NEW YORK, New York — Following the reveal of the Ford Police Responder Hybrid, the Blue Oval provided a small surprise for a group of journalists in the form of the 2018 Ford Explorer. The popular crossover received a handful of tech-focused updates and will be on display at the 2017 New York auto show before arriving in dealerships this fall.
The biggest change is the addition of 4G connectivity with a Wi-Fi hot spot to the option list. The hot spot supports up to ten devices — enough for every occupant’s phone in the seven-seat Explorer plus a handful of laptops or tablets.
Another addition is the “Safe and Smart Package,” which is comprised of six systems — active cruise control, blind spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, automatic high beams, and rain-sensing wipers.
In addition to the fancy new tech, Ford says the 2018 Explorer receives styling upgrades, but the automaker did not specify what these are. As far as we can tell, these are minor and include a slightly revised grille, quad-tip exhaust, and new wheels — in fact, there are five new wheel choices. There are also four new exterior colors: Burgundy Velvet Tinted Clearcoat, Cinnamon Glaze, Platinum Dune Tricoat, and Blue Metallic.
Engine options are unchanged and continue to consist of a 290-hp naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6, a 280-hp 2.3-liter turbo-four, and a 365-hp 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6. The naturally aspirated six can be had in FWD and 4WD flavors, while the four-banger is only offered in a FWD configuration and the twin-turbo six only comes in 4WD. All come mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.