By Asian Journal Auto Editor

2018-ford-explorer PIC 1For 2018 Ford Explorer arrives with a host of improvements to keep it at the top of it game in the mid-size SUV arena. The Explorer is a classy looking vehicle with a clean, purposeful look to it. The Explorer has always been the benchmark domestic SUV and continues to offer a potent combination of value, versatility and reliability. Now in its fifth generation, there have been some nips and tucks on the Explorer to keep it fresh, while rumour has it an all-new Explorer is on the cards in about two years or so. For now, the Explorer is offered in five trim models starting with the Base, XLT and Limited models with an as standard 3.5-litre V6 engine with 290 horsepower and 255 lb/ft of torque. An optional power plant is Fords new fuel efficient optional 2.3-litre EcoBoost inline four cylinder unit with 280 horsepower and 310 lb/ft.

Depending on the model selected, the Ford Explorer is available in either front or four wheel drive with a six-speed automatic transmission with sequential manual shift mode. Our tester was the top tier Limited Edition model with the aforementioned 2.3 liter Ecoboost engine, and four wheel drive, base priced at $49,899 (plus $100 in federal excise tax). It was a truly impressive looking vehicle with its sublime metallic blue paint with a classy ebony charcoal perforated leather trimmed interior. As with all of Ford Limited models, the equipment list and power, convenience and luxury features us very good. However Limited equipment options on our tester included, such goodies as: twin panel moonroof, trailer tow package, Adaptive cruise and Collision warning system, Auto high beam headlights, rear inflatable seatbelts, Blind spot monitoring and assist, rain sensing wipers, active park assist, lane depart and lane keep assist system. Total options came to $5,630. – making the total price for the tester at $55,529 plus $1,790 for destination and delivery.

2018 Ford Explorer pic 2The interior of the Ford Explorer is that of a premium imported SUV. The attention to detail is superb in term of cabin materials, fit and finish. The cabin is highlighted with silver metal detailing, and fine impeccably fitted furnishings. The rear optional second row captain’s chairs offer plenty of room and comfort. With the third row of seats upright — there is still an impressive 595 litres of space for cargo. With the third row folded via a simple push button, you gain a mighty impressive 1,243 litres with the second row seats down as well. In terms of technology, Ford has you covered. There is a full plethora of power and convenience features, and Ford has also updated its advanced SYNC3 infotainment system, so it is now easier and more intuitive to operate. The Explorers generous size allows for a great multi-purpose family hauler, as there is very good passenger room, with more than adequate leg, head and shoulder room both front and rear. Cargo capacity is 81.7 cu ft behind the first row seats, 43.9 cu ft behind the second row and 21.0 cu ft behind the third row accessed by and available power operated liftgate. One thing I do like about the Explorer is the ease of getting in and out thanks to its large doors and ideal step in height. Driving visibility is great and the heated and ventilated seat offer a degree of comfort. The Explorer has a tow rating of 5,000 lb thanks to its optional class 11 tow equipment. On the road, the 2018 Explorer features well defined steering and handling with no issues. The Explorers AWD is a stellar unit, providing torque to the front or rear wheels automatically and as needed. Meanwhile, a terrain management system provides modes for different road surfaces and weather conditions. With the smooth, powerful Ecoboost engine, there is satisfying power and acceleration. A backup camera does help in reversing. With a spacious family friendly interior, a choice of powerful turbocharged engines and good looks to boot, the Explorer is one SUV you must consider. Highly recommended.

2018 Ford Explorer Ecoboost Limited Four Wheel Drive Base priced from: $49,899 (Price as tested with all options – $57,319.