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What's New For 2018
After an overhaul in 2016, the Ford Explorer isn't getting any major style upgrades in 2018. This year brings four new exterior color choices and fives different wheel types. The grill and foglights have been changed and quad exhaust tips come on some models. In the past, the Explorer has been more of an off-roader, but has now transitioned into more of a family transporter.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2018 Ford Explorer – The Pros
1. Attractive Exterior Styling
The 2018 Ford Explorer combines a rugged, square utility look with the elegance you'd expect in a pricey, luxury vehicle. The Explorer comes from the factory in one of ten different color options. Conservative choices such as Oxford White, Shadow Black and Ingot Silver are all available. Ruby Red Metallic is a choice for those who prefer to stand out on the road.
2. Spacious Interior
The 2018 Ford Explorer comfortably seats seven adult-sized passengers. This makes the Explorer the ultimate in family transportation. The front, middle and rear seating is all comfortable and roomy. There is plenty of head room and passengers can stretch out their legs on long road trips.
3. Tons of Cargo Room
Seats can be let down or configured to produce a lot of options for carting around cargo. The Explorer is spacious enough for groceries, hauling materials and more. There is also a lot of interior storage, cup holders and other perks that emphasize the vehicles use as a family hauler.
4. Excellent Performance
There are three engine choices for the 2018 Ford Explorer. Every engine performs well and offers a good amount of power. The 3.5-liter V-6 base engine offers 290 horses and 255 lb-ft of torque. Acceleration is good, handling is excellent and the ride is smooth and comfortable. Ford has done a good job making sure you have a quiet ride inside of the Explorer.
The turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost I-4 offers slightly better gas mileage, but less horsepower with 280 hp. For the most power, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 turbocharged engine produces 365 hp. It has 350 lb-ft of torque. All models come with a 6-speed automatic transmission as standard.
5. Good Fuel Economy in its Class
SUVs and trucks are not known for their good fuel economy. With that said, the 2018 Ford Explorer does get decent gas mileage in its class. The EPA gives it a rating of a combined 20 mpg. Specifically it should get about 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
6. An Endless Array of Features
There are a ton of options and choices for your 2018 Ford Explorer. If you want a stripped-down basic vehicle, you can get that. If you wish to opt for extra comforts and luxury features, there's no shortage here. All models come with a nice infotainment system, but upgrade possibilities include larger touchscreens and even more speakers for the sound system.
7. Nice Safety Features and Rating
The 2018 Ford Explorer come standard with a lot of safety features. The frame is reinforced in all of the right spots and consistently scores well in crash tests in the front, back and sides.
There are a lot of driver-assisting technologies included in the Explorer. Sensors help the driver to maintain their position within a lane. Sensors also warn you of nearby pedestrians and other objects and even apply automatic breaking to prevent accidents.
8. Utility and Towing Capacity
The Explorer can be used for work, carrying cargo and for pulling trailers and more. The base engine can safely pull over 2000 pounds, while the most powerful engine can handle 5000 pounds. If you have a boat or trailer to take on that family trip, your Explorer should be able to get the job done.
9. All-Wheel Drive Capability
The 2018 Ford Explorer comes standard for front, 2-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available. This makes light off-roading a possibility. It also makes the vehicle easier to drive in rough weather conditions. That also means that it is safer for family transportation.
10. Comfortable and Quiet Ride
The inside of the Explorer is roomy and very comfortable. The seats are all plush and cozy and the ride-quality is excellent thanks to a robust suspension system. The Ford Explorer is good at keeping road noises outside, where they belong.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2018 Ford Explorer – The Cons
1. Not as Good Off-road as Previous Models
The 2018 Ford Explorer is less geared towards off-road driving than its predecessors. Ford seems to be converting the main priority of the Explorer from a sports-utility vehicle into more of a family wagon. Off-road performance is still there, but not nearly as much as even the 2017 model.
2. Expensive When Fully Loaded With Options
The price of an Explorer is comparable or even less than its competition. It can, however, start to get pricey when you tack on a lot of optional features. The higher-end trims are on the expensive side as well.
3. Driver's Seating Position
Some test drivers believe the driver's seat is in an awkward position. It is recommended to take a test drive with the 2018 Ford Explorer or any vehicle, to make sure it is comfortable for you.
How it Stacks up to the Competition
Some of the 2018 Ford Explorer's top competitors include the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and the Chevy Traverse.
The Chevy Traverse is a bit more roomy and can fit eight passengers. For those with a larger family, it may be a better choice. The towing capacity for the Traverse is about the same as the Explorer, but it does lack the overall power, acceleration and horsepower the Ford offers.
Toyota's Highlander is a bit less expensive than the Explorer, but not by much. The Hilghlander also has slightly better fuel economy. The Explorer does have more overall options and trim levels.
The Honda Pilot is yet another excellent SUV with three seat rows. The Honda has more interior room, but the Explorer has better modern technology in that dashboard. Both SUVs have a similar price point and safety rating.
The SUV class of vehicles is a crowded field in the automotive world. If you are looking for off-road adventures and something sporty, then the Explorer may not be right for you. If your priority is transporting the family and taking kids to soccer practice, then definitely check out the latest Explorer.
• Why buy a 2017 Ford Explorer? w/ pros vs cons