December 6, 2021

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2022 Ford Explorer

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What kind of SUV is the 2022 Ford Explorer? What does it compare to?

The Ford Explorer is built for busy families, and whether that means lots of space for outdoor gear, shopping bags, or extra friends and family, the Explorer has it covered. The three-row SUV is right smack in the middle of the family SUV segment and rivals the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, and Kia Telluride.

Is the 2022 Ford Explorer a good SUV?

Review continues below

The Explorer earns a 6.8 TCC Rating, with plus points for its looks and refinement, but demerits for seating and, in most of its versions, value. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2022 Ford Explorer?

The 2022 model year brings a more affordable ST-Line version that matches the lesser 2.3-liter turbo-4 engine to the rest of the sporty ST package, for $45,845. The ST itself is now also offered in rear-wheel-drive versions, not just with all-wheel drive. 

Separately, Ford is bringing out the performance side in top-lux King Ranch and Platinum versions of the Explorer by giving them the ST’s 400-hp turbo V-6, versus a 365-hp version previously.

Ford’s Explorer has grown out of its boxy, “Jurassic Park” duds and into a longer, wider—but just as family-friendly—shape. But it’s not a simple one-size-fits-all SUV. Its wide range of trims and powertrains cover family needs ranging from an austere minivan replacement to a reasonably off-road-capable SUV to a sophisticated, luxurious vehicle that feels like it might bear a premium brand badge. As such, the Explorer is offered in base, XLT, Limited, Timberline, ST, King Ranch, and Platinum versions. Most Explorers on the lot will have a 2.3-liter turbo-4, making 300 hp and paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but many Explorers will come with all-wheel drive. A hybrid powertrain, combining a 3.3-liter V-6, electric motor/generator, battery pack, and 10-speed automatic, makes a combined 318 hp and can return an EPA rating of up to 27 mpg combined. 

The Explorer Platinum and Explorer ST have a 3.0-liter turbo V-6 that makes 400 hp. Although launch is a bit weak, it delivers a rush of passing power. The hybrid versions actually feel perkier from a standing start.  

Three rows of seats are standard in the Explorer, but the cabin feels smaller than it should, with the third row a kids-only space. Materials and trims are pleasing, if a bit understated in most versions, and the cabin is quieter than you’ll find in rival models. 

Every Explorer gets a touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. In most models that’s an 8.0-inch unit, but as part of a tech package included in ST, Platinum, and King Ranch there’s a 10.1-inch vertically oriented screen. Heated front seats, power front seats, and second-row captain’s chairs that give easier access to the third row are standard on all but the base model. It’s that next-up model, the Explorer XLT, that we recommend for most buyers—minus the 20-inch wheel upgrade. Limited models add heated, power folding second-row seats, a navigation system, a heated steering wheel, and a suite of “Co-Pilot360 Assist” features including adaptive cruise control and additional forward sensing. The Explorer ST can be fitted with 21-inch wheels covering massive high-performance brake pads—which you’ll need in this heavy vehicle if tapping into all 400 hp.

How much does the 2022 Ford Explorer cost?

The Explorer starts at $34,345 (including the $1,245 destination fee) for the base Explorer, in rear-wheel-drive version. All-wheel drive adds about $2,000, depending on trim level (it’s standard on ST trims) and the most expensive Explorer Platinum and King Ranch versions start at nearly $55,000 and can reach near $60,000. 

Where is the Ford Explorer made?

The  Explorer is assembled in Chicago.

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