The Ford Explorer has long been the best-selling SUV in the United States, and it shows no signs of being willing to step aside and let another vehicle claim that distinction. For 2018, the Explorer comes with a slew of updates intended to take its appeal to new heights.
Keen to improve rather than rework a winning formula, the 2018 Ford Explorer attempts to strike a design balance between the blockier SUV look of old and the softer, more detailed look of modern times. Low-beam LED headlights are standard, and the impressively sculpted bumper makes the Explorer look more expensive than it really is. The flared wheel wells and strong character lines give it a hefty, muscular look. You get standard 20-inch wheels and black-out trim on the Sport trim and a generous dose of chrome on the Limited and Platinum. Despite its best-selling status, the distinctive Explorer looks anything but mainstream.
Three engines options come on the 2018 Ford Explorer. The base unit is a 3.5-liter V6 producing 290 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque. It does the job of hauling around seven people, but is outshined by the turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost® four-cylinder, which produces nearly as much power while delivering significantly more torque and fuel economy. And at the top of the line, the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost® V6 makes 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque — with an EPA-rated highway fuel economy still on par with that of the base engine in four-wheel drive configuration. For engineers, it’s a clear-cut indication of the benefits of turbocharging. For drivers and owners, it’s just a win, period.
There’s little more to want in the 2018 Ford Explorer than it already offers. Standard features include paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel, LED headlights and taillights, a rearview camera with a built-in lens washer and the Ford SYNC® infotainment system hooked up to a six-speaker audio system. There are a number of available and valuable upgrades so that, if you have the budget, it’s no trouble to convert the Explorer from a convenient and comfortable family-hauler to an opulent luxury barge.
It only takes a brief drive at the wheel of the 2018 Ford Explorer to understand why it has earned the admiration of so many people. Among its eye-catching design, comfortable interior, good performance and generous features, it ticks all the boxes without feeling like one area was compromised in favor of another.
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