Used Explorer Generations to Look For
Although you can still find first-generation used Ford Explorers for sale, these vehicles are now pushing thirty years old, and it is generally better to stick with the newer generations for their superior reliability and features.
The fourth-generation Explorer is probably the earliest version of this SUV that should be commonly considered. Introduced for the 2006 model year, the fourth generation was the last body on frame rear-wheel drive Explorer and had the option for a true four-wheel drive system. But while it stayed true to the older SUV formula, the fourth generation introduced a new, more rigid frame design and improved suspension setup for improved handling. This was also the first Explorer generation that came standard with modern safety technologies such as roll stability control and canopy airbags. Finally, the interior offered new items such as a basic navigation system and power-folding third-row seats, making a used fourth-generation Explorer a reasonable ride even today.
The standard engine in this generation was a 210 hp V6, which is somewhat underpowered by today’s standards. But a bit of looking should be able to turn up a used V8 Explorer with a more than acceptable 292 hp. Upgrading to the V8 also means getting a superior six-speed automatic transmission instead of the aging five-speed automatic transmission that came with the V6 engine. So while you will still be missing some modern features in a used fourth-generation Explorer, you will not feel like you are driving a relic.
The 2011 model year saw the introduction of the fifth-generation Ford Explorer, which brought massive changes to the vehicle. Gone was body on frame and rear-wheel drive in favor of a modern crossover SUV with unibody construction and front-wheel drive. The older four-wheel drive option was also replaced with a more street-friendly all-wheel drive system. Finally, the traditional V8 engine option was replaced with a far more efficient turbocharged four-cylinder. While some traditionalists may have balked at these changes, they undeniably made for a superior all-around vehicle, and this model more than doubled Ford Explorer sales. When shopping for a used fifth-generation Explorer, keep in mind that the SUV was facelifted for the 2016 model year.
Not only did this refresh update the exterior looks and add LED lighting and other modern features, but the facelift also replaced the 2.0L four-cylinder engine with a larger 2.3L engine. This boosted its output from 240 hp to 280 hp, making it a direct competitor to the 290 hp V6 but with better fuel economy. But if you want real power, then look for either a used Sport or Platinum trim fifth-generation Explorer. These variants were sold with a monstrous 3.5L EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 engine producing 365 hp, which is also the engine that is included in the Ford Police Interceptor variant of the Explorer.
The current Ford Explorer is the sixth generation of the SUV and was released for the 2020 model year. Because of how new they are, these vehicles are still rather rare on the used market. However, should you find one, you will be getting a top-notch vehicle. The sixth-generation Explorer is particularly impressive because while it kept the lighter unibody construction of the fifth generation, it returned to the more capable rear-wheel drive of the older Explorers.
Engine options are a 2.3L turbocharged four-cylinder with 300 hp, a 3.0L twin-turbo V6 with either 365 hp in the Platinum trim, or 400 hp in the ST trim, or a V6 hybrid with 322 hp. In its hybrid configuration, the sixth generation Explorer achieves a remarkable combined fuel economy rating of 28 miles per gallon combined. And the ST trim is just as impressive for being a true performance SUV available from a non-luxury brand. However, even the base model of the sixth-generation Explorer is a highly modern tech-filled vehicle that will offer an excellent driving experience.
13 Reasons Why a Used Ford Explorer is Perfect For You
- Six generations of Ford Explorer means you can choose the best one for you.
- With millions sold, you can easily find the perfect used Ford Explorer for your needs.
- Powerful twin-turbo V6 engines to make driving fun.
- The Ford Explorer Hybrid variant can save you money on gasoline.
- Rear-wheel drive for maximum performance.
- Great deals on used heavy-duty Ford Police Interceptor variants.
- Ample cargo space that puts the “utility” in “SUV.”
- Sport and ST performance trims that are far more than just an appearance package.
- High tow ratings for additional cargo capacity.
- Three rows of seats to fit the whole family.
- Available panoramic moonroof to let in sunlight or enjoy the night sky.
- Ford Co-Pilot360 advanced driver assistance technology to keep you safe on the road.
- Stylish and iconic looks.