Ford Authority

Ford Should Build A Two-Row Explorer To Fill Huge Hole In Its Lineup

These days, consumers just can’t get enough crossovers and SUVs in their lives. Ford Motor Company has been happy to oblige over the last few years, axing its sedan lineup in the U.S. and replacing those models with a whole host of utility vehicles in all sorts of configurations and trims. One thing The Blue Oval does not currently offer, however, is a two-row Explorer, and we think that’s something it should definitely consider for a number of reasons.

For starters, as we reported last June, the Ford Edge will reportedly be discontinued at the end of its current lifecycle. This seems even more likely now that the Ford Oakville Assembly Plant, where the Edge is produced, will be retooled to build five electric vehicles in 2024.

The Edge’s departure leaves a large hole in FoMoCo’s lineup, as the automaker will no longer have a two-row, mid-size CUV to slot between the compact Ford Escape and the nearly full-size Ford Explorer. The Ford Bronco doesn’t fill that void either, as it’s a specialty body-on-frame SUV – not a crossover.

2021 Ford Explorer

Ford could fill this gap quite easily with a two-row Explorer, much in the same way it did with the recently-launched two-row Ford Expedition XL STX. It might have to come up with a different name to distinguish the two-row Explorer from the rest of the lineup, however, as buyers could get a little confused between the Explorer ST and an STX model.

Regardless, this seems like a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to fill a rather large gap in Ford’s lineup. It would also result in a more affordable version of the popular crossover for those that don’t need the extra seating, a market that obviously exists given the presence of the Expedition XL STX. Now the question is – will Ford actually do it, or will it come up with an entirely new vehicle to replace the Edge?

We’ll have more on the Explorer soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Explorer news and non-stop Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Alexander

    Can’t say I agree! I don’t care for this gen explorer, as the exterior is bland and the interior is cheap and poorly designed. I think they should’ve built a new generation of edge on the Cd6 platform that explorer uses. This is a very big segment just think of all of the new comers in recent years like the Chevrolet Blazer, VW Atlas Cross, and Toyota Venza. The Edge despite its age is still the second best seller behind GC, so to just abandon the segment seems quite dumb to me.

    1. Felipe

      Agreed, the interior is cheap and poorly designed. Just look at the competition… Ford could really bring something different with a PHEV to the North American market instead.

  2. Chris

    I thought the Fusion Active was supposed to fill that slot. Anyway the Edge is still very popular and should be redesigned to compete squarely with the Chevy Blazer where sales are through the roof.

    1. NCEcoBoost

      Agree 100%. If the Edge goes away, so does my interest in Ford, unless they fix the Escape’s crappy interior (was supposed to happen for ’21 but didn’t) and that God-awful 3-cylinder base engine (which will shortly be racking up complaints by the truckload from Bronco Sport and soon-to-be Maverick owners).

  3. Joe

    We have owned a 2015, 2018, and a 2020 Ford Edge. Almost went with the 2020 Ford Escape this past year instead of the 2020 Edge, but the interior cargo was to small and interior felt cheap and to much hard plastic, plus the base engine vibrates. I don’t need a larger SUV like the Explorer and trying to fit it in the garage. If they get rid of the Edge I don’t know what I would buy from Ford, I use to own cars, but out of luck there again.

  4. Gary.

    The ford explorer sells very well and the few people I know that bought a 2020 explorer seem to like them a our experience in the back seat was comfortable. But I personally wished ford would have been a little more aggressive in the new design…😕

  5. trailhiker

    How about a long wheelbase version of the Bronco Sport.

  6. Jared J

    Ford could easily do this. The police interceptor does not have a third row. Just a flat cargo floor behind the second row.

  7. Chris

    The 3 cylinder is so depressing. Most of the Escapes and Broncos on the lot now are 3’s! Why? My beef with the Escape is the whimpy front end. The Edge really has nice aggressive looks. The blacked out rims look good on the ST plus a 6 cylinder engine!

    1. Bruce

      Yes, Ford desperately needs to fix the Escape front end. Is there an emergency MCE planned to fix it?

  8. JimL

    Being a former 3-row Explorer owner, I would love a 2-row Explorer. I never used that 3rd row. Well…. once in 3 years. But honesty I’m in an F-150 now and my next vehicle will either be another F-150 or a Bronco. I think it’s more important Ford redesign the dash.


    Ford. Discontinuing Ford Edge is misguided. You cannot give an inch of space to Chevrolet Blazer,which is currently the king .

  10. Ruby

    I would come back to Ford for a two row Explorer. Perfect size for retired wanderers. Has to be nice inside!

  11. Jim Louis

    I owned a 2013 Escape but it was too small. Have 2015 Edge and loke the size and the smoother drive that the short wheel base Escape lacked. I don’t need a third row and the size of an Explorer is too much and too high to get in. They get rid of sedans and now the Edge. You are driving customers to other brands

  12. Joseph Drew

    Just watch – Another Mustang SUV….

  13. Adam D Wadley

    The midsize without a third row seat is the toughest nut to crack sales wise. Nissan is the only one that has ever sold any significant units with the Murano. Most people who buy a crossover in this price point have a family. The older folks who don’t need a third row go for the MPG in the Chevy Equinox, Rav 4 , Cr-v and Escape. Luxury automakers fill out the rest of the market and real SUVs like the Grand Cherokee. Lincoln would probably be a better fit or develop a preformance crossover based on the mustang. Chevy can’t give away the Blazer it looks nice just another FWD based expensive crossover.

  14. Lincoln Aviator owner

    Isn’t that what the Edge is for? I can see a two row Explorer once they discontinue the Edge but they would have to modify their factory again and possibly set up a new assembly line and that factory clearly has very poor management and the last thing they need is off balances but I think that they’d probably replace the Edge with the Fusion Activ.

  15. Edward F

    Ford needs to build the Everest here in the USA

  16. Paul Harden

    I agree with the suggestion for a two row version of the Explorer. When my children were younger a three row made sense. My wife has an Audi Q7 with three rows. I would happily trade the 3rd on that car for a spare tire!

  17. Bob Dobson

    They already do build a 2 Row Explorer, it’s called the Police Interceptor Utility (PIU) There is no 3rd Row in the PIU so it simply needs to transition from PIU model to the other models. Many buyers of decommissioned PIU’s love the 2 Row configuration.

  18. Troy

    My understanding is that all future redesigned Ford crossovers will be electric. The next generation Escape, Edge, and Explorer will be electric. Also, the upcoming Fusion/Mondeo Active will be Europe only.

  19. Mike

    I picked the Edge over the explorer for 3 reason.

    More cargo space
    Fits in my garage easily
    Better MPG

    Only things I don’t like about Edge is the hump in floor where my left foot sits makes it uncomfortable for longer trips. And location of battery, makes it near impossible to boost the battery.

  20. Mike says..

    Anyone notice how the Kia Seltos nose looks remarkably like a Ford? With a nicer interior, excellent build quality and a whole lot less expensive. Slapping 10 different model/trim packages on the same vehicle will not win the market overtime. Sure Ford will sell a lot of vehicles but the other guys will do even better. Wish Ford would get back to leading the industry rather than following it with real new product. Just sayin….

  21. Richard Bareuther

    Why no hybrid edge?

  22. Dee Caudill

    2 row, 3 row make it an option I have a 2018 and have never used the third row but once. So with that in glad that one time I had it has an option. Just having that large cargo area us awesome along with the option of the third row love it. Ford if you’re reading call it (Ford Explorer S2) that way everyone will know its the Explorer that has 2 row only.

  23. Lee Anderson

    I find it very hard to believe that the Edge will be going away permanently. It’s been reported at least twice in the past, and both times amounted to nothing. But if it really did, then shortening the Explorer (not unlike when Honda made the Pilot into the Passport or VW the Atlas into the Atlas Cross Sport) would be the easiest replacement. Even Chevy’s Blazer is essentially a 2-row variant of the Traverse.

  24. Ken

    They should have kept the Flex.

  25. HJA

    To preface, I have owned Ford /Lincoln vehicles over the last 30 years. Currently, it seems like everyone is asking Ford to perform magic. Build 2 row versions, make interiors more upscale, offer different power trains and so on. Its not as easy as it sounds and I think most of us understand that. I came out of 2018 Edge Sport and now drive a 2021 Explorer Limited. Yeah, I’m not thrilled by any means with it but it does offers comfort, nice driving dynamics and good MPG. And it wasn’t my first choice. Really wanted the Telluride but Kia was getting big money over sticker, had no deals due to demand and their lease plans are woefully bad. So I settled on the Explorer and will live with it for the next 3 years. Hope moving forward, the Blue Oval boys are able tomake better design decisions. The biggest obstacle will be balancing pricing and value to quality and design. Ford buyers want and expect both more than any other brand.

  26. Frances

    I was an avid Ford Explorer girl from the get go. Owned them until Ford decided to give them a 3rd row! My Explorer was plenty big enough for my needs. Not everyone are outdoors people. I bought an Edge in 2017, it’s nice but I miss looking down on people at red lights, not up. I want another Explorer before I die, but it’s just me, I don’t need 3 seats and a towing package.


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