Ford Authority

Does The Chinese-Market Ford Explorer Look Better Than The American Model?

The new Ford Explorer recently went on sale in China, where it has been well-received. In fact, during its first two weeks on the market, FoMoCo has received 2,000 orders for the three-row crossover. The Chinese-market Ford Explorer is identical to the model sold in North America, except for a few small but important differences, like a different front fascia, which makes us ask – which one is the better-looking?

Chinese-market Ford Explorer ST-Line

Chinese-market Ford Explorer ST-Line

U.S.-market Ford Explorer ST

U.S.-market Ford Explorer ST

The Chinese-market Explorer features a larger grille than the version sold in America. The biggest and most noticeable difference is that the front grille is taller and occupies more real estate on the front end, thereby eliminating the small slot/intake below the grille that’s included on the U.S. model.

Additionally, the grille on the Chinese-market Ford Explorer also appears to be wider, extending further toward the lower accent lights.

U.S.-market Ford Explorer

To accommodate the taller and wider grille, FoMoCo designers massaged the front bumper cover. As a result, the Chinese model’s LED running lights are positioned differently within their housings, and the bumper cover’s surface treatment under the headlights doesn’t extend forward as much as on the U.S.-market model.

Chinese-market Ford Explorer

The Chinese-market Ford Explorer also has a different trim level structure and engine lineup. All Explorer models in China are powered by Ford’s 2.3L EcoBoost I-4 engine. Meanwhile, the base trim is the Fashion Edition, which comes standard with rear-wheel drive. From there, Ford offers three other trims – Titanium, ST-Line Sports Edition, and Platinum Edition; all three have AWD as standard.

The 3.0L EcoBoost V6 engine is not offered in the Chinese-market Explorer, and there is no high-performance ST model, as the ST-Line feature the looks of the ST, without the enhancements to powertrain or suspension.

U.S.-market Ford Explorer

Besides the front fascia and trim level differences, the rest of the Chinese-market Ford Explorer is remarkably close to its counterpart sold in the U.S. The vehicles’ sides and rear ends are identical, with the exception of the quad exhausts outlets included on some U.S.-market models, which are absent on Chinese models.

U.S.-market Ford Explorer ST

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  1. Roy Chiles

    Ford did a good job on the US model Explorer, but did a better job of cleaning up the front bumper and grill area on the Chinese model Explorer. Hopefully when Ford give the US model a face lift they use the Chinese model front end to do so

  2. Michael Combs

    I think the American version is more aggressive having a larger grill serves no purpose. I think Ford needs to offer the plug-in hybrid model that they sell in Europe because I test drove the hybrid yesterday and I was not at all impressed with the system it’s spent most of the time with the engine running what is the point it was almost like a gimmick I was super disappointed you should be able to drive in the EV mood for traffic without the engine coming on we played with it but the motor kept clicking on

  3. JimL

    I like the overall shape of the Chinese grille better, but it’s too big. Maybe raise the bottom of it a little. I never liked the curled edges of the US grille — It reminds me of the Jack Nicholson Joker’s smile.

  4. trailhiker

    I don’t like either. The rehashed trapezoid grill just doesn’t belong on Fords any longer.
    The bland headlights and puckered foglight surrounds don’t help at all, and detract from a design that lacks integration.
    Ford can still make great designs, but these need to be completely rethought.

  5. Keith Gibson

    I agree with trail hiker. I actually much prefer the previous generation explorer with the Land Rover inspired front grill.

    If it wasn’t for the C02 coming into the cabin and knocking ppl out while they are driving (C’mon Ford) I would have bought one!

  6. Michael Combs

    I am the 2014 Ford explore sport is one of the best cars ever owned I regretted try to get into the dealer but I wanted that new Roush mustang. I seem to remember General Motors having problems with the throttle sticking in their cars it was killing people there’s always a mistake made somewhere but my car was among the thousands that did not have the CO2 problem give it a break I just looked at the new explorer we’re probably gonna buy the new ST I’ve had Chrysler and their service is horrible their interiors are cheap I’ve had General Motors cars Corvettes Camaros but when Ford started changing up their quality I switched and I haven’t looked back yet.

  7. nauticalone345

    Yes, the Chinese model looks better.

  8. Dave Mathers

    The Chinese headlights look much better than the US version. It appears that they might be reactive as well. The current American laws about headlights were written in 1967 and have NEVER been updated. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

  9. Stephen Jones

    The black plastic cladding on the Explorer makes the car look very cheap. I hate it. Ford needs to paint it the body color or at least offer an option. At least the lower cladding and the wheel wells. It would even give the car the illusion of a better stance.

    All Ford has to do is take a little survey and ask people what looks better. That black plastic is crap. Please!! paint it!!

  10. Michael Combs

    That plastic protects the body from parking lot damage and rocks.

  11. Carl

    I love the China model and was going to buy a 2023, but not if we are getting the same 2022
    Model in the USA. No New Model for USA = No Sale for me. I am sick and tired of the USA
    Always coming in last. I wonder if the China model has all the chips needed to operate. The
    Dealer told me all the second seats heating controls and heated seats were eliminated because of chip shortage. I asked salesman how much is taken off the sticker and he said
    You’re kidding right ? No I am Not.


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