In the early 1990s, Ford redefined the sport utility market by introducing drivers to the four-wheel drive, V6 performance and five-door styling of the Explorer. However, after almost three decades on the market, Ford’s original SUV has gotten better with age, featuring new improvements and enhancements each year.
Here’s a closer look at the Ford Explorer over its five impressive generations:
First Generation: 1991-1994 Ford Explorer
The first generation Explorer was based on the Ford Ranger pickup. It came in both two- and four-door configurations and featured a 4.0L Cologne OHC V6 engine, which rated a cool 155-160 hp. The engine came in four-speed automatic or five-speed manual with standard rear-drive, but four-wheel drive was also available.
Second Generation: 1995-2001 Ford Explorer
During its second generation, the Explorer featured a more aerodynamic front end and numerous mechanical changes, including a fully independent short- and long-arm front suspension and a new rack-and-pinion steering set-up. In 1996, the 5.0L V8 became available with full-time all-wheel drive, followed by a more powerful 4.0L SOHC V6 and 5.0L V8. This was also the last generation to feature manual transmission.
Third Generation: 2002-2005 Ford Explorer
No longer based on the Ford Ranger, the third generation Ford Explorer went under an extensive redesign by offering seating for up to seven passengers thanks to the newly available third-row. As for engine options, the 4.0L SOHC V6 carried over, but the 4.6L SOHC V8 replaced the 5.0L V8.
Fourth Generation: 2006-2010 Ford Explorer
Overall, the look of the Explorer didn’t change very much for this generation. But, under the hood, many enhancements were made, including a new stiffer frame with through-the-frame-rail cross members and a revised front suspension. Although the 4.0L SOHC V6 and five-speed automatic carried over, the available 4.6L V8 gained a new three-valve head, which offered 292 hp and six-speed automatic. Inside, the interior was noticeably improved and Roll Stability Control, canopy airbags and other features greatly improved the SUV’s safety.
Fifth Generation: 2011-Present Ford Explorer
Based on a modified Ford Taurus unibody chassis and transverse engine layout, the fifth generation Ford Explorer was quite a departure from previous models. It debuted with a 290 hp 3.5L V6 with a six-speed automatic, and was available in front- or all-wheel drive. Ford also introduced a 2.0L EcoBoost I-4 engine option for improved fuel economy.
Despite its changes over the years, the Ford Explorer has always remained a customer favourite on our preowned sales lot, offering the right mix of power, performance and drivability with comfort and convenience in mind.
To learn more about the Ford Explorer, please contact our dealership in New Westminster, B.C. We currently have a number of used options in our inventory awaiting your next test drive.