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2019 Ford Explorer Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2019 Ford Explorer Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: Base vs XLT vs Limited, Sport & Platinum

What 2019 Ford Explorer Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

If it is not broke, don't fix it; this seems to be one adage that Ford holds firm to with its vehicles. The 2019 Ford Explorer is no exception to this rule. This model year, not a lot has been changed or needed to be changed to make it an enjoyable SUV to drive. In fact, there haven't been too many changes to the Explorer and its trim levels since its revamp in 2016.

Introduced back in 2011 as part of the fifth generation, the Ford Explorer has had to go up against some serious competition in the years since. This year, the Explorer still faces stiff competition, but each trim level manages to offer something attractive to potential buyers.

Of course, with five different trim levels to choose from, how are you supposed to know which one is right for you? Knowing what is included in each trim level and how they differ is crucial. From the base Explorer to the line-topping Platinum trim level, you get a lot of features for a reasonable price. Still, shopping on a budget means knowing which add-ons and packages you can equip on a given trim level.

Luckily, the Explorer is easy to customize. Even the base trim offers a turbo-charged engine option for those who are willing to spend a little more for extra power. With multiple options to choose from on various trim levels, it is important to know the differences between each trim level. That being said, let's get down to business and explore the different trims on the 2019 Ford Explorer.


Compare the 2019 Ford Explorer Base vs XLT Trims. What is the difference?

The base trim on the 2019 Ford Explorer is simply and aptly named the Explorer. Although it is slated in right at the very bottom of the line-up, the base trim has quite a bit to offer. This base trim is powered by a standard 3.5-L V6 engine (which is capable of generating 290 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque), but it also offers a turbo-charged 2.3-L 4-cylinder engine (which gets 280 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque). This powertrain is rounded out by a 6-speed automatic transmission that can be found on every trim level. Front-wheel drive comes standard, but there is an all-wheel drive option. The XLT also comes with this set-up, which does not change until you get to the Sport trim.

As far as appearances go, there are some ways to tell these two trims apart. On the outside, the base Explorer has black door handles, dual chrome exhaust tips, and a grille with a dark gray mesh insert and chrome bars. The XLT, on the other hand, comes with body-colored door handles and a grille with a standard silver or optional magnetic metallic painted mesh insert. It also has more customization options, such as a power lift-gate and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

On the interior, there are more notable variations. While the base trim comes with a manually-operated single-zone climate control system, the XLT has the option for a dual-zone set-up. Overall, the XLT is slightly more high-tech with its convenience features. It adds a push-button start function, optional remote start, a standard reverse sensing system, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The SYNC 3 infotainment system comes as an add-on but is not even an option on the base trim.

Entertainment is also upgraded on the XLT. SiriusXM Satellite Radio, which is optional on the base trim, is standard on the XLT. Additionally, the XLT has options for equipping Wi-Fi hot spot, the navigation system with voice recognition, and a seven-speaker sound system. Of course, adding these onto the XLT does increase the vehicle's price and might make the Limited trim (on which these features come standard) a more attractive purchase.

Compare the 2019 Explorer XLT vs Limited Trims. What is the difference?

Since we are on the topic of the Limited, let us go over how much it differs from the XLT. As previously mentioned, the Limited trim level includes a lot of standard infotainment features that only come as options on the XLT. Standard issue on the Limited includes a smart-charging USB port, a 12-volt power point, FordPass Connect (an app that keeps the driver informed about how their vehicle is performing), and a 12-speaker Sony audio system.

There are quite a few more convenience features packed into the Limited trim as well. On the Limited, you get a universal garage door opener, a front view camera, the remote start system, a heated steering wheel, the forward sensing system, an automatically dimming rear-view mirror, and the blind-spot monitoring system. These features do come as options on the XLT, but it is more cost-effective to just upgrade to the Limited.

You can tell the two trims apart on the exterior by the Limited's upgrades. The Limited has chrome door handles instead of the XLT's body-colored ones. Also, the Limited has a hands-free, foot-activated lift-gate. There are some distinguishing chrome roof rack rails, as opposed to the silver ones on the XLT.

Compare the Explorer Limited vs Sport Trims. What is the difference?

If you want to see some serious differences in terms of power and performance, you might want to check out the Sport trim. Decked in glossy paint, the Sport's body stands out with its black grille and matching black mesh insert. The LED taillights receive a blackout treatment that make the vehicle look unique. The quad chrome tipped exhaust also helps set the Sport apart from the lower trim levels.

The interior of the Sport is also rather unique. It features perforated leather on its heated seats, and red stitching helps to accent these seats. Second-row bucket seats with a power-assist folding feature are optional on the Sport.

As far as entertainment goes, the Sport has virtually everything that you can find on the Limited trim. The one difference is that you have the option to equip a premium sound system from Sony. Other than that, you won't notice too many alterations.

The biggest difference between the Limited and Sport trims is that the Sport receives its power from a turbocharged 3.5-L V6 engine. This strong engine is able to generate an impressive 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. All of this power gives the Sport a notably more athletic performance over the rest of the line-up, as does its firmer suspension. Also, if you want a good towing capacity, there is a towing package that you can equip.

Compare the Explorer Sport vs Platinum Trims. What is the difference?

At last, we have reached the very top of the 2019 Ford Explorer line-up. The Platinum trim level includes many of the things that you can find on the Sport trim but takes the luxurious approach instead of the athletic one you get on the Sport. In terms of power, the engine is the same 3.5-L that you get on the Sport, but the Sport has the added benefit of the sport-tuned suspension.

On the exterior, the Platinum equips standard automatic high beams, a satin-chrome finished grille, and a satin chrome lift-gate applique. In fact, all of the trim on the Platinum is satin chrome, which echoes the trim's emphasis on luxury. The power-folding mirrors that come optional on the Sport are standard issue on the Platinum.

Things are pretty luxurious on the interior of the Platinum as well. The platinum premium seating is packed with comfort since it is so well-bolstered. Also standard inside of the Platinum is a twin-panel moonroof, power-adjustable pedals with a memory function, and lane departure warning with lane keep assist. There is also an enhanced active parking system that helps drivers with perpendicular parking and backing out of a parking spot.

Like the Sport, the Platinum comes with the Class III trailer towing package. The Ford Smart and Safe package also comes equipped on the Platinum trim level. It is optional on the lower trim levels. With all of these features being made available, the Platinum trim is certainly one well-rounded model.


Final Thoughts

Picking a trim level on the 2019 Ford Explorer is going to essentially be based on how much you are willing to spend on the features that you want the most. Also, you have to consider how much power you want from a vehicle. If it is a sporty performance you want, the Sport trim is your best bet.

Of course, if you just want to have the Explorer as a daily driver, going with the mid-level Limited trim gets you a lot of bang for your buck. It is well-equipped with helpful driver aids and infotainment features and manages to look and feel upscale for a vehicle in its class. It is not as luxurious as the line-topping Platinum trim level, but for its price tag, the Limited stands out as the trim level to buy for the average driver.

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Compare the 2018 Ford Explorer Trim Levels