BUYER'S GUIDE: 2019 Ford Explorer

Ford updated the Explorer for 2019 without much fanfare. A smart move, considering that the next-gen Explorer expected to roll out in 2020 will probably drown out anything new that the 2019 Ford Explorer can offer. That said, there are noteworthy cosmetic and tech updates that new car buyers can enjoy. Here's what to expect from last of the fifth generation of this full-size SUV.


Powertrain remains unchanged from the 2018 version: a 2.3-liter Inline-4 EcoBoost for the Limited trim and a 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost for the top-spec Sport. The 2.3-liter shells out 270 hp and 408 Nm, while the 3.5-liter cranks out 365 hp and 475 Nm. Both engines are linked to a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission controlled by paddle shifters. The Terrain Management System remains, allowing drivers to choose between sand, gravel, grass and snow settings to ensure the vehicle’s optimal driving performance.


A retooled front bumper and grille is immediately noticeable and imbued with more oomph, beginning with the smaller yet more stylish L-shaped fog lamps that replace the humdrum C-shaped look of the predecessor. The front grille insert also receives an enhanced look, with conventional slats swapping the outgoing model’s honeycomb design. At the back, the Sport trim is given a more distinct look courtesy of quad-tip exhaust pipes.


Inside, the dashboard now comes with stitched leather insert. Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system is ever-present, but with added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Other than that, the 2019 Explorer’s cabin stays practically the same: there’s still the Sony sound system with 12 speakers, dual panel moonroof, and powered front seats.


Beginning its life as a midsize SUV, the Ford Explorer turned full-size crossover with its fifth generation, jumping from a length of 4,902 mm (fourth-gen) to the current model's 5,010 mm--a whopping 108 mm difference. This amounts to a more spacious cabin for passengers and payload alike. The 2019 Explorer offers ultra-comfy seating for up to seven adults, and excellent room for cargo.


The 2019 Ford Explorer comes with all the airbags you can expect from a luxury car (driver, front passenger, side, curtain, and knee). Other standard features include ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, stability control, lane departure warning system, blind spot detection system, front and rear parking camera, and ISOFIX for the kids. New for the 2019 model are the adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist features.

Our Verdict

The Explorer enjoys a solid reputation as one of the most popular SUVs in America for almost 20 years. The good news is that the 2019 model builds on that legacy. For whatever purpose you want it to serve, weather as a people carrier, cargo hauler, trailer puller or off-road behemoth, the 2019 Ford Explorer can meet and even exceed your search for the perfect mix of style and versatility in an SUV.

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