Ford Explorer Review
The car above is the all-new Ford Explorer, a full-size family SUV that has been around since 1991 and become somewhat of a cash cow for the American brand. With new sheet metal and glass, new engine options, new transmission, and plenty more upgrades, let’s see if this all-new model has what it takes to be better than the aging Honda Pilot, the tech-savvy Kia Telluride, the outdated Nissan Pathfinder.
Now I know what some of you may be thinking, “Is this really the all-new model?” and I understand because it does not look all that different to the car it replaces. It is almost like Ford has found a design that worked and just decided to stick with it.
Ranging from different shades of white to black and everything in between, the all-new Explorer is available in 10 exterior colors with this color being called Rapid Red. Since this is the Limited model, which is Ford’s way of saying “full-option”, it does get a big chrome mesh grille, LED headlamps and taillamps, 20-inch aluminum wheels, and a lot more cool stuff that we’ll talk about when we get inside but before we do that let’s talk about boot space.
Being a family SUV, practicality is quite important, and the new Explorer does come with a foot-activated tailgate which is always helpful when you have got your hands full of groceries. Boot space measures in at 515 liters behind the third row, but if you use the buttons on the side and fold the third-row flat electrically, there is a more impressive 1,356 liters available for use. There is also underfloor storage that is divided into three compartments, and is quite useful if you want to keep valuables out of sight or things like a towing rope, jumper cables, etc.
Slimmer and sleeker than the older model, the dashboard in the all-new Explorer has been reworked quite heavily and is now far more modern. Since it is a dual wall dashboard and acoustic glass has been used on the windscreen, the new Explorer is said to be the quietest Explorer to date and there is not much reason to question that.
In terms of space, the new Explorer offers far more in all three rows than the older model and that is because of its wheelbase that has been increased by 165mm. In the second row, there is plenty of legroom and headroom even for tall adults, along with sunshades on the side, a panoramic roof overhead, and independent controls for the AC from those seated in the front.
Now Fords have always been known for offering better value for money and they do this by offering more features than the competition, it is the same case with this all-new Explorer. With families being the focus there are 9 power outlets to charge things like mobile phones and cameras while 12 Bang & Olufsen speakers make sure that road trips are just that little bit more enjoyable. Not to mention there are also things like ambient lighting, built-in navigation, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.
On the safety side of things, the all-new Explorer is equipped with Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 Assist+, which is essentially a bunch of systems that work together to minimize collisions. You are looking at adaptive cruise control with stop and go technology, lane centering, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, and a driver attention monitor.
It is all very good but there is one problem and that is the 8-inch infotainment screen. You see other markets get a much larger screen, almost like a tablet that sticks out of the dashboard but sadly there are no plans of bringing that to the UAE yet. The other issue is the position of the screen, it is extremely upright and placed in such a way that the only person who has a clear view of it is the person who is sitting in the middle of the second row. For the driver, it just is not very comfortable to look at or use for that matter.
Keeping all of that aside, however, Ford has worked extensively on this all-new Explorer and that is most evident in the driving department. Gone is the big V6 that powered the older model and believe it or not, but this full-size seven-seater SUV is now powered by a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine that puts out 300 horsepower and 420 Nm of torque.
Does it feel heavy and lethargic? No, it does not. Does it feel like it needs more power? No, it does not. In fact, it feels very nice to drive because of the 10-speed automatic transmission and the soft suspension set-up that makes it very, very comfortable over things like speed breakers or uneven patches in the road.
Although this new model is more rugged than the model it replaces with more towing capacity and 7 different drive modes including a deep sand mode, this is not the type of car you’d buy to do something like the Gulf News Fun Drive with. Sure, there is enough power to take on your favorite beach or a gravel shortcut to your home but anything more than that isn’t recommended and that’s because of a few factors: the ground clearance in the front is very litter, the low-profile tires, and the lack of low gearing and locking differentials.
It is big, it is got plenty of features and it drives well, at first glance the all-new Ford Explorer has a lot going for it. Sadly, it is let down by its poor quality. The panel gaps between the headlights and hood are not equal on both sides. The door panels are flimsy. The plastic trim around the steering wheel has not been put together properly and these are just a few things that I have discovered in my very short time with the car. So, is it worth its 199,000 Dirham price tag? I will let you decide…