Ford Explorer

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Ford Explorer
Ford Explorer P4220630.jpg
Overview
ManufacturerFord Motor Company
Production1990–present
Model years1991–present
Body and chassis
ClassMid-size SUV (1991–2010)
Mid-size crossover SUV[1][2] (2011–present)
Chronology
PredecessorFord Bronco II

The Ford Explorer is a range of SUVs manufactured by Ford Motor Company. Introduced in 1990 for the 1991 model year, it is currently in its fifth generation. Variants have also been marketed through the Lincoln-Mercury Division as the Mercury Mountaineer (1997-2010) and Lincoln Aviator (2003-2005). As with the Ford Ranger, it derives its name from a trim package used on the Ford F-Series (from 1968 to 1986). Alongside it, Ford also markets the Ford Police Interceptor Utility, a replacement for the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. A specially modified Special Service Vehicle version is also available from Ford Fleet for law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and EMS agencies.

Intended as the replacement for the Ford Bronco II, the Ford Explorer was introduced in both two-door (the Ford Explorer Sport, also sold as the 1991-1994 Mazda Navajo) and four-door body styles, with the latter being the first four-door Ford SUV. Following the 2002 introduction of the third-generation Explorer, the Ford Explorer Sport was discontinued after the 2003 model year. The Ford Explorer Sport Trac is a mid-size pickup truck based upon two generations of the four-door style from 2001 to 2010. It was sold with several powertrain configurations. Along with two-wheel drive (rear-wheel drive 1991-2010; front-wheel drive 2011-present), part-time four-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive are options. Since 1995, part-time four-wheel drive has been a 'shift on the fly' system with full protection against being engaged at high speed.

As with its Ford Bronco II predecessor, the initial versions of the Ford Explorer derived its chassis and powertrain from the Ford Ranger, sharing a common chassis through 2001 for the four-door (the Explorer Sport was shared this commonality through its 2003 discontinuation and the Explorer Sport Trac would do so through 2005). For the 2002 launch of the third-generation Explorer, the model was given a body-on-frame chassis distinct from the Ranger. For the fifth-generation 2011 Explorer, the model range was shifted to unibody construction and into the full-size segment. Though sharing a similar chassis as the Ford Flex and Ford Taurus, Ford officially markets the current Ford Explorer as an SUV, slotted between the unibody-chassis Ford Escape and body-on-frame Ford Expedition.

First generation (1991–1994)[edit]

First generation (UN46)
'91-'94 Ford Explorer.jpg
First-generation Ford Explorer
Overview
ProductionFebruary 1990 – November 1994[3][4]
Model years1991–1994
AssemblyLouisville, Kentucky, United States (Louisville Assembly Plant)
St. Louis, Missouri, United States (St. Louis Assembly)
Valencia, Venezuela (Valencia Assembly)
Body and chassis
Body style3-door SUV
5-door SUV
LayoutFront engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
RelatedMazda Navajo
Ford Ranger
Ford Bronco II
Powertrain
Engine4.0L OHV Cologne V6
Transmission5-speed M5OD-R1 manual
4-speed A4LD automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase3-Door: 102.1 in (2593 mm)
5-Door: 111.9 in (2842 mm)
Length3-Door: 174.5 in (4419 mm)
5-Door: 184.3 in (4673 mm)
Width70.2 in (1778 mm)
Height3-Door: 67.5 in (1714 mm)
5-Door: 67.3 in (1709 mm)
Eddie Bauer 4-Door 4WD: 68.3 in (1735 mm)
1992 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer
Interior

The Ford Explorer was introduced in March 1990 for the 1991 model year. To better compete against the Chevrolet S-10 Blazer and Jeep Cherokee mid-size sport-utility vehicles, Ford sought to replace the Ford Bronco II with a vehicle sized closer to its competitors. In an effort to attract family buyers, a four-door version was developed alongside the two-door (launched the same month as the four-door S-10 Blazer).

As with the Ford Bronco II, the first-generation Ford Explorer shares its chassis and underpinnings with the first-generation (1983-1992) Ford Ranger. In comparison to the Bronco II, the Explorer is far larger, with the two-door Explorer Sport gaining 12.6 inches in length and 2.1 inches of width; a four-door is 22.5 inches longer and 730 pounds heavier.

As with its predecessor, the Ford Explorer has a large degree of commonality with the Ford Ranger, sharing its front bumper, fenders (modified), headlights, grille, and wheels; with the exception of its steering wheel hub, the Explorer shares its entire dashboard with the 1989-1992 Ford Ranger. In a major change from the Bronco II, the Explorer was given its own front door stampings. In addition for creating a four-door layout, the lack of commonality with the Ranger allowed for two major aerodynamic improvements; along with the elimination of exterior drip rails (by wrapping the doors into the roof), the sideview mirrors were integrated onto the doors (rather than bolted on).

Chassis[edit]

Sharing its engine with the Ranger and four-wheel drive Ford Aerostar, the Explorer was fitted with a German-produced 155hp 4.0L Cologne V6 as the sole engine offering, replacing the previous 2.9L V6. A Mazda M5OD 5-speed manual was the standard transmission offering, with the option of the Ford 4-speed A4LD overdrive automatic transmission. For 1993, the engine output was increased to 160hp.

Along with the standard rear-wheel drive powertrain, at its launch, the Explorer was also offered with various configurations of part-time four-wheel drive, powered by a Borg Warner 13–54 transfer case. In addition to a manually shifted transfer case, Ford offered "Touch Drive" electronic push-button shifting; both were "shift-on-the-fly" designs that allowed the vehicle to be shifted from two-wheel drive to "four-high" at any speed and into "four-low" when the vehicle was stopped. All Explorers were equipped with the Ford 8.8 axle in either a limited slip differential, or open version with a variety of available gear ratios. Four-wheel-drive front axles were the TTB ("Twin Traction Beam") Dana 35 with some Dana 44-spec components.

Trim[edit]

At its launch, the Ford Explorer followed the Aerostar, Bronco, Econoline, F-Series, and Ranger in model trim. The XL was sold as the base trim, with XLT as the upper range, with the outdoors-themed Eddie Bauer trim as the top trim. The XL was distinguished by a black grille (chrome optional) with steel wheels, while the XLT offered a chrome grille and alloy wheels; the Eddie Bauer offered alloy wheels and two-tone paintwork.

The Ford Explorer Sport was offered solely on the two-door body style. Offering black lower bodywork and grille and alloy wheels, the Sport was intended as a replacement for the Bronco II. From 1991 to 1994, Mazda marketed the two-door Ford Explorer as the Mazda Navajo; the model was awarded the 1991 Motor Trend Truck of the Year award.

The Ford Explorer Limited was introduced for 1993 as a luxury-trim model slotted above the Eddie Bauer. Largely introduced as a competitor to the Oldsmobile Bravada, the Explorer Limited was offered only as a four-door with an automatic transmission. Distinguished by its color-matched grille, headlight trim, and model-specific bodywork and wheels, the Limited was offered with several model-specific features, including automatic headlights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, foglamps, and center roof console (with compass and outside thermometer).

The Limited edition, added for the 1993 model year, was available only in the 5-door body style and was positioned at the top of the lineup above the Eddie Bauer edition. It featured automatic headlights, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, foglamps, a center roof console with compass and outside thermometer, unique wheels and grille, and an automatic transmission as standard equipment. The grill and headlight trims on the Limited edition were paint-matched to the body color, unlike the chrome (XLT) or black plastic (XL) versions on other trim levels.

Second generation (1995–2003)[edit]

Second generation (UN105/UN150)
95-98 Ford Explorer.jpg
Overview
Also calledFord Explorer Sport (3-door)
ProductionNovember 1994 – December 2000[5]
November 1994–July 2003 for Sport
Model years1995–2001 (5-door)
1995–2003 (3-door)
AssemblyLouisville, Kentucky, United States (Louisville Assembly Plant)
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Valencia, Venezuela (Valencia Assembly)
DesignerBob Aikins (1992)
Body and chassis
Body style3-door SUV (1995–2003)
5-door SUV (1995–2001)
LayoutFront engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
RelatedFord Explorer Sport Trac
Mercury Mountaineer
Powertrain
Engine4.0 L Cologne OHV V6 (1995–2000)
4.0 L Cologne SOHC V6 (1997–2003)
5.0 L Windsor OHV V8 (1996–2001)
Transmission5-speed M5OD-R1 manual (4.0 L OHV)
5-speed M5OD-R1HD (2001–2003 Explorer Sport)
4-speed
4R55E automatic (4.0 L 1995–1996)
4-speed
4R70W automatic (V-8 models)
5-speed
5R55E automatic (4.0 L 1997–2001)
Dimensions
Wheelbase1995–97 5-door: 111.5 in (2831 mm)
1998–2001 5-door: 111.6 in (2834 mm)
1995–99 3-door: 101.7 in (2565 mm)
2000–03 3-door: 101.8 in (2568 mm)
Length1995–2001 5-door: 190.7 in (4826 mm)
1995–97 3-door: 178.6in (4536 mm)
1998–99 3-door: 180.8 in (4572 mm)
2000–03 3-door: 180.4 in (4562 mm)
Width70.2 in (1778 mm)
Height67.0–68.3 in (1702–1735 mm)
Pre-facelift Ford Explorer XLT (Europe)
Interior

The second-generation Ford Explorer made its debut in late 1994 as a 1995 model. Retaining the same footprint as its predecessor, the 1995 Ford Explorer underwent extensive modifications to its chassis to improve its road manners. In an effort to better differentiate the model line from the Ford Ranger, Ford stylists redesigned the vehicle, giving the Explorer a model-specific exterior. As with its predecessor, the second generation was sold in both three-door and five-door configurations. Rear-wheel drive was standard, with four-wheel drive offered as an option.

Following the 2002 introduction of the third-generation five-door Ford Explorer, the three-door Explorer became a stand-alone model on the second-generation design; the Explorer Sport was produced through the 2003 model year.

This generation of the Ford Explorer marks the debut of the Mercury Mountaineer, introduced by Mercury for 1997. In 2001, the Ford Explorer Sport Trac was introduced, which was a mid-size pickup truck; offered with a crew cab with a short pickup bed, the Sport Trac was based on the five-door Explorer. The Explorer Sport Trac was produced through the 2005 model year (until it was redesigned for 2007).

Outside of North America, this generation of the Explorer was marketed in right-hand drive configurations[citation needed] As of 2018, RHD countries (such as Japan) export used examples of the Explorer to other countries (such as Australia and New Zealand) where there is demand for right-hand drive SUVs. Due to Japan's strict Shaken Laws, used vehicles tend to have low mileage with detailed repair histories.[6] In the United States, the second-generation Ford Explorer has the (dubious) distinction of being two of the top five vehicles traded in under the 2009 "Cash for Clunkers" program, with the 4WD model topping the list and the 2WD model coming in at number 4. [7]

Chassis[edit]

The second-generation Ford Explorer is based upon the Ford U1 platform shared with its predecessor, adopting the UN105/UN150 model codes. Alongside similar changes in development for the 1998 Ford Ranger, the long-running Twin I-Beam/Twin Traction Beam front suspension was retired in favor of a short/long-arm (SLA) wishbone front suspension configuration. Along with more compact packaging of front suspension components, the design allowed for improved on-road handling/feel.

Powertrain[edit]

The optional engine of the Ford Ranger and Ford Aerostar, the 160 hp 4.0L V6 was carried over from the first-generation Ford Explorer. To match the V8 engine of the similar-sized Jeep Grand Cherokee, for the 1996 model year, Ford introduced a 5.0L V8 as an option. Initially available on rear-wheel drive XLT models, the availability of the 210 hp V8 was expanded to many versions of the five-door Explorer. For 1997, revised cylinder heads increased output of the 5.0L V8 to 215hp. Following the 1997 introduction of the 4.6L SOHC V8 by the Ford F-Series and E-Series, the Explorer became the final vehicle sold by Ford Motor Company sold with a gasoline-fuel pushrod V8.

For 1997, the Ford Explorer gained a third engine, as Ford introduced an overhead-cam version of the 4.0L Cologne V6. Using a common displacement with the pushrod 4.0L V6, the 210 hp SOHC V6 rivaled the V8 in engine output. Offered as standard equipment on the top-trim Eddie Bauer and Limited trims, the engine became an option on all other versions of the Explorer and Explorer Sport. For 2001, the pushrod V6 was discontinued, with the SOHC becoming the standard engine in all versions of the Explorer (and the sole engine of the 3-door Explorer Sport).

In 2000, Ford added flex-fuel capability to the Explorer for the first time.

Engine Production Configuration Output Transmission
Ford Cologne V6 1995-2000 245 cu in (4.0 L) OHV 12V V6 160 hp

220 lb-ft

5-speed manual (Mazda M5OD-R1)

4-speed automatic (Ford 4R55E); 1995-1996

5-speed automatic (Ford 5R55E); 1997-2000

Ford Cologne V6 1997-2003 245 cu in (4.0 L) SOHC 12V V6 210 hp

254-lb-ft

5-speed manual (Mazda M5OD-R1HD); 2001-2003 Explorer Sport

5-speed automatic (Ford 5R55E)

Ford Windsor 5.0L V8 1996-2001 302 cu in (4.9 L) OHV 16V V8 210 hp

280 lb-ft

4-speed automatic (Ford 4R70W)

A Mazda-produced 5-speed manual was standard with both V6 engines; all V8 examples were equipped with a 4-speed heavy-duty automatic (shared with the F-150, Mustang, and Crown Victoria). On four-wheel drive versions, the four-wheel drive system was redesigned for the 1995 Explorer. In place of Touch Drive from the previous generation, ControlTrac was an electronically controlled full-time four-wheel drive system with a two-speed transfer case, with software controlling a multi-disc clutch (in place of a center differential). Along with traditional two-wheel drive and high and low-range four-wheel drive, "Auto" mode allowed software to maintain the amount of torque sent to the front wheels; if the front axle begins to spin faster, torque is shifted from the rear wheels to the front wheels until traction is achieved. Similar to TouchDrive, ControlTrac is dash-controlled, with a rotary selector for two-wheel drive(1995-1996), auto, high range, and low range.

Body[edit]

Facelift Ford Explorer

While visibly similar to its predecessor, many exterior panels from the 1995 Ford Explorer were changed, with only the roofline and the side doors carrying over. As part of the changes related to the redesigned front suspension, the entire front fascia was redesigned, with the Explorer gaining model-distinct styling. In a styling theme that would be used in several other Ford small trucks, the 1995 Explorer was given an oval grille; the headlamps were changed from rectangular to oval as well, wrapping into the fenders. Depending on trim, the grille and bumpers were painted gray (XLT), body color (Limited/Sport), or chromed. In contrast to the front fascia, the rear fascia saw relatively few changes, with the rear bumper nearly unchanged. Along with slightly reshaped taillamps (with amber turn signals), the 1995 Ford Explorer marked the debut of a neon CHMSL (center brake light).[8]

Alongside the redesigned exterior, the interior of the second-generation Ford Explorer was given a redesign. Maintaining commonality with the Ranger, the Explorer was given a new dashboard (marking the debut of dual airbags in an American-produced SUV), a new instrument panel; to improve user ergonomics, the Ford Explorer introduced a double-DIN radio panel and rotary-style climate controls.

For 1997, a third-row seat was introduced as an option; expanding seating to seven passengers, the design was only offered in export markets.

For 1998, the exterior of the Ford Explorer was given a mid-cycle update. Distinguished by the addition of fender flares, the rear fascia was restyled, with larger taillamps (deleting the amber turn signals); to better accommodate export, the license plate was shifted from the bumper to the liftgate; the neon CHMSL was replaced by an LED version. 16-inch wheels replaced 15-inch wheels (shared with the Ranger). For 1999, the front bumper was redesigned, allowing for larger lower grille and fog lights.

The interior was given redesigned front and rear seats, along with second-generation airbags; in 1999, side airbags were introduced (as an option). Other options included load-leveling air suspension (on Eddie Bauer and Limited) and a reverse-sensing warning system.

Trim[edit]

At its launch, the second-generation Ford Explorer retained the use of the previous trim nomenclature; the standard trim was the XL, with the XLT serving as the primary model upgrade. Along with the two-tone Eddie Bauer trim, the highest trim Explorer was the monochromatic Ford Explorer Limited. For 2000, XLS replaced XL as the base trim (introduced as an appearance package for 1999).

In contrast to five-door Explorers, second-generation three-door Ford Explorers shifted to a separate trim nomenclature. While the XL remained the base model (largely for fleets), most examples were produced under a single Sport trim level. In 1995, the Expedition trim was introduced; roughly the 3-door equivalent of the Eddie Bauer, the trim was discontinued at the end of the model year as Ford reserved the name for the Ford Expedition full-size SUV (which entered production in mid-1996).

For 1998, the Explorer Sport became the sole version of the three-door; following the introduction of the third-generation Explorer, the Explorer Sport became a distinct model through the 2003 model year.

Third generation (2002–2005)[edit]

Third generation (U152)
2002-2005 Ford Explorer -- 06-16-2011.jpg
Overview
ProductionNovember 2000–June 2005
Model years2002–2005
AssemblyLouisville, Kentucky, United States
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Valencia, Carabobo, Venezuela
DesignerEdward Golden (1997)[9]
Body and chassis
Body style4-door SUV
LayoutFront engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive / all-wheel drive
RelatedFord Explorer Sport
Ford Explorer Sport Trac
Lincoln Aviator
Mercury Mountaineer
Powertrain
Engine4.0 L Cologne V6
4.6 L 16-valve Modular V8
Transmission5-speed M5OD-R1HD manual
5-speed 5R55W automatic
5-speed 5R55S automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase2002–03: 113.7 in (2888 mm)
2004–05: 113.8 in (2890 mm)
Length189.5 in (4800 mm)
Width72.1 in (1828 mm)
Height71.4  in (1803 mm)

The third-generation Ford Explorer went on sale in January 2001 (as an early 2002 model). The U152 program began in 1995, with the final design being chosen in 1997 and frozen for production in February 1998, with development ending in 2000. The primary objective behind the third-generation Ford Explorer was to make the vehicle line more competitive in both domestic and export markets.[10] Along with tuning the Explorer for higher-speed European driving, the Explorer was benchmarked to lead against the Lexus RX300 and the then-in-development Volkswagen Touareg.[10]

Ford Explorer XLT (Australia)

To make the Explorer more competitive, Ford shifted away from typical SUV design, abandoning the use of the Ford Ranger chassis architecture in favor of designing a purpose-built platform. As part of the change, the Explorer became only the second rear-wheel drive American Ford platform fitted with four-wheel independent suspension (behind the MN12 platform). In another major change, the third-generation Explorer was developed solely as a five-door vehicle. Retaining the previous-generation chassis architecture, the three-door Explorer Sport continued production through the 2003 model year; the Explorer Sport Trac four-door pickup truck continued through 2005.

The third-generation Ford Explorer was marketed by all three divisions of Ford Motor Company: by Mercury as the second-generation Mercury Mountaineer; Lincoln marketed the third-generation Explorer from 2003 to 2005 as the Lincoln Aviator.

Chassis[edit]

The third-generation is based on the body-on-frame Ford UN152 platform. No longer derived from the Ford Ranger, the UN152 chassis was designed specifically for the five-door Explorer and its Lincoln-Mercury counterparts. In a major shift from its predecessors, the third-generation Explorer adopted a four-wheel independent suspension configuration, never before used on a Ford truck (on American-produced SUVs, fully independent suspension was previously exclusive to the Hummer H1). Similar to the layout used on the Ford MN12-chassis cars (1989-1998 Thunderbird/Cougar and Lincoln Mark VIII), each rear wheel was connected to the rear-axle differential with two half-shafts.

While the third-generation Ford Explorer was in development during the late 1990s controversy involving the Explorer and Firestone tires, the increased stability of the configuration was designed in part to reduce rollover risk.[11][12] In another change, Firestone tires (which had caused the rollovers and crashes of the Ford Explorers) were not made available on any version of the third-generation Explorer. Ford's AdvanceTrac RSC (Roll Stability Control) system became available as a standard feature on the Explorer for the 2005 model year.

Along with rear-wheel drive, the third-generation Explorer was offered with both four-wheel drive and permanent all-wheel drive; the latter was offered on the Explorer for the first time.

Carried over from the previous generation, the base engine for the third-generation Explorer was a 210hp 4.0L V6. Becoming the final V8-powered American Ford to adopt to the Modular V8, the third-generation Explorer offered a 239hp 4.6L SOHC V8 (shared with the Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis) as its optional engine. A five-speed manual transmission was offered for 2002 before its discontinuation; as of 2018, it is the final year a Ford Explorer was available with a manual transmission. As an option for both the 4.0L and 4.6L V8 engines, the Ford 5R55 transmission was offered, becoming standard from 2003 to 2005.

Engine Production Configuration Output Transmission
Ford Cologne V6 2002-2005 245 cu in (4.0 L) SOHC 12V V6 210 hp; 254-lb-ft Mazda M5OD-R1HD 5-speed manual (2002 only)

Ford 5R55 5-speed automatic

Ford Modular V8 2002-2005 281 cu in (4.6 L) SOHC 16V V8 238 hp @ 4750 RPM

282 lb-ft @ 4000 RPM

Ford 5R55 5-speed automatic

Body[edit]

In contrast with the second-generation (a major revision of the 1991-1994 generation), the exterior and interior of the third-generation Ford Explorer were completely new designs. While sharing a number of design elements with the 1997 F-Series and Ford Expedition, the Ford Explorer also served as the introduction of a new design theme for several Ford vehicles; the 2003 Ford Expedition, the Ford Freestar, Ford Freestyle, and Ford Five Hundred would share various elements of the 2002 Ford Explorer design. Retaining nearly the same proportions as the first two generations, the third-generation Explorer was an inch shorter in length and two inches wider, gaining two inches in wheelbase.

With the addition of independent rear suspension, several functional changes were brought as part of the redesign. The cargo floor was lowered several inches, adding nearly 10 cubic feet of total cargo room. Coinciding with the lower cargo floor, on nearly all models, a folding third-row seat was either standard or an option, bringing seating capacity to seven. The rear liftgate was redesigned, with the upper hatch enlarged.

Trim[edit]

Carried over from the previous generation, Ford produced the Explorer in four trim levels, XLS, XLT, Eddie Bauer, and Limited. Slotted below the XLS were two major trim packages, Sport Value, Sport Choice, with Sport Premium between XLS and XLT. The outdoors-themed Eddie Bauer continued production with a two-tone exterior (with a tan lower body); the Limited wore a monochromatic body.

Fourth generation (2006–2010)[edit]

Fourth generation (U251)
2006-2010 Ford Explorer -- 01-07-2012.jpg
Overview
ProductionJuly 2005–December 2, 2010
Model years2006–2010
AssemblyLouisville, Kentucky, United States
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Valencia, Carabobo, Venezuela
DesignerJeff Nowak (2003)
Body and chassis
Body style4-door SUV
LayoutFront engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
RelatedFord Explorer Sport Trac
Mercury Mountaineer
Powertrain
Engine4.0 L Cologne SOHC V6
4.6 L Modular 24-valve V8
Transmission5-speed 5R55S automatic
6-speed 6R automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase113.7 in (2890 mm)
Length193.4 in (4902 mm)
Width73.7 in (1854 mm)
Height2006–07: 71.2 in (1803 mm)
2008: 72.8 in (1,849 mm)
2009–10: 71.9 in (1,826 mm)
Chronology
SuccessorFord Bronco (2020)
Ford Explorer
Interior

The Ford Explorer and the Mercury Mountaineer were both updated for the 2006 model year on a new frame, produced by Magna International rather than Tower Automotive. Along with this new, stronger chassis, Ford updated the interior, redesigned the rear suspension and added power-folding third-row seats. Also, a tire pressure monitoring system and electronic stability control became standard equipment. Power running boards, like the ones from the Lincoln Navigator, were also made available on the Explorer and Mountaineer; the running boards lower to allow easier access when entering the vehicle, then retract upon door closure. Unlike previous generations, there was no right-hand drive option available for order, causing Ford to market Explorers in Japan in left-hand drive configuration. The LHD Explorers were desirable there because LHD vehicles are considered prestigious in Japan. Moreover, Ford switched to a one-piece rear liftgate design due to the problems associated with the previous generation's design.

The 210 hp (157 kW) 4.0L 12-valve SOHC V-6 was once again the standard engine. A more powerful 292 hp (218 kW) 4.6L 24-valve SOHC V-8, similar to the Fifth-generation Ford Mustang's engine, was available as an option. The 6-speed 6R automatic transmission, built by Ford and based on a ZF design, was made standard equipment with the V-8 engine as well. The five-speed 5R55W automatic transmission was advanced. It was the only transmission available for the V-6 engine, because the Mazda five-speed manual transmission was dropped in the previous generation.

The 2006 Ford Explorer was nominated for the North American Truck of the Year award for 2006.

Model year changes[edit]

In 2007, The Explorer received a few minor updates including standard AUX input on all stereos and optional power running boards, heated windshield, Ironman Package, XLT Appearance Package, and heated leather seat package.

For 2008, Ford added side curtain airbags across the Explorer range. Also, the optional satellite navigation system was also upgraded with voice control.[13]

For 2009, the Explorer received a trailer sway control system as standard equipment, and the navigation system received traffic flow monitoring with updated gas prices from nearby stations.[14]

For the 2010 model year, Ford's MyKey became standard on all Explorer trims.

Engine specifications[edit]

Ford Cologne 4.0 L SOHC V-6
Model years 2006–2010
Power (SAE net) 210 hp (157 kW)
Torque (SAE net) 254 ft⋅lbf (344 N⋅m)
Ford Modular 4.6 L SOHC V-8
Model years 2006–2010
Power (SAE net) 292 hp (218 kW)
Torque (SAE net) 315 ft⋅lbf (427 N⋅m)

Ford Explorer Sport Trac[edit]

The second generation Sport Trac came out in early 2006 for the 2007 model year. Unlike its predecessor sold through 2005, it featured the V-8 engine as an option and was based on this generation Explorer's platform. AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control was made standard on the Sport Trac.

Sport Trac Adrenalin[edit]

2010 Sport Trac Adrenalin

For the 2007 model year, the Ford Special Vehicle Team built the Sport Trac Adrenalin concept with a supercharged version of the 4.6 L Modular V-8, with 390 hp (291 kW), and featuring 21-inch (530 mm) wheels. Ford SVT said then it was the successor to the F-150 Lightning sports pickup truck. However, the SVT version of the Adrenalin was cancelled in a cost-cutting move as part of The Way Forward.[15] The Adrenalin was sold as an appearance package though from 2008-2010. It had blacked out headlights, black grill, mono color interior, different front and rear bumpers, vents in the front fenders and molded in running boards. It also came standard with 20" polished aluminum wheels, and the fender flares that came on the Explorer and standard Sport Trac were deleted.


Explorer America concept[edit]

Ford Explorer America concept

Ford unveiled an Explorer America concept vehicle at the 2008 North American International Auto Show.[16][17][18] The Explorer America concept is built on a unibody platform to reduce weight and improve driveability, migrating from the body-on-frame platform of the fourth generation Explorer. It is designed for up to six passengers while improving fuel economy by 20 to 30 percent relative to the current V6 Explorer. The powertrain packages in the concept vehicle include a two-liter four-cylinder turbocharged direct injection EcoBoost gas engine with 275 hp (205 kW) and 280 ft⋅lbf (380 N⋅m) of torque, and a 3.5L V6 version EcoBoost with 340 hp (254 kW) and up to 340 ft⋅lbf (460 N⋅m) of torque.[19]

Fifth generation (2011–2019)[edit]

5th generation (U502)
Ford Explorer 3.5 V6 AWD Limited (V) – Frontansicht, 10. September 2011, Düsseldorf.jpg
Overview
ProductionAugust 2010 – present
Model years2011–present
AssemblyChicago, Illinois, U.S. (Chicago Assembly)
Valencia, Venezuela (Valencia Assembly)
Yelabuga, Tatarstan, Russia[20]
DesignerBrian Izard, George Bucher (2007)
Mike Arbaugh (facelift: 2013)[21]
Body and chassis
Body style5-door SUV
LayoutFront engine, front-wheel drive / all-wheel drive
PlatformFord D4 platform
RelatedFord Flex
Lincoln MKT
Ford Taurus[22]
Powertrain
Engine2.0 L EcoBoost turbocharged I4 (front-wheel drive only)
2.3 L EcoBoost turbocharged I4
3.5 L Duratec Ti-VCT V6
3.5 L EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V6 (all-wheel drive only)
3.7 L Cyclone Ti-VCT V6 (Police Interceptor Utility, all-wheel drive only)[23]
Transmission6-speed Ford 6F automatic w/ overdrive (EcoBoost I4 model)
6-speed 6F SelectShift automatic (3.5L)
6-speed 6F SelectShift automatic with paddle shifters (Sport model)[24]
Dimensions
Wheelbase112.6 in (2,860 mm)[25]
Length197.1 in (5,010 mm)
Width78.9 in (2,000 mm)
Height70.4 in (1,790 mm)
Pre-facelift Ford Explorer
Interior

The 5th generation 2011 Explorer bore similarity to the Explorer America concept's construction, and includes a unibody structure based on the D4 platform, a modified version of the D3 platform.[26][27] The move from traditional SUV to crossover effectively vacated the midsize SUV segment for Ford until the revived Ford Bronco goes on sale for 2020.[28]

The fifth generation Explorer features blacked-out A, B, and D-pillars to produce a floating roof effect similar to Land Rover's floating roof design used on its sport utility vehicles; a design which Ford previously used on the Ford Flex. The fifth generation Explorer features sculpted body work with stepped style headlamps similar to the Flex, Edge, Escape, Expedition and F-150, as well as new stepped style tail lamps. The grille features Ford's corporate three-bar design with upper and lower perforated mesh work, similar to that of the sixth-generation Ford Taurus.

The development of the fifth generation Explorer was led by chief engineer Jim Holland, who was also a chief engineer for Land Rover; heading development of the Land Rover Range Rover (L322) 2005 facelift. Holland also worked on the Ford Expedition (U324) during its initial development.[29]

The fifth generation Explorer made its debut online on July 26, 2010. Ford had set up a Ford Explorer Facebook page ahead of its debut.[30] Assembly of the fifth-generation Explorer moved to Ford's Chicago Assembly plant, where it is built alongside the Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS. The Louisville plant, where the previous generation was built, was converted to produce cars based on Ford's global C platform (potentially including the Ford Focus, Ford C-Max, and Ford Kuga).[31] Like the Escape, the Explorer will continue to be marketed as an "SUV" rather than a "crossover SUV". It went on sale in late 2010, pre-launch sales had by the end of November 2010 totaled around 15,000.[32] The EPA rated fuel economy of 20/28 mpg city/highway for the four-cylinder EcoBoost engine option.

Features[edit]

Available features on the fifth generation Explorer include intelligent access with push button start, remote engine start, power liftgate, power adjustable pedals with memory, premium leather trimmed seating, heated and cooled front seats, dual headrest DVD entertainment system, adaptive cruise control, active park assist, SIRIUS Travel Link, MyFord Touch, Ford SYNC by Microsoft, Sony audio system with HD radio and Apple iTunes tagging, in-dash advanced navigation system, SoundScreen laminated acoustic and solar tinted windshield with rain-sensing wipers, 20-inch polished V-spoke aluminium wheels, and High-intensity discharge headlamps (HID) and LED tail lamps.

Unlike the Explorer America concept vehicle which only seats five occupants, the production Explorer holds two rows of seating with available PowerFold fold flat third row seating (like the previous generation) and accommodates up to seven occupants.[33]

Capability[edit]

The Explorer is available in either front-wheel drive or full-time all-wheel drive. At first only one engine was available: the 290 hp (216 kW) (255 lb⋅ft (346 N⋅m) of torque) 3.5 liter TiVCT (Twin independent Variable Camshaft Timing) V-6 attached to either the 6-speed 6F automatic or 6-speed 6F SelectShift automatic.

Soon thereafter, Ford offered the economical 240 hp (179 kW) (270 lb⋅ft (370 N⋅m) of torque) 2 liter EcoBoost turbocharged, direct-injected I-4 mated to the 6-speed 6F automatic. The I-4 engine is not available with the optional 6-speed 6F SelectShift automatic, and will only be available in front-wheel drive.[34][35]

The Explorer is available with an automatic intelligent all-wheel drive system inspired by Land Rover, featuring a variable center multi-disc differential with computer controlled lock.[36] Conventional front and rear differentials are used with 3.39:1 gearing. The center multi-disc differential controls the front-to-rear torque split, biasing as much as 100 percent of torque to either the front or rear wheels.[37] Depending on the Terrain Management mode selected, the center multi-disc differential's intelligent lock will allow for a 50:50 torque split in off-road conditions.[37] The power take off (PTO) unit includes a heavy-duty dedicated cooling system to allow the four-wheel drive system to supply continuous non-stop torque delivery to all four wheels indefinitely, without overheating.[38] A "4WD" badge is advertised on the rear liftgate on the all-wheel drive models.[39][40] Explorer's overall off-road crawl ratio is 15.19:1 with high range – no low range – gearing only.

Off-road electronics include Hill Descent Control (HDC), Hill Ascent Assist (HAA), four-wheel electronic traction control and Terrain Management.

Four-wheel electronic traction control (ABS braking) is employed to simulate front and rear differential locks via aggressively "brake locking" the front or rear differentials, transferring up to 100 percent of torque from side-to-side.[36][38][41] In the right conditions, the Explorer can keep moving even if only one wheel has traction, regardless of which wheel it is.

Terrain Management includes four selectable modes. Each mode is selected via a rotary control dial on the center console, aft of the transmission shifter.

Terrain Management System[42]
Default start selection: Normal Driving mode
Subsequent modes are selected by turning the control dial clockwise.
Second selection: Mud & Ruts mode
Third selection: Sand mode
Fourth selection: Grass/Gravel/Snow mode

Depending on the mode selected, Terrain Management will control, adjust, and fine tune the engine, transmission, center multi-disc differential lock, throttle response, four-wheel electronic traction control and electronic stability control (ESC) to adapt the SUV for optimal performance on the corresponding terrain.

Off-road geometry figures for approach, departure and ramp brakeover angles are 21°, 21° and 16° respectively.[25] Minimum running ground clearance is 7.6 inches (193 mm).[25] Standard running ground clearance is 8.2 inches (208 mm).[43] Low hanging running boards are no longer offered from the factory to help increase side obstacle clearance.

Moving to a monocoque body usually has a negative impact on towing capacity. The new Explorer will be available with an optional trailer tow package. The package includes a Class III trailer hitch, engine oil cooler, trailer electrics connector, trailer sway control (TSC), wiring harness and a rear-view camera with trailer alignment assistance to help in backing up to a trailer. If equipped with the trailer tow package the new 2011 Explorer will be able to tow up to 5,000 lb (2,300 kg) of braked trailer. That is 1,500 lb (680 kg) greater than the towing capacity stated for the Explorer America concept and 2,115 lb (959 kg) less than the outgoing Explorer's towing capacity, although that was only available with the 4.6 L V8 engine.[44][45]

Safety and security[edit]

Safety features include: Dual front adaptive SRS air bags, dual front seat side impact air bags, dual rear safety belt air bags (available first quarter, 2011) and side curtain head, torso and rollover protection air bags. Other optional safety features include BLIS blind spot information system with rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning with brake support precrash system, Auto high-beam, Roll Stability Control (RSC), Electronic stability control (ESC) and Curve Control.

The fifth-generation Explorer was the first-ever vehicle to be equipped with inflatable dual rear inflatable safety belts. Air bags are sewn into the inside of the seat belts, and inflate with cold air to prevent burns. Ford claims it will be released as an option and to introduce inflatable seat belts on other Ford models eventually.[46]

NHTSA[edit]

NHTSA Ford Explorer:[47]
Overall (2013–present) 5/5 stars
Overall (2012) 4/5 stars
Frontal Driver 4/5 stars
Frontal Passenger (2013–present) 5/5 stars
Frontal Passenger (2012) 4/5 stars
Side Driver 5/5 stars
Side Passenger 5/5 stars
Side Pole Driver 5/5 stars
Rollover FWD 4/5 stars / 16.9%
Rollover AWD 4/5 stars / 17.4%
Ford Explorer IIHS scores[48]
Moderate overlap frontal offset Good
Small overlap frontal offset (passenger side) Poor
Small overlap frontal offset (driver side) Marginal*(2013–present models)
Side impact Good
Roof strength Good

*vehicle structure rated "Poor"

Awards[edit]

The fifth generation Ford Explorer earned the 2011 North American Truck of the Year award.[49] The rear inflatable seat belts won the 2011 Best New Technology Award from the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada.[50]

2013 Ford Explorer Sport[edit]

2013 Ford Explorer Sport
2016 Ford Explorer Sport

The Ford Explorer Sport was announced March 28, 2012 as an option for the 2013 model year and went on sale in June 2012. The "Sport" trim level comprises blackened exterior treatments, stiffened chassis and suspension, larger brakes and the installation of the EcoBoost 3.5L Twin Turbo V6 rated at 365 hp (272 kW) and 350 lb⋅ft (470 N⋅m) of torque. It is the only version to feature a combined 4WD/EcoBoost option (a FWD version is not being offered for the Sport trim), allowing its MPG to average between 16/city and 22/highway.[51] This version will be slotted above the Limited trim and is expected to compete in this segment against Jeep Grand Cherokee's SRT trim and Dodge Durango's R/T trims[52] and a newly updated 2013 Chevrolet Traverse, the latter of which unveiled their new look on the same day as the Explorer Sport as their response to Ford's news.[53]

2016 facelift[edit]

2016 facelift

The refreshed 2016 model year Ford Explorer debuted at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, with a redesigned front fascia, hood and lower bumper, standard LED low-beam headlights, and fog lamps that were inspired by the thirteenth generation Ford F-150. The rear of the Explorer was also refreshed with restyled LED tail lamps and dual exhaust outlets. The 2016 refresh bumped the I4 engine to a 2.3 Liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine from the 2015 Ford Mustang. A newly introduced Platinum trim now tops out the range, slotting above the Sport and Limited trims. Similar to the Platinum editions of the F150 and Ford Super Duty trucks, the Platinum trim features front and rear cameras, enhanced active park assist with perpendicular park assist, park-out assist and semi-automatic parallel parking, hands-free liftgate from the Ford Escape, an exclusive 500-watt Sony surround sound system, and a heated steering-wheel. The Platinum trim is paired with a 3.5 Liter EcoBoost Twin-turbo V6 with 365 horsepower which was previously only available with the Sport trim. The 2016 Explorer went on sale at dealerships in the Summer of 2015. Other than the addition of the top-of-the-line Platinum trim, as well as standard eighteen-inch alloy wheels on the base Explorer trim, the changes are mainly in styling, exterior and interior color combinations, technology, and power.

2018 facelift[edit]

The Ford Explorer will receive a second facelift which will include a refreshed front end with revised LED headlights and redesigned LED fog lights plus new exterior colors, new interior colors, and new wheel designs.[54]

Engines[edit]

Type Model Years Power@rpm Torque@rpm
1,999 cc (122.0 cu in) EcoBoost 2.0 I4 2011–2015 240 bhp (180 kW)@5500 rpm 270 lb⋅ft (366 N⋅m)@3000 rpm
2,253 cc (137.5 cu in) EcoBoost 2.3 I4 2016– 280 bhp (210 kW)@5600 rpm 310 lb⋅ft (420 N⋅m)@3000 rpm
3,496 cc (213.3 cu in) Duratec 35 V6 2011– 290 bhp (220 kW)@6500 rpm 255 lb⋅ft (346 N⋅m)@4000 rpm
3,497 cc (213.4 cu in) EcoBoost 3.5 TT V6 2013– 365 bhp (272 kW)@5500 rpm 350 lb⋅ft (475 N⋅m)@3500 rpm

Sixth generation (2020)[edit]

An all-new, sixth-generation Ford Explorer will debut in 2019 for the 2020 model year, and is slated to return to a Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout (FR Setup) utilizing Rear Wheel Drive (RWD), as utilized by all Ford Explorers prior to 2011. Ford showed a prototype 2020 Explorer under wraps on display at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show in China. A high-performance Explorer ST is also planned, joining the Ford Edge ST as Ford's second SUV from their "ST" performance lineup. The former is expected to be powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0L EcoBoost V6 gasoline engine similar to the Lincoln Aviator. [55] Among the engine lineup, the now standard 2.3L Inline-4 EcoBoost remains while a new 3.3L V6 Hybrid producing a combined 302 bhp (225 kW) is added.

Explorer Sport variation[edit]

The Ford Explorer Sport was a 3-door version of the Ford Explorer, designed to take the place of the Bronco II in Ford's model line, and was produced from 1991 to 2003. The Sport began as a trim level of the Ford Explorer, but it eventually became its own model. It rode on a 10" shorter wheelbase. There was only one Sport, but there were several other trim levels of the Explorer that were available with 2-doors, such as the XL (1991–1997), the Eddie Bauer (1991–1994), and the Expedition (1995). In 1998 the Explorer Sport became the only 3-door trim level of the Explorer, and in 2001 it became its own model, as the second generation Explorer moved on to a 5-door-only 3rd generation. Production ceased in July 2003.

Fifth generation Explorer Sport[edit]

The Explorer Sport returned to the Fifth generation Explorer however the Fifth generation Explorer Sport has 4 doors instead of the 2 doors of the old Explorer sport but has a unique engine and styling compared to the regular Explorer

Mazda Navajo[edit]

1994 Mazda Navajo LX

The Mazda Navajo is a rebadged version of the first-generation Ford Explorer Sport that was sold during the 1991 to 1994 model years. It was Mazda's first sport-utility vehicle in North America and was sold exclusively in the United States (Mazda's Canadian division declined to market the vehicle). At its launch, the Navajo was sold in a single configuration, a three-door body with four-wheel drive. As with the Explorer, it was assembled at the Louisville Assembly Plant. The Navajo was Motor Trend magazine's Truck of the Year for 1991. The Navajo was not offered in Japan.

The Navajo and Explorer Sport largely differed in exterior trim, with unique taillights, grille, front bumper, and wheels. Inside, the two were nearly impossible to distinguish from one another, except for minor changes to seat fabrics, the typeface on the instrument cluster, and the Navajo was given a different design for its steering wheel hub. Similar to the 3-door Explorer, the Navajo came in two trim levels: base (renamed DX for 1992) and LX. In contrast to the Explorer, the base version of the Navajo offered power windows, power locks and power mirrors as standard. The LX added features such as extra interior illumination and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. An optional premium package loaded up the Navajo with luxuries including air conditioning, a stereo system with cassette deck, cruise control, sport seats with power lumbar adjustment and a pop-up/removable moonroof.

For 1992, the Navajo became available with rear-wheel drive, geared towards buyers who liked the sporty image of an SUV, but did not need four-wheel drive. Aside from the nomenclature change of the base model to DX (to fit Mazda's naming scheme), the Navajo changed so little that the company reused much of the photography from its 1991 promotional materials for another year. For 1993, the Navajo received mechanical upgrades alongside the Explorer, such as increased power for the V6 engine and four-wheel anti-lock brakes. Unlike the Explorer, however, the only other change was an optional CD player. For 1994, the LX model was given 5-spoke alloy wheels.

In comparison to the Explorer, sales of the Navajo were relatively poor and it was discontinued after the 1994 model year. Mazda would not market another sport utility vehicle in North America until the Tribute (based on the Ford Escape) launched for the 2001 model year.

Ford Police Interceptor Utility[edit]

Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicle operated by the California Highway Patrol.
Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicle operated by the Miami Beach Police.

Following the end of production of the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor in 2011, Ford began development of a police-service variant of the Ford Explorer. For the 2013 model year, Ford introduced the Police Interceptor Utility; as with the related Police Interceptor Sedan variant of the Ford Taurus, the Utility is referred to as a Ford Police Interceptor in lieu of being a Ford Explorer.

As with the Police Interceptor Sedan and the Ford Expedition SSV, the Utility is not sold for retail sale and is specifically designed for use by law enforcement or use by other emergency service agencies. Along with fleet-specific options such as steel wheels and provisions for user-specific paint schemes (such as contrasting doors), the Utility comes with provisions for the fitment of emergency equipment such as radios, lightbars and sirens. To free up interior space on the center console for equipment, the transmission is fitted with a column-mounted shifter.

The Police Interceptor Utility comes with an all-wheel drive powertrain standard. Over a standard Explorer, the Utility is fitted with larger brake rotors, more advanced ABS and traction control systems, a more efficient cooling system and other standard police equipment.

At its launch, the initial engine fitted was a 305hp 3.7L version of the Ti-VCT V6, shared with the Ford Mustang and F-150. For 2014, Ford added the 365hp 3.5L EcoBoost V6 (shared with the Police Interceptor Sedan and Ford Taurus SHO).[56]

The California Highway Patrol now uses the Police Interceptor Utility because the current Ford Taurus, Chevrolet Caprice and Dodge Charger patrol cars did not meet the payload the CHP requires for a universal patrol car.[23] In May 2014, statisticians R.L. Polk declared the PI Utility the most popular police vehicle, based on 2013 U.S. sales figures.[57]

Export sales[edit]

UK models[edit]

In the UK, the Ford Explorer was initially available as just one model, with the 4.0-litre engine and with a high specification – the only dealer options being leather interior. Second and third-generation Explorers for the UK and other RHD markets utilised a center console-mounted shifter and hand parking brake instead of the steering column-mounted shifter and parking brake pedal used in the North American models. In 1998, a facelifted Explorer was available with minor cosmetic interior changes and a revised rear tail lift which centered the rear number plate. In 1999 the model range was revamped slightly, the base model becoming the XLT and a special edition North Face version marketed with a tie in to North Face outdoor clothing. The North Face version was available in a dark green or a silver, with body-colored bumpers, heated leather seats and a CD multichanger as standard. In 2000, the North Face was also available in black. With the introduction of the all-new platform in 2002, Ford withdrew the Explorer from the UK and EU/EFTA market.

Middle East and Asia[edit]

In the Middle East, Taiwan, and China, the 2012 Ford Explorer is currently available in several trims, all of which have a 3.5-liter V6 engine and an automatic gearbox. Some GCC markets offer the front-wheel-drive version as a base model, while most of the trims have standard all-wheel-drive.[58] The latest generation Explorer was made available in Japan the Fall of 2015.[59]

Current exports[edit]

As of 2009, American-made Explorer is exported to Bolivia, Chile, Canada, Mexico, Panama, Dominican Republic, People's Republic of China, Japan, South Korea, Israel, Republic of China (Taiwan), The Philippines, Turkey, Russia, Iceland, the Middle East, and certain countries in South America and Africa.

As of 2014, the Explorer is available in Ukraine and Belarus.

Other usage[edit]

Gothic black Ford Explorer vehicles are also used by federal agencies, such as Secret Service for example.

Criticism and controversies[edit]

Rollover and Firestone Tire controversy[edit]

240 deaths and 3,000 catastrophic injuries resulted from the combination of early generation Explorers and Firestone tires.[12] The tire tread separated and the vehicle had an unusually high rate of rollover crash as a result. Both companies' reputations were tarnished.[60] This event led to a disruption in the 90-year-old Ford/Firestone partnership.

Rollover risk is inherently higher in truck-based vehicles, like the Explorer, than in ordinary passenger cars, as modification for bulky 4-wheel-drive hardware requires increases in height to avoid compromising ground clearance (raising the center of gravity), while a short wheelbase further reduces stability.[12] The previous Bronco II had already been cited by Consumer Reports for rollover tendencies in turns.[12]

The Explorer was cleared by the NHTSA as no more dangerous than any other truck when driven unsafely. It used the same tires as the Ford Ranger with a relatively low rating for high temperatures. Lowering tire pressure recommendations softened the ride further and improved emergency stability through increased traction, but increased the chances of overheating tires.[61] A 1995 redesign with a new suspension slightly raised the Explorer's center of gravity, but it was called inconsequential by a Ford spokesman. Memos by Ford engineers suggested lowering the engine height, but it would have increased the cost of the new design.

Explorer rollover rates, at the time of the controversy, were higher than any of its competitors. While Firestone turned out millions of sub-standard and potentially defective tires, and was the initial cause of loss of control many Ford Explorer Firestone tire tread separation rollovers, the blame shifted towards Ford for a defectively designed and unstable vehicle .[62]

In May 2000, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contacted Ford and Firestone about a higher than normal incidence of tire failures on Ford Explorers, Mercury Mountaineers, and Mazda Navajos fitted with Firestone tires (later including Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series pickup trucks). The failures all involved tread separation, in which the outer tread carcass would delaminate and cause a rapid loss of tire pressure. Ford investigated and found that several models of 15 in (381 mm) Firestone tires (ATX, ATX II, and Wilderness AT) had higher failure rates, especially those made at Firestone's Decatur, Illinois plant.

Ford recommended a tire inflation of only 26 pounds per square inch (179 kPa) likely contributing to the tread separation problem by causing the tires to operate at higher than normal temperatures.[12]

Ford argued that Firestone was at fault, noting that the tires made by Firestone were very defective. Nevertheless, Ford subsequently recommended that front and rear tires should be inflated to 30 pounds per square inch (207 kPa) on all Explorer models and mailed a replacement tire pressure door sticker indicating the same to all registered owners.

Some have argued that poor driver reaction to tire blowout was a contributing factor.[63] When a tire blew, the vehicle would experience a sudden sharp jerk, and many drivers reacted by counter-steering in an attempt to regain control. This action would cause a shift of the vehicle's weight, resulting in a rollover especially at higher speeds (many reports of rollovers were of vehicles being driven at speeds of 70 mph (110 km/h) and above). In a test simulating dozens of tire blowouts, Larry Webster, a test-driver for Car & Driver magazine, was repeatedly able to bring a 1994 Explorer to a stop without incident from speeds of 70 mph (110 km/h).[63][64] According to Forbes magazine, car experts and NHTSA claim that the vast majority of crash accidents and deaths are caused not by the vehicle, but by the driver, by road conditions or some combination of the two.[65] Many vehicle injury attorneys dissent from this view.[66][67]

In response to Firestone's allegations of the Explorer's design defects, NHTSA undertook a preliminary investigation and reported that further action was not required. Its conclusion was that the Explorer was no more prone to rollover than other SUVs given their high center of gravity.[68] The subsequent introduction and proliferation of electronic stability control systems have essentially addressed and mitigated this shortcoming.[citation needed]

In May 2001, Ford announced it would replace 13 million Firestone tires fitted to Explorer vehicles.[12]

U-Haul trailers[edit]

On December 22, 2003, U-Haul, the largest American equipment rental company, announced it would prohibit its outlets from renting trailers to persons planning to tow behind Ford Explorers due to liability concerns, with no published data to substantiate the claim.[69] Unofficial reports from employees indicated that it was due to the rear bumper separating from the vehicle, including the tow hook assembly. U-Haul did not alter its policies regarding the renting of trailers to persons planning to tow behind the Mercury Mountaineer, Mazda Navajo or earlier versions of the Lincoln Aviator, which are all mechanically identical to the Ford Explorer.[69] In mid-2013, U-Haul began allowing Ford Explorers of model year 2011 and newer to tow their trailers. All other Ford Motor Company vehicles are allowed to tow U-Haul trailers.[70]

Sales[edit]

Calendar Year Explorer (US) Police Interceptor
Utility (US)
1990 140,509[71] N/A
1991 282,837
1992 292,069
1993 301,668
1994 278,065
1995 395,227
1996 402,663
1997 383,852[72]
1998 431,488
1999[73] 428,772
2000 445,157
2001[74] 415,921
2002[75] 433,847
2003 373,118
2004[76] 339,333
2005 239,788
2006[77] 179,229
2007 137,817
2008[78] 78,439
2009[79] 52,190
2010[80] 60,687
2011[81] 135,179
2012[82] 158,344 5,863
2013[83] 178,311 14,086
2014[84] 189,339 20,655
2015[85] 224,309 24,942
2016[86] 216,294 32,213
2017[87] 238,056 33,075
Total 7,216,214 98,621

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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