2019 Ford Explorer Review

Explorer

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2019 Ford Explorer Overview

The midsize SUV market is rife with competition. The SUV that started it all nearly 30 years ago was the Ford Explorer. Keeping the Explorer relevant in the modern SUV market is no easy task. Ford accomplishes this with three rows of spacious seating, plenty of cargo space, clever terrain-response technology, and the latest infotainment tech.

The Explorer’s rear hatch gives way to a spacious cargo area, with up to 81.7 cubic feet of cargo space with the second and third rows are folded. With the third row folded, it provides 43.9 cubic feet, and 21 cubic feet with all seats up. The second-row bench ensures seven-passenger seating, while opting for the spacious second row-captain’s chairs drops seating capacity to six.

Trims for the 2019 Explorer include Base, XLT, Limited, Sport, and Platinum. Standard features on the Explorer include remote keyless entry, 8-way power driver’s seat, four 12-volt powerpoints, and Bluetooth connectivity. The Explorer comes standard with a 4.2-inch color LCD screen. The available infotainment system is the SYNC 8-inch color touchscreen with two smart-charging USB ports.

New for 2019 is an XLT Appearance Package, called “Desert Copper.” It includes 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, custom mirror caps, and black door trims with unique inserts. It also features unique interior black leather seating with standout stitching. Limited shoppers can opt for a Limited Luxury Package, which includes 20-inch aluminum wheels, chrome mirror caps, interior door trim, and leather door inserts. It includes Ford’s Multi-contour seats, which are massage chairs for the driver and front passenger.

For 2019, the Explorer Sport and Platinum get standard paddle shifters, and the Explorer Sport is available with heated second-row seats. Heated side mirrors are standard equipment on the Base and XLT, and a power rear liftgate is standard on the XLT. LED fog lights come standard on Sport, Limited, and Platinum models, while the LEDs are an available option on the XLT.

New for 2019, Ford rebrands “Sync Connect” to “FordPass Connect,” and allows drivers to operate and access vehicle systems via their smartphone. Drivers can unlock and remotely start the Explorer as well as get vehicle status updates. This feature is standard on the Limited, Sport, and Platinum trims. It’s available as part of the Driver Connect package on the XLT trim.

The base engine in the Explorer is a 3.5-liter V6 making 290 horsepower and 255 horsepower. The Explorer is available with an EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine, making 280 hp and 310 lb-ft. The range-topping engine is a twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6, making 365 horsepower and 350 pound feet of torque.

With all engines, power is sent through a 6-speed automatic transmission. It’s sent to the front wheels, or available intelligent four-wheel drive (which is effectively all-wheel drive). When properly equipped, the Explorer can tow up to 5,000 pounds with the available Class III trailer hitch. With the Class II hitch, trailering capacity falls to 3,000 pounds.

The Explorer boasts impressive capability for a midsize suburban cruiser thanks to the Terrain Management System. This provides Normal, Mud/Rut, Sand, and Snow/Gravel/Grass drive modes.

The most efficient version of the 2019 Ford Explorer is the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine with FWD. It returns 19 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 22 combined. With AWD, fuel economy falls to 18 mpg city, 25 highway, and 21 combined.

With the naturally aspirated V6 and FWD, the Explorer returns fuel economy of 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 20 combined. With AWD, this engine returns 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, and 19 combined.

The EcoBoost V6 engine, which comes standard with AWD, returns fuel economy of 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, and 18 combined.

Standard safety features on the Explorer include a full array of front- and side-impact airbags, a reversing camera, a post-crash alert system, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

The Explorer is available with a suite of driver-assistance features, including forward-collision warning, a lane-keeping system, and adaptive cruise control. This package comes standard on the Platinum, and is available on the XLT, Limited, and Sport. Blind-spot monitoring was once part of the Safe and Smart package, but is now standard on all but the Base trim.

From SYNC to Terrain Management to the latest driver-assistance features, the Ford Explorer is a well-equipped suburban machine. Beneath all that is a spacious platform, with plenty of space for occupants and their luggage.

Updated

From open-wheel racecars to specialty off-road vehicles, George Kennedy has driven it all. A career automotive journalist, George has been a contributor, editor, and/or producer at some of the most respected publications and outlets, including Consumer Reports, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Autoblog.com, Hemmings Classic Wheels, BoldRide.com, the Providence Journal, and WheelsTV.

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