The Ford Explorer is often credited for starting America’s infatuation with SUVs in the 1990s. Before the Explorer, most SUVs were manufactured as pure utility vehicles, like the Jeep. The Ford Explorer, on the other hand, was the first SUV that was designed for the average Joe. Ever since its introduction in March 1990, this vehicle offered a great blend of comfort and off-road capabilities in an affordable package. It has also gone through its share of controversies, with the rollover accidents that happened during the 1990s when the vehicle was fitted with Firestone tires.
The 2013 Ford Explorer marks the 23rd year of production for this vehicle, and it is part of the fifth generation which was introduced two years ago.
New For 2013
A new trim level, the Sport, has been added to the lineup. Powered by Ford’s 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine, the new model features a sport-tuned suspension, larger brakes, a standard four-wheel drive, a unique grille, exhaust tips, twenty-inch wheels, and leather sport seats. Front knee air bags are now standard in all Explorers, and Sync with MyFord Touch has been enhanced to make it easier to operate.
The exterior of the 2013 Ford Explorer remains the same from its last redesign in 2011, when the truck-based chassis was done away with in favor of a more efficient and space-saving unibody design. This design reduces the curb weight of the vehicle, and it shares a lot of similarities with the Ford Edge.
The 2013 Ford Explorer has very sleek and short stance, much like a car. The headlights and taillights are narrow, and they get narrower as you look lower. The Explorer has Ford’s familiar three-bar grille design that is gray in the base models, silver-colored in the XLT model, and body-colored in the Limited model.
17-inch wheels come standard with the 2013 Ford Explorer, along with black plastic moldings. The XLT model gets body-colored door handles, 18-inch alloy wheels, and black mirrors. The 2013 Ford Explorer Limited has 20-inch alloys and body-colored mirrors.
Interior & Cargo
The unibody design of the 2013 Ford Explorer gives it a lot more space than the previous generation, and the result is one of the best cabins in the SUV segment. The impressive build quality of the Explorer’s cabin is evident as the door opens. All the materials are of high quality, and there is an upscale feel to everything inside.
The dashboard of the Explorer has a soft feel, and the switchgear is very precise in models where it is fitted. The overall look of the cabin is quite good, and almost as good as a luxurious Lincoln.
The upscale and luxurious look of the 2013 Ford Explorer’s interior can be largely attributed to the MyFord Touch interface. This system comes with a high-resolution touchscreen display, along with two screens on the gauge cluster. The interface also comes with touch-sensitive climate control and audio buttons for easy access.
The MyFord Touch interface is quite good overall, especially with the voice activation system. However, the audio and climate control buttons are a little difficult to identify quickly, and they tend to be so sensitive that they end up getting pressed accidentally. At times, the buttons also fail to respond well, even after the latest software updates from Ford.
The cabin of the 2013 Ford Explorer is very spacious, but not as much as other SUVs like the Dodge Durango and Ford Flex. The cargo space can go only up to 80 cubic feet, so the Explorer is at the bottom of its segment in this case. The third row seat is also quite small in the SUV. This is generally quite common in three-row SUVs, but the Explorer’s third row tends to be more cramped than others. Nevertheless, it is still spacious enough to accommodate two children.
The driving position of the 2013 Ford Explorer is very well-thought out, because visibility is good on all sides. However, the high dash and the wide roof pillars may become a problem when the driver is trying to park the vehicle or maneuver through tight spaces.
The seating capacity of the 2013 Ford Explorer is seven with a second-row bench seat. However, captain’s chairs can be installed instead of the second row as an optional feature, bringing the capacity to six. The third row has a 50/50 split seat configuration. Almost all models get manually folding seats at the rear, except for the Limited model, which has power folding seats.
The 2013 Ford Explorer has anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control with Ford Roll Stability Control, and side curtain airbags as standard. Optional safety features include a blind spot warning system, backup camera, inflatable rear seat belts, and adaptive cruise control.
The 2013 Ford Explorer is fitted with a 3.5-liter, V-6 engine as standard, delivering 290 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque. It is available with the front-wheel or all-wheel drive. A turbocharged version of the same engine is also available, delivering 365 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque. Another optional 2.0-liter, turbocharged, EcoBoost four-cylinder engine is available, delivering 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission comes as a standard.
With a decent engine under the hood, the 2013 Ford Explorer feels very solid at highway speeds. The suspension keeps the ride smooth over rough pavements, and the vehicle feels very stable when going around a corner.
Even though there is no V-8 engine under the hood, the 2013 Ford Explorer is rather quick. The V-6 does its job very well, and makes for a fun car to drive.
Key Competitors For The 2013 Ford Explorer
- Chevrolet Traverse
- Honda Pilot
- Jeep Grand Cherokee
- Toyota Highlander