The Ford Explorer is one of the most iconic SUVs in America, with a history that spans three decades and eight million sales. But the Explorer is not resting on its laurels. For 2025, Ford has given its three-row SUV a major update that brings new technology, design, and features to keep it competitive in a crowded segment. Here’s what you need to know about the 2025 Ford Explorer.
Ford Digital Experience: A New Way to Connect
One of the biggest changes for the 2025 Ford Explorer is the introduction of the Ford Digital Experience (FDE), a new infotainment system that replaces the old Sync setup. FDE offers seamless integration with the user’s digital lifestyle, whether they prefer Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, or Google Assistant. FDE also features a more powerful web browser, a Google Play store, and the ability to pair Bluetooth gaming controllers and keyboards for entertainment and productivity.
FDE is displayed on a 13.2-inch touchscreen in the center console and a 12.3-inch digital cluster behind the steering wheel. Both screens offer high-resolution graphics and fast performance, thanks to a five-fold increase in computing power and a 14-fold increase in graphics processing power compared to the previous system. FDE also supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a 5G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 devices.
BlueCruise: Hands-Free Driving on the Highway
Another new feature for the 2025 Explorer is BlueCruise, a semi-autonomous driving system that allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel and feet off the pedals on certain highways. BlueCruise uses a camera and radar to monitor the road and traffic conditions and a driver-facing camera to ensure the driver pays attention. BlueCruise can also assist with lane changes, speed adjustments, and navigation.
BlueCruise is available on ST-Line, ST, and Platinum models and requires a subscription to access the service. Ford offers a 90-day free trial or a discounted annual rate of $700 for buyers who opt for BlueCruise at the time of purchase. After that, the rates are $75 per month or $800 per year. BlueCruise works on 97% of controlled access highways in the U.S. and Canada, covering over 100,000 miles of road.
Refreshed Design: More Style and Substance
The 2025 Explorer also gets a refreshed exterior design that adds more style and substance to its rugged looks. The Explorer now offers four grille designs, one for each trim level: Active, ST-Line, ST, and Platinum. The Active model gets a black mesh grille with a silver skid plate, while the ST-Line and ST models sport a blacked-out grille with a red ST badge and available red brake calipers. The Platinum model features a chrome grille with a satin finish and a unique hood.
The Explorer also gets new LED headlights and taillights, new wheel designs, and new color options, including Atlas Blue, Carbonized Gray, and Iconic Silver. The Explorer also offers a black-painted roof for a more personalized look. The Explorer’s dimensions remain unchanged, with a length of 198.8 inches, a width of 78.9 inches, and a height of 69.9 inches. The Explorer has a ground clearance of 7.9 inches and a curb weight of 4,345 to 4,727 pounds, depending on the model.
Spacious and Upscale Interior: A Comfortable Cabin for Seven
The 2025 Explorer’s interior is spacious and upscale, offering a comfortable cabin for up to seven passengers. The Explorer has three rows of seats, with the first and second rows being roomy and supportive and the third row being suitable for children or adults on short trips. The Explorer also offers a range of seating options, including cloth, leather, and perforated leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, and available multi-contour seats with massage function.
The Explorer’s cargo capacity is also impressive, with up to 18.2 cubic feet of space behind the third row, 47.9 cubic feet behind the second, and 87.8 cubic feet behind the first. The Explorer also features a power liftgate, a hands-free foot-activated liftgate, and available PowerFold third-row seats that can be folded with the push of a button. The Explorer also offers a range of storage compartments, cupholders, and USB ports throughout the cabin.
Powerful and Efficient Engines: A Choice of Four Options
The 2025 Explorer offers four engine options, each paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The base engine is a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. This engine delivers decent acceleration and good fuel economy, with an EPA-estimated 21/27 mpg city/highway for RWD models and 19/26 mpg for AWD models.
The next option is a 3.3-liter V6 hybrid that combines a gasoline engine and an electric motor to generate 318 horsepower and 322 pound-feet of torque. This engine offers smooth and quiet performance and excellent fuel efficiency, with an EPA-estimated 27/28 mpg city/highway for RWD models and 23/26 mpg for AWD models. The hybrid engine also has a range of over 500 miles on a single gas tank.
The third option is a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that pumps 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. This engine is exclusive to the ST and Platinum models and provides exhilarating acceleration and sporty handling. The ST model also gets a sport-tuned suspension, steering, and exhaust system for a more engaging driving experience. The fuel economy of this engine is not as impressive, with an EPA-estimated 18/24 mpg city/highway for RWD models and 18/26 mpg for AWD models.
The fourth and final option is a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that runs on E85 ethanol fuel and produces 365 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. This engine is exclusive to the King Ranch model, and it offers performance and fuel economy similar to the regular 3.0-liter V6. However, it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20% compared to gasoline.
Comparison Table: How the Explorer Stacks Up Against the Competition
The 2025 Ford Explorer faces stiff competition from other three-row SUVs in the market, such as the Toyota Highlander, the Volkswagen Atlas, and the Honda Pilot. Here’s how the Explorer compares to these rivals in terms of key specifications and features:
|2025 Ford Explorer
|2.3L Turbo I4
|87.8 cu ft
|84.3 cu ft
|2.0L Turbo I4
|96.8 cu ft
|83.9 cu ft
As you can see, the Explorer has the highest base price, the most powerful base engine, and the best fuel economy among the gas-only models. The Explorer also has a generous cargo capacity but one less seat than the Highlander and the Pilot. The Atlas has the lowest base price, the least powerful base engine, and the worst fuel economy. However, the Atlas has the most cargo space and the same seating capacity as the Explorer.
Conclusion: The 2025 Ford Explorer is a Tech-Savvy SUV with a Rugged Edge
The 2025 Ford Explorer is a tech-savvy SUV with a rugged edge, offering a range of engine options, a spacious and upscale interior, and a refreshed exterior design. The Explorer also features the new Ford Digital Experience infotainment system, the BlueCruise semi-autonomous driving system, and a host of safety and convenience features. The Explorer is a versatile and capable SUV that can meet the needs and preferences of different buyers. However, the Explorer has some drawbacks, such as a high base price, a tight third row, and a cheap-feeling interior in some areas. The Explorer also faces tough competition from other three-row SUVs that offer similar or better value, performance, and features. The 2025 Ford Explorer is a solid choice for SUV shoppers, but it may not be the best choice for everyone.