New 2019 Ford Explorer SUV
Ford Explorer SUV
The 2019 Ford Explorer should remain a top buy among roomy 3-row crossover SUVs, thanks to smart looks, punchy engines and decent equipment.
2019 Ford Explorer Pricing
For Sale Near 20146
2019 Ford Explorer KBB Expert Review
The 2019 Ford Explorer puts another candle in this generation’s birthday cake. Having debuted for the 2011 model year and received only the mildest of styling updates in the meantime, this large 3-row crossover SUV keeps up to date with plenty of technology. And it still manages to please families with its spacious cabin. But almost 10 years is a long time for a vehicle generation these days, and an all-new model is currently under development. This will strengthen Ford’s hand against rivals like the Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Mazda CX-9, Volkswagen Atlas and the Subaru Ascent. Considering the importance of family appeal, the 2019 Explorer has a mixed safety message. It did well in some crash tests, but not in the trickier small-overlap, front-impact test.
You'll Like This Car If...
You say you prefer technology to be user-friendly? The XLT trim (one level up from basic) is eligible for an 8-inch touch screen, the well-evolved Sync 3 infotainment system, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto with Waze, remote start and lock/unlock. The 2019 Explorer is also wearing the years well, looking like a less-well-off person’s Range Rover.
You May Not Like This Car If...
SUV or not, the Ford Explorer's main purpose is not exploring wilder places. Sure, the new Explorer offers all-wheel drive and even a terrain-management system that deals with various tricky surfaces, but off-roading is not a reason for buying one. It would be wiser to check out the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota 4Runner or the Land Rover Discovery.
What's New for 2019
The new Explorer XLT trim gains blind-spot monitoring and a power tailgate as standard. More infotainment and driver-assistance features are also available. Sport and Platinum trims receive steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, while the Sport offers heated rear seats. And new cosmetic choices join the list of options.
A shortage of horsepower is never an issue in the 2019 Explorer. The base 3.5-liter V6 puts 290 horsepower under the driver’s right foot, and even though the turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder option provides 10 fewer horses, it compensates with greater torque (which affects the rate of acceleration and is often preferable to outright power). Or there’s the turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 propelling the Sport and Platinum models with 365 horsepower. Each engine brings useful passing power and makes quick work of getting up to freeway speeds. The ride/handling balance leans more toward comfort than precision, but never gets too untidy. Noise levels are kept to a pleasant minimum, while the front seats are comfortable. The second row isn’t quite as plush, and the accessed-by-clambering third row is a kids-only zone. The adaptive cruise control works well, but we’d prefer it to have autonomous emergency braking (like the Honda Pilot), not just collision warning.
ENHANCED ACTIVE PARK ASSIST
The large front bumper and overall size of the 2019 Explorer mean any help with parking is going to be welcome. This system uses ultra-sonic sensors and helps get into and out of parallel spaces. The driver operates the accelerator and brake pedals, while the Explorer takes care of the rest.
HANDSFREE POWER LIFTGATE
Wave a foot under the Explorer’s rear bumper (because your hands are full of shopping and/or babies) and the liftgate opens automatically -- as long as the key fob is nearby, like in a pocket or purse. Do the same dance to close it. This feature is standard from the Limited trim upward.
There's seating for up to seven in the Explorer SUV, although the option of two bucket seats for the second row (cutting the tush count down to six) brings a little more comfort, along with easier access to the third row. Cargo space runs to 21, 43.9 and 80.7 cubic feet -- depending on how many seating rows are folded flat. These figures are all pretty good for the class. The overall interior design is functional as opposed to fussy, and cabin materials naturally become more lavish the higher the trim level.
As mentioned, there’s a strong hint of Range Rover to the Explorer’s exterior design. Just look at the LED low-beam headlights, grille and front bumper. The rear section is also reminiscent of a luxury yacht’s stern (especially in white). As a whole, the Explorer has an appearance that’s more upmarket than the mainstream world it inhabits. The Sport version comes with a blacked-out grille and is likely to be mistaken for a police vehicle, while the Limited and Platinum trims bring extra chrome into the picture. Alloy wheels are standard throughout, with the higher trims rolling on 20-inch designs.
Notable Standard Equipment
Trim levels for the 2019 Explorer are base, XLT, Limited, Sport and Platinum. The primary engine is the naturally aspirated V6. Other standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, LED low-beam headlights/taillights, keyless entry, 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, power/heated side mirrors, trailer-sway control, and a 6-speaker audio system. There’s also the Ford MyKey feature that allows owners to preprogram top speed, audio-system levels and various other parameters when another driver takes the wheel. Assuming no one ever buys the most basic version, though, the XLT brings a leather-wrapped steering wheel, push-button engine start/stop, blind-spot monitoring, inflatable rear seatbelts, and rear parking sensors.
Notable Optional Equipment
The really important options are the driver-assistance features. These become available in the Safe and Smart package, which includes adaptive cruise control, forward-collision mitigation and lane-keeping alerts. It’s standard in the Platinum trim, optional in the XLT, Limited and Sport. The turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine is also available in the bottom two trims, standard in the Limited variant. Stretching to higher trim levels is the best way to obtain more equipment. For example, the Sport and Platinum trims come with the twin-turbo V6 and all-wheel drive, along with upgraded leather upholstery, premium Sony audio system, leather-covered dash, and other luxury items.
Under the Hood
Most SUV buyers considering the Explorer should be happy enough with the standard 3.5-liter V6, but the two main reasons for selecting the 2.3-liter turbo-4 are greater torque and superior fuel efficiency. To really get things moving, the turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 comes standard in the Sport and Platinum versions. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is the default setup. All-wheel drive (AWD) -- employing Ford’s Terrain Management System with settings for sand, mud, grass and gravel -- is optional with the first two engines, standard with the most powerful V6. All 2019 Explorers have a 6-speed automatic transmission.
3.5-liter V6 (base, XLT)
290 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
255 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg (FWD), 16/22 mpg (AWD)
2.3-liter turbocharged inline-4 (base, XLT, Limited)
280 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
310 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 mpg (FWD), 18/25 mpg (AWD)
3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (Sport, Platinum)
365 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
350 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 mpg
The 2019 Ford Explorer range kicks off with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $32,365, which is then subject to a destination charge of $995, bringing the total to $33,360. However, we think buyers will be better served by the XLT, starting at $35,395. Bringing the 2.3-liter turbo-4 into the mix means another $895, while adding all-wheel drive costs an extra $2,150. The Explorer Sport and Platinum versions start encroaching on luxury-vehicle territory, at $47,620 and $55,160 respectively. Most rivals are priced more competitively. The KBB.com Fair Purchase Price helps you get a good deal by showing what other buyers in your area paid for their new Explorer. Resale values are stronger than those of the Dodge Durango, about the same as the Chevrolet Traverse and Honda Pilot, but not as good as the Toyota Highlander.
If you can get by without a third-row seat, consider the 2019 Ford Edge
Can you wait until the summer of 2019 for a new SUV? The 2020 Ford Explorer is redesigned
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Planning to lease? Read the KBB Complete Guide to Leasing first!
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Bonus Content: Is it better to shop at the end of the month?
Ford Explorer Consumer Reviews
February 03, 2019
A ton of power and features
I traded in my 2015 Range Rover sport for this Explorer thinking I’d be taking a step down- that is not the case! This vehicle has been...
December 31, 2018
Comfortable and plenty of room
The seats are the most comfortable seats in a SUV. I have back issues and find this to be one of the most important features of a...
December 21, 2018
Great Family Car For Montanans
This vehicle has the features of a luxury vehicle for a reasonable price. Snow and Ice mode really helps navigate bad road conditions....
October 03, 2018
great car, good value for money, reliable,
Guy Who Loves Fords
June 04, 2018
Excellent, Affordable, Sport Trim SUV w. 7 Seats!
Purchased this as my first SUV for the family; originally having come from a Honda Accord as a child, a Saab 900 SE Turbo as a young...
May 18, 2018
Love this vehicle.
Will probably buy another Explorer. Just had my first repair at 100,300 miles--left headlight burned out. Original tires lasted until...
March 08, 2018
Best Explorer Ever . . .
I have owned 3 Explorers over the years . . . a 1998, a 2004, and now a 2017. All of them have been the XLT trim line. I was not sure...
November 30, 2017
I love this car but the mileage is too high
I have no problems with the explorer, I want a lower monthly payment and less miles.The miles are because we drove to California and...
November 15, 2017
This car is a work horse.
I have owned this car for six years. I have not had to replace any major components. I did have to replace the back-up camera, but...
July 08, 2017
Love this vechicle have limited 6 cy. 4wh drive
Purchased for travel and it is a dream perfect suv.
2019 Ford Explorer Specs
2019 Ford Explorer Safety Ratings
How does it compare?
|#1||2019 Chevrolet Traverse||310|
|#2||2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee||295|
|#3||2019 Dodge Durango||293|
|#4||2020 Kia Telluride||291|
|#5||2019 Ford Explorer||290|
|#1||2019 Nissan Rogue||34|
|#2||2019 Chevrolet Equinox||32|
|#3||2019 GMC Terrain||32|
|#4||2019 Honda CR‑V||30|
|#35||2019 Ford Explorer||20|
|#1||2019 Jeep Wrangler||5 / 5|
|#2||2019 Volkswagen Tiguan||5 / 5|
|#3||2019 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited||5 / 5|
|#4||2019 Volvo XC40||5 / 5|
|#28||2019 Ford Explorer||4.2 / 5|