The Ford Explorer is an excellent vehicle that has plenty of positive attributes to offer buyers. However, one thing aspiring customers don’t have the option of buying, at least right now, is an off-road Explorer variant. This seems like a big miss, given the incredible popularity of off-road focused vehicles and trim levels these days. But if these spy photos are any indication of what’s to come, Ford might just be working on an off-road Explorer after all, perhaps even an FX4 trim level for the SUV.
The prototype is sporting camouflaged front and rear fascias, but there are several characteristics here that are very much visible. That includes a set of aggressive Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo 3 tires, which appear to be wrapped around a set of 18 inch wheels. As serious off-roaders already know, the marriage of smaller wheels and chunkier tires is an ideal combination.
Though it’s hard to tell definitively, it appears that the front fascia has received some updated and more aggressive styling. Out back, the rear bumper appears to present a better departure angle, while the overall ride height of this off-road Explorer prototype looks be increased over the regular model. Topping it off is a set of black plastic fender flares and lower bodyside molding to offer up some protection for the bodywork on the trails.
It makes perfect sense for Ford to offer, at the very least, its FX4 package for the Explorer. After all, it already sells the Ford Expedition, Ford Ranger, Ford F-150, and Ford Super Duty with that option. With the continued explosion in the off-road vehicle market and the incredible amount of excitement surrounding the new Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport, it would seem silly if the automaker didn’t start cooking up similar packages and/or trim levels for more of its existing products.