Which competitors beat the Ford Explorer?

A red Ford Explorer crosses a bridge at sunset.
Ford Explorer | Ford Motor Company

Both the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the 2022 Toyota Highlander beat the Ford Explorer in 2022 sales. According to Car and Driver, the Grand Cherokee and Highlander sold 223,345 and 222,805 units, respectively. The Ford Explorer lagged behind at 207,673 sales – the worst of the three midsize SUVs to crack the top 25. 

The Jeep Grand Cherokee became an even closer competitor to the Explorer last year with its new three-row configuration, the Grand Cherokee L. With the ability to carry seven passengers, Jeep’s already-popular midsize SUV could serve an even broader buyer base. Plus, the Grand Cherokee’s reputation for rugged capability plays directly into the current popularity of off-road SUVs. 

The Toyota Highlander has been a Ford Explorer competitor. Its spacious cabin and impressively efficient hybrid powertrain give it an edge over many competitors. While it may not have the capabilities of the Grand Cherokee, the Highlander’s practicality is a significant factor in its popularity.  

Several compact SUVs outsold the Explorer as well. 

  • Chevy Equinox (212,072 sold)
  • Honda CR-V (238,155 sold)
  • Toyota RAV4 (399,941 sold)

Will the Ford Explorer be discontinued? 

Blue Ford Explorer tows a camper along a mountain road.
Ford Explorer | Ford Motor Company

It’s doubtful that Ford will discontinue the Explorer anytime soon. 

A year of sales topping over 200,000 units is far from a failure for Ford. Even though it sold less than a couple of rivals and numbers are down from 2021, the Explorer remains a successful SUV for Ford. The Explorer would likely need to see a sharp decline in sales year after year for Ford to consider killing off its primary family vehicle. 

Is the Ford Explorer still a good SUV?

The Ford Explorer is a well-rounded midsize SUV despite its lagging sales behind competitors.  

With its three-row seating, powerful engine options, and plentiful technology, the Explorer serves its purpose as a jack-of-all-trades. Yet, as the saying goes, it appears to be a master of none. But that’s OK in a segment that exists primarily to do a little bit of everything. Whether towing the family boat or delivering the kids to school safely, the Explorer gets it done even when it doesn’t beat its rivals.  


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