It’s only fitting that the brand that helped put the world on wheels also helped introduce us to the wonders of sport utility vehicles. Although SUVs weren’t new to the industry in the 1990s, they gained popularity as more drivers discovered their versatility as family and cargo-friendly models with higher driving positions and excellent capability on and off the pavement. Ford capitalized on this new trend and introduced the Explorer in 1991 to replace the Bronco II.
With the Explorer’s penchant for adventure and top-tier trims like the Eddie Bauer offering every amenity imaginable, this SUV became a fan favorite in the Ford lineup, and that’s where we find the 2023 Ford Explorer today. The latest iteration in the Explorer family is not as boxy as its predecessors, adopting a distinct silhouette and a rugged stance that adds to its appeal. Moreover, Ford ensures there’s an Explorer for everyone, with its diverse trim lineup offering performance-oriented models like the ST, adventurers like the Timberline, and luxurious chariots like the Platinum and King Ranch.
The 2023 Explorer’s starting price of $36,760 gives it an edge in the segment, especially with the SUV’s value-oriented packaging.[a] The entry-level trim is far from basic, rolling off the production line with a power liftgate, rear parking sensors, and Ford’s Terrain Management System, which makes it easy to tailor the Explorer’s performance to the conditions and your driving style. Climbing the lineup expands on these features, offering everything from advanced driver-assist technologies to premium interior materials, off-road-oriented components, and performance-inspired details befitting of a best-selling SUV.
Horsepower (hp): 318-400
Towing (lbs): 5,600
Screen Size (in): 10.1
Trims and Value
Eight Diverse Options
The 2023 Explorer has one of the most extensive lineups in the segment, with eight trims designed to meet various driving, style, performance, and budget needs. The lineup starts with the base Explorer at $36,760, which is powered by Ford’s 2.3L EcoBoost with Auto Start-Stop Technology and comes standard with AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, rear parking sensors, and a Terrain Management System.[a] The Explorer XLT and ST-Line build on these features, with the ST-Line adding ActiveX seating material with red stitching to give the SUV a sporty feel. This trim also includes an available 12-speaker B&O sound system and the renowned Ford Co-Pilot 360 Assist+ that builds on the standard Co-Pilot 360 suite.
The Timberline is the Explorer’s rugged adventurer, immediately distinguishing itself with its unique Timberline Grille in dark carbonized gray. Behind the scenes, it adds a 3.58 Torsen limited-slip rear axle and steel underbody skid plates to enhance the SUV’s off-road performance. You can access other essential tools from the driver’s seat, like the 360-degree camera with split-view capability that shows you what’s around your Explorer to help you confidently navigate technical terrain, hook up a trailer, and more.
The performance-oriented Explorer ST and the luxurious Limited, King Ranch, and Platinum complete the lineup. The ST and King Ranch share a potent 3.0L EcoBoost V6 engine with 400 hp, but the ST differentiates itself with its performance-oriented details and exclusive badging. The King Ranch takes a more luxurious route and has Del Rio leather seating with hand-stitched logos and 20-inch aluminum wheels. The Platinum offers next-level luxury and innovation, from its plush leather seating to its twin-panel moonroof that provides an expansive view of the sky and a 14-speaker premium B&O sound system that delivers an immersive listening experience to every seat in this three-row SUV.
Performance and Capability
Reliable EcoBoost Power
The 2023 Explorer promises to meet your driving needs and exceed your expectations. Ford ensures as much by giving you a choice of three capable powertrains that offer the capability expected of an SUV that is built Ford tough. A 2.3L turbocharged EcoBoost inline-four engine starts the lineup and is standard on the Base, XLT, ST-Line, Timberline, and Limited trims. The power plant is impressive, delivering 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque to make the Explorer agile and responsive at any speed.
Drivers with a penchant for speed don’t have to sacrifice their performance dreams with an SUV like the Explorer. Instead, you can have it all with models like the ST, King Ranch, and Platinum. These trims are equipped with Ford’s proven 3.0L EcoBoost V6 engine, which produces 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque for outstanding off-the-line acceleration. With the 3.0L EcoBoost, the Explorer doesn’t handle like a traditional SUV but fulfills Ford’s promise to deliver an engaging and dynamic driving experience to anyone behind the wheel. Moreover, when you opt for the Explorer ST, you can learn to harness this power with a complimentary visit to the Ford Performance ST SUV Experience Driving School.
Hybrid Performance and Selectable Drive Modes
Completing the Explorer’s powertrain lineup is a surprising option that transforms the SUV into a fuel-sipping road warrior. The 3.3L V6 Hybrid engine is available on the Limited and Platinum trims, giving drivers a more efficient alternative without compromising performance or capability. Instead, the 3.3L V6 Hybrid achieves an excellent balance, delivering 318 hp and 322 lb-ft of torque. This output is even more impressive considering the hybrid Explorer can tow up to 5,000 lbs, offering the versatility you’d expect of an SUV that wears the Blue Oval badge.
Regardless of the powertrain, Ford makes harnessing the Explorer’s power straightforward with the Terrain Management System. Standard on every trim, the Terrain Management System offers subtle differences between two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models. Front-wheel drive Explorers come with six selectable drive modes––Normal, Trail, Slippery, Eco, Tow/Haul, and Sport––that finetune the throttle response, steering, and other performance-oriented components to match the conditions or your driving preferences. Four-wheel drive models add a seventh mode––Deep Snow/Sand––for added versatility.
Safety and Connectivity
The Latest Technology
The 2023 Explorer is equipped with the latest technology to keep you connected and informed as you navigate the road. This technology starts with the Explorer’s digital cockpit, which has a standard 10.1-inch touchscreen display. The expansive displays feature Ford’s renowned SYNC 3 infotainment system that equips the Explorer with a WiFi hotspot, smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Ford+Alexa, which gives you access to everything you need with simple voice commands.
As you climb the lineup, you’ll find a host of available upgrades that enhance your experience on the road. For example, voice-activated navigation helps you find the fastest route without taking your hands off the wheel, and wireless charging guarantees you can leave the charging cords at home. You can also outfit the second row with Ford’s rear-seat entertainment system and ensure your passengers are always occupied. The setup is especially attractive with the Explorer’s premium B&O sound system, which outfits the SUV with up to 14 speakers, depending on trim.
Keeping You Safe
The 2023 Explorer has an expansive collection of tools working behind the scenes to keep you safe. The Ford CoPilot 360 suite is standard across the lineup and acts as a virtual spotter, helping you monitor the front, rear, and sides of your SUV. The tools in the suite include Auto High-Beam Headlamps, a Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, Pre-Collision Assist, a Lane-Keeping System, and Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go.
Updating the Explorer’s driver-assist tools is easy with advanced technologies like Active Park Assist 2.0, which helps you maneuver the Explorer into a parking space. You can also upgrade the standard rearview camera to the 360-degree camera that offers a split-view capability and lets you use multiple tools simultaneously, like playing music via Apple CarPlay and navigating the quickest route. Other features like Post-Collision Braking are also integral to the Explorer and help minimize the risk of secondary collisions by engaging the brakes after the initial impact.
Your Ford Destination!
The Explorer has been an icon in America since it helped popularize SUVs in the early 1990s. Today, the 2023 Explorer builds on that popularity by offering innovative technologies, high-end luxury, and incredible versatility across its lineup. As a result, it’s the most well-rounded SUV money can buy, and it’s one of the many reasons we’re proud to carry the Blue Oval at Future Ford of Sacramento.
We appreciate the Explorer’s high-value packaging because it ensures our customers get more for their money. We take a similar value-oriented approach for everyone who chooses us because, like Ford, we’re committed to exceeding your expectations. While Ford achieves this with models like the Explorer, we do so by offering a high-caliber experience that lasts a lifetime.
Our goal is to help you find the perfect Ford Explorer, and we know meeting that goal starts behind the scenes with how we do business. By operating with integrity and transparency, we set the tone for your experience at Future Ford of Sacramento and replace the age-old tradition of a high-pressure environment where the sale is the only thing that matters. Instead, we’re invested in building a relationship with you, overseeing all your automotive needs, and delivering the same unparalleled experience whether you’re working with our sales and finance teams or our service department.