The Ford Explorer hit a big milestone this year, turning 27. Over the past quarter of a century, the Explorer has continually evolved into a better and better mid-size SUV. For consumers searching for Ford dealerships, looking for a great vehicle, checking out the Explorer’s past can provide insight into this amazing brand.
The Ford Explorer hit American markets in 1990, produced for the 1991 model year. Intended to replace the Ford Bronco, the new SUV provided a rugged, more attractive alternative to mini-vans and helped contribute to the rising popularity of SUVs. Some early innovations included in the first generation Explorer included a compass, automatic headlights, and a thermometer.
Ford overhauled the Explorer in 1995, making several additions that consumers liked. The second generation of Explorers included front airbags—the Explorer was the first SUV to include them as standard equipment—and a high-mounted stop lamp. The vehicle also got a new, more powerful 5-liter V8 engine in 1996. In 1998, some additional features, including a security system, were added.
In 2002, the third generation Explorer hit the market. New features included an independent rear suspension and a refined exterior design. Ford phased out its three-door version of the vehicle in 2003.
In 2006, Ford introduced the Explorer’s fourth generation. The vehicle increased in size as Ford added a third row to the vehicle. The new Explorer also included a simplified liftgate and power running boards. Safety improvements included side curtain airbags and a trailer sway control system. In 2008, Ford launched a unibody platform design for the Explorer. During this generation, the vehicle became more popular among law enforcement agencies.
The fifth generation Explorer represented a significant technological leap over previous incarnations of the vehicle. The Explorer added a 2-liter EcoBoost engine and electronic features such as traction control, and hill ascent and descent control.
In 2016, the Ford Explorer underwent a significant redesign, adding a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine that delivers more power than the conventional four-cylinder it replaced, along with great fuel economy. For 2017, Ford added some improved interior features and more aesthetically pleasing bodywork. The 2018 model of the vehicle incorporated LED headlights and foglights, and also added new interior and exterior colors.
Since it was introduced in 1992, the Ford Explorer has sold more than 7 million vehicles and is one of the most popular SUVs in the world. In 2016, the Explorer sold more than 248,000 vehicles—a tribute to the continued strength of the brand. Sales of the Explorer to law enforcement agencies is strong, as these organizations appreciate the size and durability of the vehicle. Looking back on the Explorer’s quarter-century of continuous improvement, it’s easy to see why consumers have embraced this amazing automobile.
Community Ford is an Indiana Ford dealer selling new and used cars in Bloomington, IN. For quality vehicles and a hassle-free car buying experience, visit Community Ford today.