Skip advert
Advertisement

New Ford Explorer: prices, specs and full details for the all-electric SUV

Ford’s new SUV combines an old name with fresh technology

After a six-month delay, the new Ford Explorer is on sale in Europe. Pricing and specifications have now been announced for the UK and first deliveries of the new electric SUV are expected from September 2024.

The Ford Explorer name might not hold as much cache as Mustang or even Puma here in the UK but it’s big in the US. The SUV has already lived up to its billing, too, becoming the first electric car to circumnavigate the globe in a Ford publicity stunt to celebrate the launch. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

While the Explorer managed to overcome plenty of challenges on its 18,000-mile trek around the world, Ford’s latest EV has been beset by a host of production issues following the initial reveal in 2023. The main reason why we’ve had to wait so long for the Ford Explorer is new UN battery certification, forcing Ford to choose a new battery and re-engineer the car to suit. 

How much is the Ford Explorer and what powertrains are there?

Ford will keep the Explorer’s trim level structure pretty simple. Just two trims will be available from launch: Select and Premium. Select starts at £45,875 whereas Premium kicks off at £49,975. 

The Explorer will eventually gain the £39,875 Standard Range model, which has a 168bhp rear-wheel-drive setup with a 55kWh (52kWh usable) battery for a predicted range of up to 218 miles. For now, there’s only the larger 77kWh and VW Group’s newer 79kWh battery versions to choose from. 

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Ford had originally claimed the Explorer would top out at 335 miles in terms of range, but thanks to the new battery technology that delayed the launch, the 282bhp single-motor 77kWh Extended Range model will max out at 374 miles. 

The all-wheel drive, dual-motor system is only available with the 79kWh battery, reducing range to 328 miles - still an improvement on the 305 miles originally claimed by Ford. The powertrain puts out 335bhp and is the same system found on the Volkswagen ID.4 GTX. The Explorer with the 77kWh battery has a maximum charging speed of 135kW with the bigger battery able to charge at 185kW - giving a 10-80 per cent recharge time of 26 minutes.  

What equipment does Ford Explorer come with? 

As standard the Select models get a 14.6-inch central touchscreen, heated front seats with a massage function, seven-speaker sound system, 19-inch alloy wheels, wireless smartphone charging, a heated steering wheel and adaptive cruise control. Safety features include cross traffic alert, active braking along with front and rear parking sensors with a rear view camera. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

On top of this, the Premium trim gets 20-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic roof, a 10-speaker sound system, an electric bootlid, and matrix LED headlights. The upcoming entry-level model with the smaller battery will probably skimp on some of these features to warrant its sub-£40,000 price tag. 

What do we know about the Ford Explorer’s design and practicality?

Once the Explorer does arrive in the UK it’ll showcase a stockier, more aggressive stance than the friendly-faced ID. models. It’s wider than its German cousin but it’s down 124mm in length and is 40mm shorter in height, giving the Ford a more squat look. The Ford’s blade-like LED headlights are connected by a piece of trim that lead designer Jordan Demkiw calls the car’s “coast-to-coast” panel. There’s a silver scuff plate and body cladding that runs the length of the car, which Ford says has allowed them to reinterpret the “assertive and rugged appeal of Ford’s iconic [Explorer] SUV – specifically for customers in Europe.”

Demkiw and his team have incorporated a floating roof design thanks to black A, B, and C-pillars, with a semi-transparent graphic on the last of those that mimics the gas-guzzling US-spec Explorer’s design without affecting rearward visibility, according to Ford. Buyers will get a choice of wheels ranging from 19-21 inches, as well as a range of exterior paint options.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Like the front end, the rear end has a similarly squared-off shape, again with LED lights connected by black trim. Behind the Explorer’s tailgate there’s a 450-litre boot – bigger than the Mach-E’s, but around 100 litres down on the ID.4’s, probably due to the shorter rear overhangs. There’s a moveable boot floor, and folding the rear seats flat reveals a total of 1,400 litres.

Inspired by Volkswagen’s ID.5 coupe-SUV, Ford is also looking at launching a sportier alternative to the new Explorer, bringing back the Capri name in the process. The new Ford Capri will have the same MEB underpinnings as the Explorer, but will offer an even more aggressive look.

How will the Explorer’s interior shape up? 

Inside is where the Ford makes the biggest strides compared with its VW sister car. The Explorer features an adjustable 15-inch portrait screen, which is unique in running Ford’s SYNCMove software that allows for full-screen mapping, plus access to all the usual smartphone connectivity options.

Its position is adjustable in 20 stages, changing the angle of the display by up to 30 degrees and offering an upright view for complex tasks such as turn-by-turn mapping, to a more relaxed orientation better suited to cruising on the motorway. Hidden behind the screen is what Ford calls ‘My Private Locker’ – a storage space for phones, wallets and other items. There’s another area underneath the centre console for odds and ends, and a 17-litre cubby between the front seats that’s big enough for a 15-inch laptop or three bottles of water.

There’s a standard-fit soundbar on top of the dashboard, incorporating optional 10-colour ambient lighting that reacts to the various drive modes. There’s also a five-inch digital instrument cluster showing speed, range and nav instructions.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

While we’ve only sat in a one-off prototype, Ford is putting strong emphasis on quality and claims that “every touch point features soft-touch materials” – including the tops of the doors, which have a “consistent 3mm of give” for a “supple feel”.

What rivals are there to the new Ford Explorer? 

Auto Express has already managed to experience the new Ford Explorer from the passenger seat. The Explorer will have plenty of tough competition in the shape of the Kia EV6, Nissan Ariya, Toyota bZ4X, BYD Seal U and Peugeot E-3008, but we found positives in the Ford’s low-speed refinement, wide selection of storage compartments and user-friendly infotainment design. 

The Explorer utilises the same MEB platform as the Volkswagen ID.4, so naturally the Volkswagen, the Skoda Enyaq and upcoming Cupra Tavascan are all rivals, too. This isn’t the first vehicle to come from Ford and VW’s partnership, either. The fruits of this venture have already been seen in the new Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok pick-up trucks, plus vans like the new Ford Transit Courier and Volkswagen Caddy.

When will the new Ford Explorer go on sale? 

The Explorer was revealed in 2023 and initially scheduled to go on sale later on that year but Ford cited new European technical standards as the source of a delay until spring 2024. The Explore is on sale now with first deliveries expected in the summer. 

Ford took the decision to delay production to ensure that it conforms to an incoming UN regulation that regards standardisation of battery safety regulations.

In a statement to Auto Express in 2023, Ford commented on the Explorer delay: ‘We are excited to bring the electric Explorer to our customers in Europe, the first electric passenger vehicle produced in our new Ford Cologne Electric Vehicle Center. Ford is embracing the incoming technical standard for electric vehicles (UN Regulation 100.3) because it is consistent with our internal philosophy to deliver safe, high-quality vehicles to customers around the globe. This means the new Explorer will now be delivered to customers in the summer of 2024.’

Explorer production was due to commence at Ford’s Cologne plant following the end of the Fiesta supermini’s production, but was delayed from its original autumn 2023 projection. It’s unknown whether the same delays might affect other manufacturers, including VW’s closely related ID range.

Now find out more about the best electric SUVs to buy...

Skip advert
Advertisement
Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

New Ford Explorer ride review: first impressions of the crucial Blue Oval SUV
Ford Explorer - front
Road tests

New Ford Explorer ride review: first impressions of the crucial Blue Oval SUV

First impressions are good for Ford’s stylish new electric crossover, a model that’s absolutely crucial for the future of Ford
26 Mar 2024

More on Explorer

New Ford Explorer ride review: first impressions of the crucial Blue Oval SUV
Ford Explorer - front
Road tests
26 Mar 2024

New Ford Explorer ride review: first impressions of the crucial Blue Oval SUV

First impressions are good for Ford’s stylish new electric crossover, a model that’s absolutely crucial for the future of Ford