With premium styling and a huge touchscreen, China's Explorer makes the USA model look ordinary.
Outside of North America, China is the largest market for the Ford Explorer where the midsize SUV's spacious interior and strong powertrains have found favor with customers. While the 2023 Explorer hasn't yet been released in the USA, the Chinese-spec model has just been shown by the automaker. Some of the bold styling updates were leaked almost a year ago, but now we have a clearer look at the updated Explorer. Besides the styling enhancements, the Chinese Explorer is also receiving a huge interior tech update with one of the largest touchscreens available in any new vehicle.
Starting with the exterior, the Explorer's design was inspired by modern Chinese aesthetics, which is a flowery way of saying that there is no shortage of flashy chrome announcing the Ford's arrival. The grille has been widened and connects to the headlights, although the lights themselves haven't been dramatically altered. Restyled vents on the lower bumper, new wheel designs, and a so-called C-clamp rear lighting signature make for a neat overall design.
While hopefully having little to do with how the Chinese Explorer handles, Ford mentioned various forms of sea transportation more times than we can count. The 21-inch Turbine fan wheels are said to "spin like a ship's propeller" and the C-pillar graphic apparently mimics the "mast of a luxury sailboat". It doesn't end there, with a front end that "captures the essence of a ship's bow as it breaks through the waves."
In the cabin, the most attention-grabbing update is an enormous 27-inch touchscreen. The screen stretches all the way from the instrument cluster to the passenger-side ventilation outlet and looks nothing like the US-spec Explorer's optional 10.1-inch interface. There is also a new instrument panel and center console, wider and more comfortable seats, and elegant color schemes including ruby and black.
It's clear that the Chinese Explorer has a more high-tech, premium veneer than the one sold in the USA. Stateside, it's positioned as more of a practical family vehicle. The 2023 Explorer sold here is expected to be largely unchanged and will miss out on these exciting upgrades.