When it comes to midsized SUVs, none sells better than the Ford Explorer in the U.S. — and for good reason. The popular seven-seater has been a staple in the American automaker’s lineup since the early 1990s and now the sixth-generation model is in development.
Although it will go on sale as a 2019 model year, there’s a bit we already know about the next-generation SUV as spy photographers have already caught a prototype testing.
5. It Rides on a New Platform
The 2019 Ford Explorer is expected to ride on a new platform called “D6.” Currently it’s underpinned by the D4 platform also found on the Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT, but look for the D6 to make an appearance in several of Ford’s models in the future. It’s believed that the new platform will take advantage of lightweight materials like aluminum, similar to what Ford did with its popular F-150 pickup. In addition, rumors suggest it can be configured for front-, rear- and all-wheel drive but don’t expect the Explorer to go rear-wheel drive. For now, it is believed it will continue to be offered with front-wheel drive as standard and all-wheel drive available as an option.
4. It Will Likely Lose its Naturally-Aspirated V6 Engine
Like the refreshed Ford Mustang, the automaker is expected to drop the naturally-aspirated V6 engine from the Ford Explorer’s lineup. Look to see the 2.3-liter four cylinder and 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engines live on, with slight updates to enhance performance and fuel economy. The deletion of the naturally-aspirated V6 will help boost the average fuel economy and emissions across the entire Explorer range.
3. Look for it to Debut in Late 2017 or Early 2018
There’s a possibility Ford will debut the 2019 Explorer at the 2017 L.A. Auto Show, but it’s more likely it will bow at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. Either way, it should go on sale in summer 2018 as a 2019 model year.
2. Its Styling Will be More Evolutionary than Revolutionary
Although it’s still hard to see with the heavily camouflage concealing the prototype, the next-generation Explorer won’t see any drastic styling changes. The focus will be on using aluminum to shed weight, helping make it more fuel efficient as well as taking advantage of the new platform. Some would say the fifth-generation model did enough to change the popular SUV’s styling that debuted as a 2011 model year. Needless to say that’s several years ago and by the time the new model bows, it will be a welcomed change even if it’s not overwhelming.
1. It Will Continue to Sell Well
Last year, the Ford Explorer sold 248,507 units, making it the 14th overall best seller in the U.S. It’s a safe assumption that regardless of how Ford decides to style the Explorer, it will continue to sell well among the midsize SUV segment, especially for shoppers looking for seven seats. Currently the model starts from $32,605 including destination ($35,039 in Canada), but don’t expect it to see any sort of major price hike when the new model is introduced.
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