Styling updates give Ford's midsize SUV more appeal.
As the world's largest vehicle market, numerous brands produce China-only vehicles to cater to the various needs of the country's myriad consumers. BMW, for instance, sells long-wheelbase versions of the 3 and 5 Series, which appeal to consumers who value legroom and status.
What's more, western carmakers have even taken to setting up factories over in China. Take Ford, for example. The Dearborn-based company sold more than 34,000 SUVs in China, just in the first quarter of 2021. Clearly, it's an important market for the Blue Oval. Staying ahead of the competition is essential, which is why the Chinese subsidiary of Ford has already updated its locally-made Explorer.
The midsize SUV boasts several attractive exterior updates, including sleeker headlamps and a revised grille, styled in the same vein as the Chinese market Mondeo. The model name is also now featured at the front, with the "Explorer" badging seen on the hood of the SUV.
Compared to the US-spec Explorer and the outgoing Chinese model, the facelifted SUV also features a more streamlined front bumper, with integrated fog lights and hockey stick-shaped chrome trim. At the rear, Ford has freshened the Explorer's appearance with new taillights, now extending onto the tailgate. In terms of design, it bears a faint resemblance to the upcoming Everest, which is yet to be seen without camouflage.
The interior is where the greatest changes are to be found. Gone is the portrait infotainment screen, replaced with a more modern and far better-looking widescreen display. Overall, the cabin looks more luxurious than the current US model, with classy wood veneer flowing across the dashboard and metalized climate control switches. The steering wheel and rotary gear selector appear to be unchanged.
The Chinese Explorer is built as part of a joint venture between Ford and Changan, one of the country's biggest vehicle makers. With a starting price of approximately $44,000, the Explorer is considerably pricier than its US sibling, which has a base MSRP of $33,245. While there is yet to be an official reveal of the refreshed Explorer, CarBuzz has previously reported that an update is in the cards for the 2023 model year.
Based on how attractive the new Chinese Explorer is, we're hoping Ford USA follows a similar route, especially when it comes to the tasteful cabin updates. Next year was also supposed to see an all-electric Explorer derivative, but the American carmaker has delayed its plans by approximately 18 months as it chooses to focus on Mustang Mach-E production.