Launch Report: Ford Explorer brings quality and comfort to BEV market

16 May 2024

The Ford Explorer is the brand’s second mass-market battery-electric vehicle (BEV). Autovista Group (part of J.D. Power) experts from Austria, France, Germany, Spain and the UK, analyse the model with Autovista24 special content editor, Phil Curry.

The new Ford Explorer is an important model for the manufacturer. It is the second battery-electric vehicle (BEV) in its line-up, and the first to carry the Ford branding alone.

The Explorer name is already well known within Ford’s line-up. It is currently employed by a large, rugged off-road SUV on sale in the US. This may lead to some confusion when searching for the Explorer online. However, carrying a legacy name will also increase the new model’s exposure while instilling confidence.

Launched last year, Ford decided to hold sales while it made sure the Explorer conformed with new UN battery standards. During this time, the carmaker embarked on a massive marketing campaign. This included an around-the-world driving challenge to showcase the model’s versatility and capability.

The Explorer will now need to prove itself on the market against its rivals. Autovista24’s latest Launch Report benchmarks the Ford Explorer’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in Austria, France, Germany, Spain and the UK. New price points are also outlined alongside forecast residual values.

Unique styling

The Explorer is the result of a collaboration between Ford and Volkswagen (VW), built on the German carmaker’s MEB platform. This proven base is likely to bolster the model’s credentials, even though this is only Ford’s second mass-market BEV.

The Explorer looks very different to its MEB cousins. Ford has gone for a stocky body, with a lower overall height giving it a wide stance and a strong look. The sharp angles offer a feeling of power, and the LED headlights wrapping into a name bar at the front end help the car stand out.

In terms of styling, Ford has not gone down the coupé route with the new Explorer. The floating roofline with a power-bar design on the C-pillar is flat from front to back. This helps carry the model’s strong design into the side profile, while also ensuring headroom in the rear.

Premium feeling

The Ford Explorer has an impressive interior. It features a flat top-and-bottom steering wheel, which may not appeal to all drivers but gives the car a sporty feel. There is plenty of ambient lighting and a large moving central 14.6-inch touchscreen. Audio quality is good too, with a large soundbar sitting on the dashboard, appearing to float thanks to a well-placed LED strip.

There is plenty of storage for occupants too, with large cubbies in the centre console and doors, as well as a space behind the touchscreen. The seats are very supportive in the front, while there is plenty of legroom for adults in the rear. Overall, the interior is not only practical but comfortable.

However, some quirks may not appeal to all users. Ford has used touch and slider-based buttons on the steering wheel, with window switches that could confuse and distract drivers. The information screen behind the steering wheel is also on the small side. In some locations, less high-quality plastics have been used, marginally reducing the overall premium feel.

A comfortable ride

The ride of the Ford Explorer is smooth. The wider stance keeps the car planted on the road, while the wheelbase, with little overhang, means more precise handling. Ford is offering the model with rear-wheel and all-wheel drive, giving drivers greater drive variety.

The rear-wheel version will come with a 77kWh battery, which will have a range of around 602km (WLTP). It will be capable of charging from 10% to 80% in around 28 minutes. The all-wheel-drive version will feature a slightly larger 79kWh battery for its dual motors and is capable of an electric range of 566km (WLTP).

Overall, the Ford Explorer is a good car, with plenty of practicality, strong styling and a comfortable ride. As Ford streamlines its range and looks to introduce more BEVs, the carmaker should take confidence from its new Explorer.

View the Autovista Group dashboard, which benchmarks the Ford Explorer in Austria, France, Germany, Spain, and the UK. The interactive dashboard presents new prices, forecast residual values, and SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis.

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