Explorer has always held a leading position in the SUV segment, and 2013 is expected to be no different. A strong and reliable engine that returns decent gas mileage seems to be at the top of everyone’s list. It comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers 290 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, as is front-wheel drive, but four-wheel drive is optional, which includes Ford’s Terrain Management to optimize traction electronically based on driving conditions.
Zero to 60 mph in a four-wheel drive model is achieved in 8.3 seconds, which is average, and properly equipped, Explorer can safely tow up to 5,100 pounds. As mentioned, fuel-economy is better than some of its competition as front-wheel drive models return 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. Those who don’t mind sacrificing a little power for better fuel economy will want to explore the optional 2.0-liter “EcoBoost” four-cylinder engine.
Explorer is confident when cornering, composed on the highway, and manages to deliver a smooth ride on broken pavement. This is primarily due to its four-wheel independent suspension made up of multilink in the rear and short and long arm in the front.
One of the reasons Explorer continues to dominate this segment is because consumers know they can depend on it to keep them and their precious cargo safe. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has awarded it with a “Good” rating for frontal-offset, roof-strength and side-impact crash tests. When braking was tested, Explorer was able to stop from 60 mph in 122 feet, which is about average.
MyKey is standard for 2013, allowing parents to control speed and volume for teenage drivers. Also, Ford’s Curve Control is included, which monitors corners and will decelerate when needed. Other safe features include:
When it comes to appearance, the 2013 Explorer will turn a lot of heads. It underwent a full redesign just two years ago, and last year the underlying architecture was redesigned as well. Although 2013 brings virtually no changes, none were really needed. Chiseled lines offer a sporty appeal with an aggressive front end, oversized grille, privacy glass, roof rack and handsome wheels to top it off.
Even luxury SUVs have a hard time competing with this hushed cabin. It offers a stylish and comfortable space for seven passengers, but the third row seat is not nearly as roomy as Chevy Traverse.
Explorer features an upscale design. Quite honestly, it is just as nice as Lincoln; even the dash is soft to the touch. The MyFord Touch Interface provides a high-resolution screen and touch-sensitive climate and audio buttons. It is easy to navigate your way around without your eyes leaving the road for too long. Ultra-soft leather comes standard on XLT and Limited trims.
Once again, here is an area that Explorer excels in. With all seats in place, you are granted 24 cubic feet of space, which blows much of its competition away. If you need to haul large pieces of cargo, simply fold the rear two row seats flat to the floor for 116 cubic feet of space.