2024 Ford Explorer

2024 Ford Explorer
2024 Ford Explorer Rear Angle View 1
2024 Ford Explorer Dashboard
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2024 Ford Explorer Review: Midlife Crisis

The Ford Explorer has been around for decades, and besides the F-150 truck, it's the most popular Ford in the USA. Now in its sixth generation, it's built on the same platform that also underpins the Lincoln Aviator. But with a $37k starting price, the 2024 Ford Explorer is significantly cheaper than the upscale $53k Lincoln, so it competes with other mainstream three-row mid-size SUVs such as the Mazda CX-90, class-leading Kia Telluride, new Jeep Grand Cherokee L, and a rash of others, the list of which is as long as your arm in what is a hotly contested market segment.

The range is eight trims strong, with a 300-horsepower 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine kicking things off, while upper trims get a powerful 400-hp 3.0-liter V6. A mid-life refresh is due next year, and it's sorely needed; while the Ford is a competent car, it's falling behind the advancing class standards. Its cabin is in need of a redesign and its third row is tight. The unchanged-for-2024 Explorer is, therefore, at a distinct disadvantage against its rivals.

Summary

12 things to know before buying

New for 2024

In anticipation of a mid-cycle refresh for the 2025 model year, the 2024 Explorer remains unchanged for now, except for the discontinuation of the hybrid powertrain for civilian sales; the hybrid remains on sale as a police Interceptor. The price of a new Ford Explorer in base trim stays the same this year, but there are small price increases for some of the other trims.

2024 Ford Explorer Price: Which One to Buy

The base Ford Explorer still costs $36,760, just as it did last year, but some of the other trims in the range see small price increases of a few hundred dollars. The XLT's price is $38,570, followed by the ST-Line at $46,355, the Limited at $47,420, and the Timberline at $49,330. From here on, the most expensive trims all cost more than $50k, starting with the $50,005 ST and followed by the two top trims, the King Ranch at $54,525 and the Platinum at $54,670. These prices are for the trims in 2WD configuration, with the exception of the Timberline, which comes with 4WD only. Adding 4WD to any of the other trims will cost you exactly $2,000. All these prices are MSRP and exclude Ford's $1,595 destination charge.

There are a few niche Explorers, so if off-road ability is important, you'll want the Timberline, and if you want the sportiest drive in the lineup, the ST is the best. For people just interested in a well-equipped three-row SUV, the Limited makes the most sense. Its 300-hp engine is powerful enough, and it adds just enough features to the XLT to make it comfortable and luxurious enough for daily family use, such as leather upholstery, climate-controlled front seats, heated rear seats, navigation, a wireless charging pad, and a premium audio system. It looks a lot smarter on its 20-inch alloys, and it's safer thanks to its front parking sensors and rain-sensing wipers.

See All 2024 Ford Explorer Trims

Best Deals on 2024 Ford Explorer

Interior and Features

The cabin looks attractive enough but is starting to show its age, while the plastics and finishes are a bit chintzy compared to the competition.

At first glance, the interior of the Ford Explorer looks decent enough, with a modern layout, a portrait-style touchscreen in the center of the dashboard, and all the interior space and equipment you'd expect in this market segment. However, it soon becomes apparent that the Explorer is now four years old, so many other SUVs have overtaken it in terms of style. Quality levels are unimpressive, with various brittle plastics and budget surfaces and materials about the place. The upper trims compensate with leather on the seats and wood trim, but nothing can hide the fact that the underlying bones are in need of an update. No doubt, many of the improvements to the refreshed 2025 Explorer will be on the inside. Access is easy through big doors, and even getting into the third row is not much of a chore, though only children will fit back there.

2024 Ford Explorer Dashboard Ford 2024 Ford Explorer Central Console Ford 2024 Ford Explorer Driver Chair Ford 2024 Ford Explorer Central Control Panel Ford
2024 Ford Explorer Dashboard
2024 Ford Explorer Central Console
2024 Ford Explorer Driver Chair
2024 Ford Explorer Central Control Panel
Comfort is good, with the seats and steering wheel all adjustable, but ride comfort is not quite as soft as some cars in this segment.

Space

The Explorer sits on a fairly long 119-inch wheelbase, but cabin space is no longer competitive compared to what the competition is doing. It's roomy in the first two rows, but when it comes to the third, legroom is so limited that the plentiful headroom matters little; only children will be comfortable in the back. It's a shame because Ford has made it easy to get into the third row. The base model comes with a second-row bench and a seven-passenger seating capacity, but all the other trims have second-row captain's chairs, reducing passenger capacity to six - or just four adults, considering the cramped third row. You can substitute them for the bench if you prefer.

Cargo

Due to the restricted third-row legroom, trunk space behind this seating row is actually quite good, with 18.2 cu-ft on offer - more than various rivals. When the 50/50-split third row is folded down, trunk volume increases to 47.9 cu-ft, and with the 35/30/35-split second row stowed as well, a maximum of 87.8 cu-ft is laid bare - an excellent figure that compares with the class' best.

Cabin storage is good, with lots of places to stow and lose things, including the glovebox, four door pockets, a front-row storage bin and phone rest/wireless charging pad in the center console, two front seatback pockets, no fewer than ten cupholders, and an overhead sunglasses holder. The second row gets a small receptacle at the back of the center console and, if the captain's chairs are fitted, a shallow storage tray between them.

Ford ExplorerKia TellurideMazda CX-90
Seating
6/7 Seater7/8 Seater6/7/8 Seater
Headroom
40.7 in. front
40.5 in. 2nd row
38.9 in. 3rd row
40.9 in. front
40.2 in. 2nd row
38.1 in. 3rd row
39.7 in. front
39.3 in. rear
36.9 in. 3rd row
Legroom
43 in. front
39 in. 2nd row
32.2 in. 3rd row
41.4 in. front
42.4 in. 2nd row
31.4 in. 3rd row
41.7 in. front
39.4 in. 2nd row
30.7 in. 3rd row
Trunk Space
18.2-87.8 ft³21-87 ft³14.9-75.2 ft³
See Full Comparison

Materials and Colors

The base Explorer's cabin can only be had with a urethane steering wheel and regular cloth upholstery on the seats in a beige called Sandstone, with this hue also applied to the roof lining and door centers, and with black for the rest of the cabin. The XLT comes with a leather-trimmed steering wheel, upgraded cloth on the seats, and two additional interior colors added as alternatives - Ebony, or Light Slate/Black, the latter only in conjunction with the XLT High package that adds various other features to the tune of over $5k.

The ST-Line has ActiveX material on the seats with Miko inserts in Ebony only, accent stitching, and ST logos, while the ST gets the same material but with Heathered Cloth inserts, Deep Tangerine stitching, and Timberline logos. The Limited is the first trim to get leather upholstery - with either Sandstone/Black or Ebony interiors. In the King Ranch, you'll find Del Rio leather on the seats in a color called Java, with King Ranch logos on the seats and center console, with Norais wood trim. The Platinum gets Tri-Diamond quilted leather in Light Sandstone or Ebony with Gray Ash Swirl wood trim.

2024 Ford Explorer Dashboard 1 Ford 2024 Ford Explorer Interior Overview Ford 2024 Ford Explorer Maximum Cargo Space Ford 2024 Ford Explorer Trunk Space Ford 2024 Ford Explorer Seat Details Ford
2024 Ford Explorer Dashboard 1
2024 Ford Explorer Interior Overview
2024 Ford Explorer Maximum Cargo Space
2024 Ford Explorer Trunk Space
2024 Ford Explorer Seat Details
There’s a lack of space in the third tow, which is only suitable for children, so the Explorer is best ordered with the second-row bench if you need to seat five adults.

Features and Infotainment

At its price point, the base Explorer represents good value. It might only have cloth on the seats, a manually tilting/telescoping urethane steering wheel, no seat heating, and a small 4.2-inch driver-information display, but at least a power driver's seat and tri-zone climate control are standard. The higher trims gain lots of additional features, including a power passenger seat, heated and/or ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, leather upholstery, wood trim, a heated steering wheel, and tons more, some of these items being optional on the lower trims.

The infotainment system varies by trim, with many of its available features mixed and matched depending on the trim level. The base Explorer's 4.2-inch driver-information display is supplemented with an eight-inch touchscreen running Sync 3 software and incorporating Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, FordPass Connect Wi-Fi capability, SiriusXM, two USB ports, and an MP3-capable audio system with six speakers. The XLT and Timberline get a 6.5-inch digital gauge cluster, the ST a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and all three these trims a 10.1-inch touchscreen with two second-row USB ports, but only the upper two also get navigation, which is also standard on all the top trims and optional on all except Base. The Limited additionally benefits from a wireless charging pad, HD Radio, and a 12-speaker B&O sound system by Bang & Olufsen - the latter is also standard on the ST-Line and optional on all the other lower trims except Base. The two top trims also receive the ST's large digital gauge cluster. Trims with the 12-speaker audio system can also be upgraded to a 980-W 14-speaker setup.

2024 Ford Explorer Infotainment System Ford 2024 Ford Explorer Infotainment Setup Ford 2024 Ford Explorer Armrest Ford 2024 Ford Explorer Steering Wheel Design Ford 2024 Ford Explorer Gearbox Controls Ford
2024 Ford Explorer Infotainment System
2024 Ford Explorer Infotainment Setup
2024 Ford Explorer Armrest
2024 Ford Explorer Steering Wheel Design
2024 Ford Explorer Gearbox Controls
The tech is easy enough to use, and the infotainment system has all the features, but the Base’s digital displays are small.
BaseLimitedPlatinum
Tri-zone climate control
Heated power front seats
10.1" touchscreen with navigation
12-speaker B&O sound system by Bang & Olufsen
12.3" digital gauge cluster
Compare Features Between All Trims

Performance

There isn’t a weak engine in the lineup, with even the base four-cylinder providing strong performance and lots of bottom-end torque.

The engine in the Ford Explorer's base trims is a 2.3-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder with 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, good for a 0-60 sprint in the mid-six-second range. Top speed is limited to around 113 mph. The other engine is standard on the ST, King Ranch, and Limited is a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 with 400 hp and 415 lb-ft. With this engine, the Ford Explorer's 0-60 sprint drops by about a second. In the sporty ST, a top speed of 146 mph is possible. Last year's hybrid trim is no longer offered to the general public, only on the police's Interceptor model. All trims can be had in 2WD or 4WD, but the Timberline is four-wheel drive only. All models use a ten-speed automatic transmission.

Trailering is around class average, with a maximum towing capacity of 5,300 lbs for the four-cylinder trims and 5,600 lbs for the V6 trims with the Trailer Tow package fitted. The Explorer isn't meant to go exploring too far off the beaten track and lacks dual-range transmission, even in the 4WD variants. The Timberland is best suited to the job and has the best off-road ability of the lot, with a ground clearance of 8.7 inches.

Thanks to a stiff unibody structure and RWD layout, the groundwork is there for an enthusiast's SUV in the Explorer ST. Its sport-tuned suspension limits body roll and the package has been set up to maximize cornering ability, with a hearty V6 roar, a snappy transmission that hooks the right ratio swiftly, and sharp throttle response. On all-terrain rubber and with the opposite mission, the off-road-oriented Timberline rides higher and leans heavily in corners but compensates with some decent off-road ability, even if it's no Bronco. But its steering is too light and imprecise, and unless you're going to go exploring with it, you're better off with one of the standard Explorers, which still handles better than most cars in this class.

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2024 Ford Explorer Front View Driving
2024 Ford Explorer Driving Back View
2024 Ford Explorer Exhaust
2024 Ford Explorer Rear View Driving
2024 Ford Explorer Front View Driving 1
The Explorer’s ride and handling are very good, and the ST is a properly sporty SUV with sharp responses and strong performance that suit the ST name.

Fuel Efficiency

Non-hybrid gas mileage is best in four-cylinder RWD format, with the EPA's city/highway/combined estimates coming to 21/28/24 mpg, worsening to 20/27/23 mpg with 4WD. The Timberline four-cylinder AWD is slightly worse still due to its higher stance and all-terrain tires with 19/22/21 mpg. The Ford Explorer's mpg figures in V6 format aren't much worse - 18/26/21 mpg with RWD and 18/24/20 mpg with AWD.

The four-cylinders have a 17.9-gallon fuel capacity, giving them a best range of around 430 miles with RWD and a worst of around 375 miles in Timberline format. The V6s can do between 404 and 424 miles with their larger 20.2-gallon gas tanks.

2.3L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
RWD
2.3L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
4x4
3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
RWD
3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
4x4
Power
300 hp300 hp400 hp400 hp
Top speed
113 mph113 mph146 mph146 mph
MPG
21/28/24 mpg20/27/23 mpg
19/22/21 mpg (Timberline)
18/26/21 mpg18/24/20 mpg
0-60
Est. 6.5 sec.Est. 6.5 sec.Est. 5.3 sec.Est. 5.3 sec.

Safety

Safety is top-notch, with excellent crash scores and a decent suite of standard driver assists to help you avoid an accident.

Both the NHTSA and IIHS safety reviews of the Ford Explorer are positive, with a full five-star rating from the NHTSA for the 2024 model and a Top Safety Pick award at the IIHS for the 2023 model.

Various driver assists are fitted as standard, and even the base trim comes with forward-collision alert, automatic emergency braking, automatic LED headlights with auto high beams, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist with lane-departure warning, rear parking sensors, and trailer-sway damping. These features apply to the base, XLT, and Timberline. From the ST-Line and up, the other Explorers gain an auto-dimming rearview mirror and surround-view camera. From the Limited, you also get rain-sensing wipers and front parking sensors.

BaseLimitedPlatinum
Front-collision alert with braking
Blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert
Lane-keep assist with lane-departure alert
Surround-view camera
Rain-sensing wipers

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Reliability

The reliability of the Ford Explorer has been reasonably good. JD Power gave it a very good score of 82 out of 100 for quality and reliability, and there have been no recalls for the 2024 models so far. The 2023 Explorer was recalled several times for a blank backup camera display, a loose transmission bolt that may cause a rollaway, and a damaged turbocharger oil supply line in the four-cylinder engine that may leak oil and cause a fire. At least his is better than the 2022 Explorer, which was recalled an alarming 11 times.

The warranty of the 2024 Ford Explorer is just average. The limited warranty runs for three years/36,000 miles and the powertrain warranty for five years/60,000 miles, with no complimentary servicing included.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles

Design

The Explorer is inoffensive and handsome, even, with a square stance and an attractive fascia with standard LED headlights across the board. The distinctive sloped C-pillar is decked out in body color and contrasts nicely with the otherwise blacked-out, visor-like glasshouse. The base trims and Timberline run on 18-inch alloys - black on the latter and with all-terrain tires - but the rest of the lineup gets 20-inch wheels while the ST gets 21-inch items. The base car is also the only one without roof rails.

Grille treatment varies by trim. The ST trims get sportier exterior treatment with black grilles and blacked-out elements and lights. The Timberline sits higher off the ground and gets different fascias with improved arrival and departure angles, along with red front-bumper striping and red front tow hooks. The King Ranch and Platinum are the only ones with a standard twin-panel sunroof, but this is optional on some of the lower trims.

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2024 Ford Explorer Front Angle View
2024 Ford Explorer Rear Angle View
2024 Ford Explorer Front-End View
2024 Ford Explorer Side View Driving
2024 Ford Explorer Front Angle View 1
The Explorer is a good-looking SUV with purposeful styling and a well-proportioned body that looks good, even four years after it was introduced.

Verdict: Is The 2024 Ford Explorer A Good SUV?

The Ford Explorer is a trusted name and has been selling well for decades. It's proof that the top sellers aren't always the best cars in their class because several rivals now beat it on interior quality and third-row space. There's nothing much wrong with the Explorer, but it's due for its mid-cycle facelift and has changed very little since its introduction four years ago. The update is necessary to bring it back into line with its rivals, and we're hoping that will include a reworked cabin. For the time being, you're probably better off with a Telluride or Grand Cherokee L.

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