The Ford Explorer is a sport utility vehicle (SUV) manufactured by Ford starting in 1990. The Explorer was destined to be one of Ford’s most successful top-selling models since it first hit the market. This SUV has received quite a few changes to both its interior and exterior over the years with numerous facelifts. All of the Explorer models through 2010 were body-on-frame mid-size SUVs. Ford decided to give this vehicle a more contemporary unibody in 2011, using the same full-size crossover SUV platform as Volvo. This was a combination between the more traditional body-on-frame and the full-size of the Ford Expedition.
Despite the tremendous popularity of the Ford Explorer, it has come under quite a bit of criticism over the years because of the numerous fatal rollover accidents in the 1990s involving models which were fitted with Firestone tires. There have been two and four-door models of this vehicle sold on the market. There is also part-time four wheel drive available, but it turned to a “shift on the fly” system in 1995, offering full protection against being engaged by other vehicles at dangerously high speeds. The Special Service Vehicle version is available from Ford for various law enforcement agencies as well as EMS agencies and fire departments.
The first generation of the Ford Explorer came in 1990 and ended in 1994. The Explorer first game off the assembly line in April of 1990 and it was finally released for sale to the public in May. These first generation vehicles had a new 155 horsepower 4.0 liter Cologne V6 engine which was manufactured in Cologne, Germany. These vehicles came with either a 4-speed A4LD automatic transmission, which was constructed in France, or a 5-speed M5OD manual transmission. Similar to the Bronco, the Ford Explorer in its first generation was derived from the Ranger pickup vehicle, which is why the Explorers were available with many options on the Rangers at the time.
Ford Explorers originally came in 4 different trim levels, including the base model XL, XLT, Sport, and the more high-end Eddie Bauer edition. The 1993 Explorer engine output experienced an increase by 5 horsepower, making for a total of 160 horsepower. The Limited edition of this vehicle which was added in 1993, could only be purchased with a 5-door design. The special Eddie Bauer version of this SUV features automatic headlights, foglamps, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, an outside thermometer, uniquely designed wheels grille, and an automatic transmission.
The fifth and current generation of the Ford Explorer brought with it many changes as well, including a body structure that was heavily based on the D4 platform, which was a modified version of the D3. This new Explorer comes with blacked-out A, B, and D-pillars for a floating roof design like the kind that is used on the Land Rover. Jim Holland was responsible for designing the new explorer as well as the previous generation of the Land Rover Range Rover.
The current version of the Ford Explorer comes with a myriad of features, including a push button start, power liftgate, premium leather trimmed seating, remote engine start, adaptive cruise control, DVD entertainment system, MyFord Touch, HD radio, in-dash advanced navigation system, and much more. The 2014 Ford Explorer is available in both front-wheel drive as well as full-time all-wheel drive. While only one engine was available at first, the 290 horsepower 3.5 liter TiVCT V6, another more economical 240 horsepower 2 liter EcoBoost turbocharger direct-injected I-4 was offered to consumers. Despite some design flaws and negative attention in the news, the Ford Explorer remains one of this automaker’s most popular models worldwide.