The Ford Explorer is a mid-sized SUV with three rows of seats and a large cargo area. The Explorer can accommodate up to seven people. The base model starts at $32,925. The top trim level, the Platinum model, starts at around $52,730. The cost of each trim level can increase dramatically once optional features and packages are added on.
Ford offers a number of different powertrain options for the Explorer. There’s a 2.3-liter turbocharged engine that produces a respectable 300 horsepower. The Platinum trim level comes equipped with a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 that makes 365 horsepower. The ST model offers a supped-up version of the same engine. This increases the power all the way up to 400 horses.
Ford also offers a hybrid version of Explorer. A V6 engine and an electric motor are combined to produce 318 horsepower. This will be the best choice for fuel efficiency too. All models get around 25 to 27 miles-per-gallon on gasoline only, during a combination of driving in the city and on the highway.
The strong powertrain options make this is a very capable SUV. A Ford Explorer with the hybrid powertrain can tow up to 5,600 pounds. The Explorer provides a massive 87.8 cubic feet of cargo space in the back. Thanks to the strong engines, it never feels sluggish, even when you’re hauling a full load of cargo around. The Explorer has impressive off-road capabilities too, thanks to the available all-wheel drive and a high-tech Terrain Management System.
The Top Three Alternatives to Ford Explorer
There’s no shortage of good mid-size SUVs on the market today. This is a popular style of vehicle with endless models to choose from. While the Ford Explorer is one of the better examples from this class, there are several great alternatives. Here are three of the best cars that are similar to the Ford Explorer.
1. Hyundai Santa Fe
The Hyundai Santa Fe is a mid-size SUV like the Ford Explorer. It has slightly less interior room and can only accommodate five people. It offers a cargo space of 72.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down flat. Just like the Explorer, Santa Fe comes with a number of choices for the powertrain, including a hybrid option.
The Santa Fe is a good-looking SUV with a classy exterior and an upscale interior. This SUV is powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that produces 191 horsepower or a turbocharged engine that cranks out 277 horsepower. The available hybrid powertrain uses a turbocharged 1.6-liter gasoline engine and a pair of electric motors. This setup will get you 226 horsepower.
The base engine gets around 22 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway. The most powerful engine can get the Santa Fe up to 60 miles per hour in 7 seconds. It has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. One of the things that make Santa Fe so appealing is its price range. It starts at just $27,200 with the highest trim level beginning at $40,960.
2. Honda Pilot
Honda calls their Pilot a mid-size family SUV. The Pilot is in the same class as the Explorer and can seat seven or eight people. Just like the Explorer, it offers all-wheel drive and good off-road performance. Another similarity is in the large cargo capacity. The Pilot has 83.9 cubic feet of storage space in the rear.
The Pilot has a sleek exterior design and a modern, comfortable interior layout. One of the differences here is that the Pilot only has one powertrain option. This is a V6 engine that produces 280 horsepower. It has a combined fuel economy rating of 23 miles-per-gallon and can get up to 60 miles-per-hour in about 5.9 seconds.
The Honda Pilot has five trim levels and two special editions. The base model starts at $32,550 and the most expensive model starts at $48,720. The Pilot can tow around 3,500 pounds with the right trim level and equipment. One of the things that set the Pilot apart from the competition is the sheer number of standard features that Honda offers for a reasonable price.
3. Kia Telluride
The Kia Telluride is another mid-size SUV just like the Ford Explorer. This Kia often flies under the radar when SUVs in this class are compared, but it’s one of the best options on the market right now. It has a sophisticated exterior appearance and a comfortable and practical interior design. There’s tons of interior space for both people and cargo. There’s plenty of tech and safety features too, even at the base trim level.
The price of a Kia Telluride will fall between $32,190 and $44,390 depending on the trim level. Extra options can take it a bit above the $44,390 price point. This SUV can comfortably seat seven or eight and has a maximum cargo capacity of 87 cubic feet. Just like the Explorer, it has an impressive towing capacity. With the right setup, it can pull up to 5,000 pounds.
Kia’s Telluride is equipped with a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 291 horsepower. Front-wheel drive is standard for the base model. The Telluride can get you from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 7.2 seconds. This SUV has a combined fuel-economy rating of 23 miles-per-gallon.
Nine More Vehicles Similar to the Explorer
The Honda Passport is a mid-size SUV that’s built to be rugged, just like the Ford Explorer. Just like the Explorer, it has four doors and a rear hatch for the cargo area. The Passport can seat five and has a simple yet attractive exterior design. The interior is much the same. It’s unremarkable, but well designed with high-quality materials.
The price range of a Honda Passport falls between $32,790 and $44,180. It offers a massive cargo area of 100.7 cubic feet. The engine produces 280 horsepower and has a combined fuel-economy rating of 21 miles-per-gallon. The Passport can reach 60 miles per hour in just 5.8 seconds.
Honda’s Passport has a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds on models with all-wheel drive. Front-wheel-drive models can pull up to 3,500 pounds. Much like the Ford Explorer, the Honda Passport has respectable off-road capabilities. This is due to the Traction-Management System and robust suspension system.
The Toyota Highlander is in the same class as the Ford Explorer. Its size, weight, and basic exterior design are very similar. It can seat seven or eight people. It also offers 84.3 cubic feet of storage space with the rear seats let down. The base model starts at $35,085 and the top trim level starts at $41,685.
Toyota offers a hybrid model like the Ford Explorer. This gets owners up to 36 miles per gallon in combined driving conditions. There’s also an available V6 engine that produces 295 horsepower. It can reach speeds of 60 miles per hour in around 6.8 seconds. The Highlander can tow up to 5,000 pounds with the right equipment.
Much like the Ford Explorer, the Toyota Highlander is a capable off-road vehicle. The exterior is a bit more modern with more curves than most of the other mid-size SUVs on this list. The Toyota Highlander has a less-rugged but more sophisticated appearance.
The Buick Enclave is one more similarly sized, similarly shaped, mid-size SUV like the Explorer. It can seat up to seven and has a cargo capacity of 97.4 cubic feet. The Enclave is a pure luxury vehicle with an elegant style to match its posh interior. It’s still a capable vehicle too, being able to tow up to 5,000 pounds.
The Enclave starts at $40,300, which is not too bad for a luxury vehicle that’s loaded with standard features. The 3.6-liter V6 engine is smooth, powerful, and can produce up to 310 horsepower. It can hit 60 miles-per-hours in an impressive 6.6 seconds flat.
The Enclave gets around 18 miles per gallon in the city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway. It is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive variations. The highest trim level starts at around $55,200 and goes up from there depending on the optional features and packages you choose.
The latest Subaru Ascent is bigger than ever before with a full 153.5 cubic feet of passenger space. It can easily accommodate seven or eight people with its three-seat rows. The Ascent also offers 86.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the last seat row folded down flat.
The Ascent has a rugged, outdoorsy design for the exterior. It looks like something you would want to take off-road, and it can handle that sort of thing too, thanks to its symmetrical all-wheel drive. This vehicle is in the same class and is similar in size to the Ford Explorer.
This Subaru can tow up to 5,000 pounds thanks to its 260-horsepower, 4-cylinder turbocharged engine. This engine has a combined fuel economy rating of 27 miles per gallon. It goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just about 7 seconds. The Subaru Ascent will cost you between $32,295 and $39,595 depending on which trim level you choose.
The Volkswagen Atlas has three rows of seats and can seat up to seven people. It’s a mid-size SUV with a similar style to that of the Ford Explorer. The Atlas has a stylish and attractive exterior design that’s curvier than the Ford Explorer. The base model starts at $31,555 while the top trim level starts at $50,725.
The Atlas has two different powertrain options. There’s a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that produces 235 horsepower. This gets you the best fuel economy with a combined rating of 23 miles-per-gallon. For more power, there’s a 3.6-liter V6 that cranks out 276 horses and 265 pound-feet of torque. This SUV can reach speeds of 60 miles per hour in just 7.2 seconds.
Like so many of the SUVs on our list, the Atlas can tow around 5,000 pounds with the right engine and equipment. The Volkswagen Atlas also has a maximum cargo capacity of 96.8 square feet.
The Dodge Durango is similar to the Ford Explorer in its size and class. It differs in its sporty appearance and athletic performance capabilities. The Durango has a sleek and sporty design that takes cues from Dodge’s muscle cars like the Charger and Challenger. The Durango starts at $32,570 with the highest trim level exceeding $80,000 when it’s fully loaded.
The Durango SRT Hellcat offers massive power from its 6.2-liter HEMI V8 engine. It produces an astounding 710 horsepower and 645 pound-feet of torque. This beast can tow up to 8,700 pounds. It can reach 60 miles-per-hour in just 3.6 seconds, making it the fastest SUV on our list.
The Durango has room for six or seven people. It also provides 85.1 cubic feet of cargo space in the rear. The most economical engine for the Durango is a 2.5-liter V6 that has a combined fuel-economy rating of 21 miles-per-gallon.
The Chevy Traverse is a mid-size SUV with three rows of seats like the Ford Explorer. It can easily accommodate eight people. The Traverse has a maximum cargo capacity of 98.2 cubic feet. It can tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped.
The most efficient engine setup is the 3.6-liter V6 when paired with a front-wheel-drive model. This gets drivers 18 miles per gallon in the city and 27 miles per gallon on the highway. This powertrain produces an impressive 310 horsepower with 266 pound-feet of torque. The Traverse can tow around 5,000 pounds and can reach 60 miles-per-hour in 6.9 seconds.
The base trim of the Traverse starts at $29,800. The top trim level starts at $52,195. The exterior design of the Traverse is going for a classy look instead of the rugged or sporty style of other SUVs in this class. The lines are simple and the exterior has a smooth, uncomplicated appearance.
The Blazer is another mid-size SUV from Chevrolet. Unlike its Traverse counterpart, this SUV is going for a more athletic and rugged appearance. Its style is sporty and has curves and aerodynamic shapes that are similar to a modern military jet.
The Blazer has room for five passengers and 64.2 cubic feet of cargo space. It can tow around 4,500 pounds. The Blazer ranges in price between $28,800 and $42,500. It has all-wheel drive and good off-road abilities like the Ford Explorer.
The Blazer has an available 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 308 horsepower with 270 pound-feet of torque. It can go from 0 to 60 in 6.1 seconds. The most fuel-efficient engine will have a combined fuel-economy rating of around 25 miles-per-gallon.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a mid-sized SUV like the Ford Explorer. The Grand Cherokee offers Jeep’s exceptional off-road capabilities with 4X4 all-wheel drive and a robust suspension system. One might expect a rugged design from Jeep, but the Grand Cherokee is sleek and modern and will look equally at home on a trail, at the golf course, or outside of your office.
Jeep’s Grand Cherokee can seat five and has storage room for 68.3 cubic feet of cargo. It can tow between 3,500 and 7,200 pounds depending on the trim level. There’s a wide range of power and torque available thanks to the many powertrain options.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee offers between 293 to 707 horsepower. The fastest model will get you to 60 in just 6.7 seconds. The most efficient will get you 27 miles-per-gallon on the highway. The latest Grand Cherokee costs between $33,120 and $47,735.