A red 2023 Ford Explorer ST-Line is shown parked on the driveway of a modern house.

Exploring the Ford Explorer

The all-new 2023 Ford Explorer is here and brimming with the latest convenience and tech features to make your everyday adventure easier and more stylish. The impressive mid-size SUV is sure to sweep drivers looking for a new Ford SUV off their feet. The lightly refreshed Explorer sports chrome accents and seats up to seven passengers.

The Explorer has been on the road since 1991 and shows no sign of slowing down. The SUV doesn’t have to rely on its good looks to get drivers’ attention either. Smart drivers know there is more than meets the eye when it comes to Ford’s mid-size SUV. The high dependability and performance of an Explorer make it an unbeatable value, while its low maintenance costs make it easy to maintain, so it’s always ready to go when you are. If you’ve never thought about the Explorer as anything more than a soccer mom’s vehicle, then you couldn’t be more wrong. While the Explorer doesn’t mind the day-to-day errands, it’s capable of much more than that.

The Ford Explorer is perfectly designed for city or suburban life, but this isn’t your average grocery grabber. The SUV shines when the road starts to get a little rough. Adventurers looking for a vehicle often use Explorer as their road-tripping buddy on cross-country drives, their companion when they head off-road into the unknown, and their shelter when wet and cold weather suddenly moves in, and they are a long way from home.

Wondering what we’re talking about? We’ve highlighted a few models and trim packages demonstrating how the mid-size SUV is the ultimate adventure companion. From its diverse trim packages to its rugged body and flexible interior, the Ford Explorer was made to…what else but explore! Whether your lifestyle is rough and tumble or you enjoy the occasional weekend away, the Ford Explorer makes the perfect companion when adventure calls. Let’s take a look at some models, past and present, to show you just how Ford’s dedication to this 3-row SUV throughout the years has given drivers the versatility they’re looking for in a rugged SUV.

The Ford Explorer Timberline Is the Perfect Camping Companion

In the past few years, families who go camping have increased, leading drivers to desire a vehicle that will take them off-road and into the wilderness with ease. To help them out, Ford introduced the Explorer Timberline trim package, much to the delight of nature lovers nationwide.

With its increased ground clearance, the Timberline series was created for uneven terrain and gravel trails, making it suitable for those planning a week in the woods. Not only does the intelligent AWD offer the power and performance drivers are looking for, but if you’re looking for a dry, quiet place to sleep for the night, the 3-row SUV has more than enough space for a few sleeping bags if the occasion calls for it. The Timberline’s roof rack and towing power make bringing along your kayak, bikes, and extra camping gear easier than ever.

Let’s face it, Explorer drivers like to keep going even when the road ends, but thanks to the Timberline’s design, they don’t even have to slow down anymore. The vehicle’s steel skid plates, optimal ground clearance, and limited-slip differential help keep the SUV safe and in control over a variety of terrains. The Timberline also boasts advanced technology and safety systems so drivers can reach their remote destinations safely and in style. Thanks to its rubber floor mats and stain-repellent upholstery, the Timberline doesn’t mind a little dirt now and then; in fact, it welcomes it.

A red 2023 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid is shown from the front on a rooftop parking garage.

The Original First-Generation Explorer Was Made for Off-Roading

While SUVs these days are often thought of as more suburban, soccer-mom vehicles, that wasn’t always the case. The original first-generation Explorer from the early 90s was geared towards those wanting the power and off-road performance of a pick-up truck with the versatility of more seating for everyday driving. The original Ford Explorer is bigger, boxier, and less refined by today’s standards, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a superb SUV.

The Explorer was the first 4-door SUV Ford offered. This feature made a whole world of difference, allowing drivers or those with small children easy access to back seats or extra cargo space. Combine the convenience with 4-wheel drive and a V6 engine, and drivers were ready for adventure, whether for a weekend getaway or a month-long road trip. This original formula of a powerful, flexible vehicle is one of the things that made the early Explorers so popular with drivers that wanted more than the standard wagon or truck offered.

Drivers interested in rock crawling could opt for the manual transmission, allowing them to shift and engage with the 4-wheel drive system for rock crawling or tackling less-than-optimal terrain. But if drivers wanted more? No problem. The basic design of the Ford Explorer lent itself well to upgrades and modifications from off-road enthusiasts. Lift kits for advanced clearance and long-travel kits for taking on the desert’s sandy conditions were just a few of the most popular changes drivers made when customizing their Explorer to meet their lifestyle. The last thing that made the original Explorer appealing to off-roaders? The affordability and low maintenance made this SUV easy to buy and easy to maintain or customize.

The Ford Explorer Platinum Is the Perfect Family Road-Tripper

The Ford Explorer, whether it’s a brand new off-road package or a vintage original, is great for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts looking to push their adventure past the pavement, but what about just a standard road trip? Do you need all that gravel-crunching power of the Timberline edition? More than likely, no, but you might want to invest in plenty of premium comfort features to make the trip go a little smoother for all on board. If you have an active family, the Ford Explorer Platinum works just as well on the pavement as off. The spacious interior offers comfort at every turn. Plenty of head and leg room combined with flexible seating and ample cargo space make the Explorer Platinum package the choice vehicle for families on the go.

The Ford Explorer Platinum trim hit the market in 2016 and continues to be one of Ford’s top-selling trim packages. This package boasts leather seating with tri-diamond perforated inserts exclusive to the trim. With room for up to seven, supportive seating, and a twin-panel moonroof, there isn’t a bad seat in the house. The power-folding third row makes it easy to fold down seats when not in use and make room for extra luggage, daily essentials, gear, or whatever your next trip calls for. The Premium trim features like Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane-Keep Assist take some of the stress out of long-distance driving and let you sit back and relax a little when the road makes you feel fatigued.

A red 2023 Ford Explorer is shown rounding a corner on a snowy road.

What Will You Do With Your Explorer?

If you’re looking for a versatile SUV that delivers a smooth on-road experience or takes you off-road for a while, the Explorer is capable of all that and more. Since the Explorer was introduced over thirty years ago, a lot has changed, meaning there is a model to fit a variety of active lifestyles. From road-tripping to weekend warriors, the Explorer was designed to meet your needs.

Above, we highlighted just a few different Explorer models from yesterday and today. From the impressive Timberline trim package for rugged camping adventures to the original Explorer that started it all to the road-tripping comfort of the Explorer Platinum, the popular Ford SUV proves there’s an Explorer waiting for you. The only question left is, what will you do with yours? Camp, go off-road, drive across the country, or spend a night under the stars? Whatever is on your adventure list, the Explorer is up for wherever the road takes you.