2023 Ford Explorer is rumored to be adding an EV variant. However, Automotive News claims that production of the Explorer EV has been delayed until December 2024 in order for the brand to focus on high-end electric vehicles such as the upcoming Ford Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning.
Unfortunately, the Explorer EV specs and horsepower figures have yet to be announced. As it stands, the vehicle is expected to be Ford’s first 100%-electric three-row SUV.
The Mach-E, arriving in early 2021, is a smaller crossover available only in a two-row layout that seats up to five.
New Ford Explorer 2023 Review
Table of Contents
2023 Ford Explorer Redesign As an EV variant of existing vehicles, the Explorer could be in a good position to attract buyers.
Separately, Lincoln is said to be planning an all-electric Aviator SUV based on the same platform. Currently, the Explorer is available in a gas or gas-electric hybrid configuration.
For reference, the Mach-E has an electric range of up to 305 miles depending on its configuration. The Tesla Model X is currently rated for up to 332 miles. While it remains unclear where exactly the Explorer will land, the growing field of EV competitors offers between 250 and 300 miles.
Look out for updates as they become available.
2023 Ford Explorer Refresh
Ford will be releasing an electric version of the popular Explorer in the near future. But before this, the SUV will undergo a facelift for the Chinese market, with the potential to expand to other markets.
As reported by CarBuzz, the image above is of the new Explorer and was leaked by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
The most noticeable change is the new grille pattern which is styled almost like a honeycomb. Additionally, this Explorer version features newly designed vents, headlights and brake lights
Despite having a higher starting price – compared to the US – of around $44,000, the Explorer is a hugely popular car in China which means it made sense for Ford to give it a bit of a makeover.
And, due to the popularity of the Explorer in the market, the US will most likely receive similar changes to the car.
2023 Ford Explorer Changes
The Explorer is an icon of Ford’s SUV lineup, carrying the family with three lines since 1990. Ford is introducing the current sixth-generation Explorer for the 2020 model year, which is built on the same rear-drive based platform as the Lincoln Aviator.
Ford is positioned between the two-row Edge and three-row Expedition in Ford’s SUV lineup, and competes with three other lines including the Kia Telluride, Subaru Ascent and Chevrolet Traverse.
After being on the market for three years, Ford could give the Explorer a mid-cycle update for 2023.
If that happens, the Explorer 2023 will get a few styling changes plus a few new features, likely including the Ford BlueCruise semi-autonomous driving system. We don’t expect major powertrain changes.
We rate the Explorer as a midpack player in the three-row SUV segment.
When we evaluated the 2020 SUV of the Year, we appreciated the new handling prowess that Ford’s switch to an RWD-based platform (especially in the 400-hp Explorer ST) and praised the hybrid for returning strong fuel economy figures with little penalty in towing capacity or performance. .
That said, the interior of the pre-2023 model is disappointing, especially considering the Explorer’s high price tag.
The quality of the materials and the build quality are clearly lacking in comparison not only to its counterparts, but also to its predecessors.
Fuel economy, technology and design are all subpar for this segment; there are other three-row SUVs that will serve you better. We look forward to seeing if the Ford Explorer 2023 will address any of these issues.
2023 Ford Explorer ST
The Ford Explorer 2023 will remain one of the most popular midsize 3-row SUVs thanks to its wide range of engine options, including fuel-sucking hybrids, and the versatility that comes with room for up to seven people.
After debuting for the 2020 model year, the Explorer 2023 could usher in several minor updates (and perhaps one major addition) to the lineup. Last year, Ford was busy offering the new ST-Line trim, along with a rear-wheel-drive version of the sporty 400-horsepower ST model.
The Explorer 2023 could continue this gradual evolution with a mid-cycle update to the exterior, potentially borrowing design cues from the larger Expeditionary SUV and F-150 full-size pickup truck.
It is possible, though not confirmed, that Ford will add a plug-in hybrid variant (2023 Ford Explorer PHEV) to the Explorer lineup at some point as well.
With the fully electric F-150 in the works and the smaller Escape PHEV already on sale, it seems likely that some sort of additional electrification – in addition to the existing hybrid version – will be present in the popular Explorer.
With the Escape PHEV offering an electric driving range of 37 miles, a similar figure in the larger and heavier Explorer should be possible with a little bit of engineering finesse.
As for the rest of the Explorer range, it will continue to offer the standard 4-cylinder turbo, two twin-turbocharged V6 versions, along with a 4-cylinder hybrid powertrain.
Ford’s intuitive 2023 Explorer SYNC 4 infotainment system is already one of the better systems available in a midsize SUV, though don’t be surprised if the 2023 Explorer adds more of the standard tech touches like wireless charging, or wireless smartphone connectivity.
This was included when the optional 12-inch infotainment screen was added.
2023 Ford Explorer Facelift
The latest generation Ford Explorer made its debut for the 2020 model year. It was quickly embraced by longtime fans for one main reason: the return of the rear-wheel drive platform.
Previous fifth-generation models relied on a modified version of Ford’s D4 front-wheel drive architecture originally developed by Volvo. For 2022, the Explorer ST loses the standard AWD and there’s a new ST-line trim.
Looking further ahead, the all-electric version will reportedly be released in 2023 and will be built along the Mustang Mach-E in Mexico. Ford has not confirmed this.
But something else is also happening for the 2023 model year: a mid-life facelift, at least for the Chinese market version.
What you see is a leaked image of the updated Explorer. The image is from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. So much for state secrets.
Notice the new front end with fully revamped vents on each side of the lower front bumper. The headlights and taillights have been reshaped but not dramatically. There’s also a new grille pattern and a new wheel design.
It is possible that neither of these changes will be applied to the American specification model. The American and Chinese Explorers (pictured below) look slightly different at the front and rear despite sharing the platform and the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine.
The SUV’s popularity continues to rise in China and the Explorer in that country is built locally as part of a joint venture between Ford and Changan, the Chinese automaker.
The Chinese market explorer carries a starting price of 309,800 yuan, or about $44,000. It’s much higher than here. The base model starts at $32,925 with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost that makes 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque.
A 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 with 400 hp and 415 lb-ft is found in higher trims such as the ST and 2023 Ford Explorer King Ranch.
2023 will be a big year for Explorer. Both the US and China will get a refresh but what we’re looking forward to, what’s more, is a pure battery-electric version.
2023 Ford Explorer Electric
2023 Ford Explorer Hybrid The short answer? This is being worked on. Ford is developing a new electric architecture to support future electric versions of the Explorer, Bronco, Range, and Lincoln Aviator.
According to a recent report from Automotive News, production isn’t scheduled until December 2024.
2023 Ford Explorer Specs
Each version of the Explorer pairs the engine with a 10-speed automatic transmission. With all trims, RWD is standard and AWD is optionally available.
Below are our expectations of what we can expect from the Explorer 2023 lineup options.
- Base, 2023 Ford Explorer XLT, ST-Line, 2023 Ford Explorer Timberline, Limited
- Engine: 2.3 liter turbo-four
- Horsepower/Torque : 300 hp/310 lb-ft
- Efficiency (city/highway): 20-21/27-28 mpg
- Acceleration (0-60 mph): 6.8 seconds
- Limited Hybrid, Platinum Hybrid
- Engine: 3.3-liter V-6
- Horsepower/Torque : 318 hp/322 lb-ft
- Efficiency (city/highway): 23-27/24-28 mpg
- Acceleration (0-60 mph): 7.7 seconds
- ST, 2023 Ford Explorer Platinum
- Engine: 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6
- Horsepower/Torque : 365 hp/380 lb-ft (Platinum); 400 hp/415 lb-ft (ST)
- Efficiency (city/highway): 18/24-26 mpg
- Acceleration (0-60 mph): 5.3 seconds
2023 Ford Explorer Interior
Ford is on par for this segment if you compare the interior dimensions of the Explorer with its direct competitors. Against the Kia Telluride and Toyota Highlander, the Explorer has the most legroom in the first and third rows, but the least in the second row.
Cargo space behind the third and second row seats is somewhere between Kia and Toyota’s dimensions, and the Explorer slightly outperforms the Telluride for maximum cargo space.
The sixth-generation Explorer launched with a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a 12.3-inch setup in higher trims; it’s likely that for 2023, a larger screen will be standard and Ford could add the 15.5-inch display that debuted in the Mustang Mach-E.
Either way, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Wi-Fi hotspot capability, and Bluetooth streaming will be standard. A fully digital instrument cluster may also be available.
2023 Ford Explorer Colors
- Atlas Blue Metallic.
- Forged Green Metallic.
- Infinite Blue Metallic Tinted Clearcoat.
- Rapid Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat.
- Star White Metallic Tri-Coat.
- Stone Gray Metallic.
- Agate Black Metallic.
- Carbonized Gray Metallic.
- Iconic Silver Metallic.
- Oxford White.
2023 Ford Explorer Price
We expect the entry-level Ford Explorer 2023 to have a starting price of around $33,000. This is for the base Explorer with a 300 horsepower turbocharged 4 cylinder, 10-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive format.
Moving higher up to the 2023 Ford Explorer XLT and 2023 Ford Explorer Limited trim, you can expect to pay between $38,000 and $50,000 respectively.
The performance-oriented ST model, with a 400 horsepower twin-turbo V6, makes around $55,000.
While the Explorer Hybrid will save you money on fuel, the 2023 variation comes with a hefty entry fee of around $50,000.
2023 Ford Explorer Release Date
Style changes are coming. For 2022, the Ford Explorer ST loses the standard AWD and there’s a new ST-line trim.
Looking further ahead, the all-electric version is reportedly due in 2023 and will be built along the Mustang Mach-E in Mexico.