Ford unveiled the 2018 Explorer in a media preview ahead of its official debut at the New York International Auto Show, where it will take the stand with the Blue Oval's growing family of sport utility vehicles. The new model receives updated styling features, a new grille and a freshened diffuser in back. Other minor exterior touches include sporty quad exhaust tips on models with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6.

Bigger news is within and on the technology front. For 2018, Ford's 3-row midsize SUV will be available with a modem that offers a 4G LTE connectivity with support for up to 10 wireless devices at once, and its signal will reach 50 feet beyond the vehicle. The new Sync Connect with FordPass enables you to check fuel levels, find the car's location, or lock and unlock it via a smartphone app.

Also: Check out all of the latest news from the New York Auto Show

Safe and Smart Package

Also new on the 2018 Explorer is a Safe and Smart Package, which bundles active safety and driver-assist features. Among them are adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist system, automatic high beams and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Those features have been available or standard on higher trims of the Explorer SUV, but for 2018 they can all be had as a bundle starting with the XLT.

The 2018 Ford Explorer will continue to be offered in five trims and with a choice of three engines -- a 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder, a naturally aspirated V6, or an EcoBoost V6. The latest version of Ford's iconic SUV is slated to arrive this fall, and pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date.

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More Ford SUVs to come

In presenting the updated 2018 Explorer, Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service, said the latest Explorer is just one piece of a multi-part effort to meet the needs and demands of a broad range of buyers who are making an ever-greater shift to SUVs and crossovers.

"In the 1990s, SUVs defined the unstoppable American spirit, and once again, we’re seeing a utility boom take hold with a whole new generation of customers,” LaNeve said. “Two sets of consumers – millennials and baby boomers–are driving this growth, and Ford will be ready with a full portfolio of SUVs to meet their needs.”

To that end, the Ford executive went on to say that the automaker will introduce five new SUVs to the U.S. by 2020. The all-new Ford EcoSport subcompact SUV that slots below the Escape is set to arrive in the early part of 2018. Ford has also announced the return of the rugged Bronco nameplate in 2020. Also in the mix will be a small, all-electric SUV with a range of some 300 miles that's part of Ford's wider electrified initiative. Still to be revealed are two additional SUVs whose name, shape and identities are for now a mystery. 


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