The redesigned Explorer has newfound handling agility and a spacious, quiet cabin, but the driving experience is marred by a clunky transmission, noisy engine, and stiff-edged ride. Most versions use the base 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which is energetic but raspy sounding.
The transmission has rough shifts, particularly at low speeds. In our tests this combination returned an unimpressive 21 mpg overall. A hybrid is also offered but is focused more on power and towing capabilities than fuel economy. The Sync 3 infotainment system is very easy to use. The driving position is much improved, but the third-row seat is less roomy now. A power liftgate is standard. The standard Ford Co-Pilot360 suite of advanced safety systems includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and blind spot warning.