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Discovering The Journey: Exploring Six Generations Of Ford's First 5-Door SUV

Experience the evolution of Ford's first 5-door SUV through six generations. Explore the past, present, and future of this iconic vehicle on our website now!
By Ayush Jain on 07-Jun-2024 01:02 AM
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Ford Explorer Generations

Key Highlights

  • The Ford Explorer has undergone significant changes and improvements across its six generations.

  • The fifth and sixth generations are particularly favored in the UAE due to their modern features and wide availability.

  • Older generations of the Ford Explorer are scarce in the UAE.

The Ford Explorer, Ford Motor Company's inaugural 5-door SUV, emerged as a successor to the three-door family SUV, the Ford Bronco II, and entered production in 1990.

Since then, the Ford Explorer has demonstrated its versatility, reliability, and robustness. This piece explores the evolution of the Ford Explorer across its six generations, spotlighting significant features, advancements, and milestones that have shaped each phase.

Origins Of The Ford Explorer

Ford Explorer Generations

The Ford Motor Company, a legendary automotive brand renowned for its remarkable vehicles, has introduced numerous iconic cars over the past century. Established in 1903, it pioneered mass production in the automotive industry. Among its notable contributions is the Ford GPW, the brand's inaugural off-road SUV, inspired by the Willys Jeep.

During World War II, Ford manufactured approximately 270,000 units of the Ford GPW to support the Allied war effort. The Willys Jeep, which served as inspiration, later evolved into the Jeep Wrangler. In 1965, Ford introduced the Bronco to compete with models like the Jeep CJ-5 and Toyota Land Cruiser. While highly capable, the Bronco lacked the comfort and practicality desired by families by the late 80s. This prompted the development of a more contemporary SUV, featuring five doors instead of three.

First Generation | 1990 – 1994

Ford Explorer Generations

In March 1990, the first-generation Ford Explorer made its debut, marking a milestone in the mid-size SUV market. Taking over from the Ford Bronco II, it aimed to provide a family-friendly alternative to conventional SUVs. Initially available in both three-door and five-door variants, the Explorer catered to a diverse range of consumers.

The first-generation Ford Explorer boasted body-on-frame construction, ensuring durability and off-road prowess. Equipped with a sole engine option—a 4.0-liter V6 producing 155hp—it came standard with a 5-speed manual gearbox, with a 4-speed automatic transmission available as an option.

Inside, the Explorer offered ample space for up to five passengers, with later models offering an optional third-row seat to accommodate seven. This initial iteration of the Ford Explorer achieved considerable commercial success, laying a solid groundwork for subsequent models.

Second Generation | 1995 – 2003

Ford Explorer Generations

The second generation of the Ford Explorer, launched in late 1994 for the 1995 model year, represented a notable advancement in design and technology. This iteration showcased a sleeker and more aerodynamic body, departing from the boxy design of its predecessor.

The second generation of the Ford Explorer continued to offer both 3-door and 5-door SUV configurations but with a more robust engine lineup. Alongside the existing 4.0-liter V6, Ford introduced its small-block 5.0-liter V8. Transmission options included a 5-speed manual, a 4-speed automatic, and a 5-speed automatic.

Inside, the SUV received an updated interior with enhanced materials and an optional third-row seat, expanding passenger capacity to seven. While production of the 5-door model ended in 2000, the 3-door model remained in production until 2003.

Third Generation | 2000 – 2005

Ford Explorer Generations

The third-generation Ford Explorer, introduced in 2001, marked a significant redesign in both design and engineering. Unlike its predecessors, which were built on the Ford Ranger platform, known for its ruggedness but less comfort, the third generation saw Ford breaking the direct link between the Explorer and Ranger platform.

This generation adopted a new platform, enhancing both on-road performance and safety features, departing from the previous reliance on the Ford Ranger platform. The Ford Explorer was exclusively offered as a 5-door model for the first time.

While retaining the 4.0-liter V6 engine, the 5.0-liter V8 was replaced with a 4.6-liter V8. The interior received upgrades in quality, with options for luxury features like leather seats and a premium audio system.

Fourth Generation | 2005 – 2010

Ford Explorer Generations

Introduced in 2005, the fourth-generation Ford Explorer further improved upon the successes of its predecessors while introducing innovative advancements. This iteration prioritized refinement, safety enhancements, and the integration of advanced technology.

While maintaining its body-on-frame construction and carrying over engines from the previous generation, the fourth-generation Ford Explorer introduced notable upgrades. These included the introduction of a 6-speed automatic gearbox, alongside a modernized and contemporary exterior design. Additionally, the interior saw increased spaciousness compared to previous iterations. This generation marked the final installment of the Explorer to utilize a body-on-frame design.

Fifth Generation | 2011 – 2019

Ford Explorer Generations

The fifth-generation Ford Explorer, launched in late 2010, represented a significant departure from its predecessors. This iteration shifted from the conventional ladder-frame chassis to a monocoque chassis, resulting in a substantial enhancement in on-road handling for the SUV.

While retaining four-wheel drive and soft-roading capabilities, the fifth-generation Ford Explorer departed from the hardcore off-road capabilities of its predecessors. This iteration introduced inline-4 engines, including the efficient 2.0-liter EcoBoost engines, alongside the largest engine option, a 3.7-liter V6.

Inside, the Explorer boasted a modern interior with MyFord touchscreen infotainment units. Over its eight-year production span, the SUV underwent multiple updates and facelifts to remain contemporary.

Sixth Generation | 2020 – Present

Ford Explorer Generations

Before the 2019 North American International Auto Show, Ford unveiled the sixth-generation Ford Explorer. While maintaining its monocoque construction, the SUV reverted to its rear-wheel drive origins, with the option for all-wheel drive also available.

The sixth-generation Ford Explorer features a base engine of a 2.3-liter turbo-petrol EcoBoost unit, with more potent versions equipped with a 3.3-liter V6 engine. Ford introduced a plug-in hybrid version and a high-performance ST variant as well. The interior is modern and packed with an array of features. In February 2024, Ford unveiled a facelift for the sixth-generation Ford Explorer.

Most Popular Ford Explorer Generations In The UAE

Due to their recent release and widespread availability, the fifth and sixth generations of the Ford Explorer are the most sought-after versions of the SUV in the UAE. Older iterations are scarce, although classic car enthusiasts and collectors continue to favor the first generation.

Verdict

Ford Explorer has evolved significantly over its six generations, with the fifth and sixth iterations standing out as the most popular choices in the UAE due to their modern features and widespread availability. While older generations are rare finds, classic car enthusiasts still hold a preference for the first generation, appreciating its historical significance and iconic design.

Also Read: Range Rover The Original Luxury SUV, Exploring its History and Evolution

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