The Blue Oval has certainly won its fair share of comparison tests in recent months, with the Ford Mustang Mach-E besting the Kia EV6, the Ford Mustang Mach 1 taking down the Nissan Z and Toyota Supra, the Ford Bronco Raptor beating out the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392, the Ford F-150 Raptor R proving a superior choice over the Ram TRX, and the Ford F-150 Tremor taking down the Ram 1500 Rebel, as well as the Chevy Silverado 1500 Trail Boss. However, the Ford Explorer didn’t fare quite as well in a new three-row crossover comparison test from MotorTrend – in fact, that particular model finished dead last.
This time around, the Ford Explorer took on the Kia Telluride, Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-90, Hyundai Palisade, Subaru Ascent, and Jeep Grand Cherokee L. Those that know a thing or two about the automotive industry as a whole will immediately realize that in this particular group, the Ford Explorer is a bit of a dinosaur, as it hasn’t received so much as a refresh since it went on sale in 2019 for the 2020 model year. Meanwhile, the other models in this comparison are all either new or fairly new.
For this particular comparison, MotorTrend was sent an ST-Line model powered by the turbocharged Ford 2.3L I-4 EcoBoost engine, which in this case stickers for $50,395. In spite of immediately facing a massive disadvantage, MT still praised the Explorer for its comfy seats and adequate amount of space in all three rows, though it wasn’t a fan of the materials used inside the cabin. “The interior feels cheap and chintzy, and the center screen is comically small for the space it occupies,” MT concluded.
Also on the bright side, the Explorer wound up beating the rest of the pack in terms of 0-60 acceleration with its 6.2-second performance, and some reviewers found it to offer up sporty handling, though others thought the ride was a bit rough. Ultimately, Ford’s long-running crossover came up short, finishing at the back of this pack, while the Palisade took home first place.
“Seventh place goes to the Ford Explorer,” MT concluded. “Although it’s definitely a bargain, it’s still a $50,000 vehicle, and from the inside the Explorer simply doesn’t feel that expensive (and higher trim levels don’t adequately solve this problem). The Explorer has some burrs that badly need filing down, like the twitchy throttle response off the line. Still, the Explorer is a competent seven-seater that offers good value in the form of a lot of useful equipment for the price, a strategy Mazda and Jeep would do well to study. Taking up the back of a very competent pack, the Explorer exits with its head(lights) held high.”