The truck-based, mountain-climbing Ford Explorer of earlier generations is no more. The 2014 model represents the new, stylish, more fuel-efficient and softer crossover SUV. It is equipped with modern and useful pieces of equipment like an infotainment system, rearview camera and 3rd-row bench seat, making it a great companion for adventures and family trips.
NEW FOR THE 2014 EXPLORER
- standard automatic headlights and trailer sway control on all models
- standard heated 2nd-row seat on Limited models
UNDER THE HOOD
A 3.5-liter V6 engine with 290 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque is standard on all 2014 Explorers, except the Sport. The Ford Explorer can be had with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive system. The latter features traction-optimizing Terrain Management System which lets you choose from the four available modes.
A turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is optional on all FWD models. Its output is rated at 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque.
The all-wheel-drive Explorer Sport is powered by a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine which puts out 365 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque. All Explorers are equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
|3.5-liter V6 FWD||17/24/20|
|3.5-liter V6 4WD||17/23/19|
|turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cyl FWD||20/28/23|
|turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 4WD||16/22/18|
ON THE ROAD
The 2014 Ford Explorer is well-composed and runs smoothly on highways. But the 20-inch wheels make it a little busy especially on imperfect road surfaces. The Ford SUV also feels large from behind the wheel and is more difficult to maneuver than most of its rivals. Nevertheless, it’s still fun to drive on long trips, regardless of whether what’s under the hood is a V6 or a turbocharged four.
The Sport model performs quite the same but due to its sport steering and suspension, the Explorer is more responsive and more confident. The ride gets slightly less comfortable, though, but to a still acceptable extent.
INSIDE THE 2014 EXPLORER
The Explorer’s cabin is upscale and attractive. For a starting price of slightly more than $30,000, the quality of materials and the array of standard cabin features are not cheap. The center stack is eye-catching especially with the hi-res touchscreen and well-done layout of the controls. Some reviewers, though, wrote that the touchscreen interface is not the easiest to use in the class.
Although respectable, the Explorer’s cargo area, which measures up to 80 cubic feet, is still smaller than some of its rivals. As for the seats, both the 2nd- and 3rd-row seats are cramped. The latter is good only for kids.
There are four models of the 2014 Ford Explorer: the base, XLT, Limited and Sport. Check out the some of the standard and optional features offered for your preferred model.
Base: tilt/telescoping steering column, cruise control, capless fuel filler, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system, auxiliary audio jack, 6-way power driver seat, 2nd-row 60/40 split-folding seat, 3rd-row 50/50 split-folding seat, power side mirrors with integrated blind spot mirrors, LED taillights, 17-inch steel wheels, cloth upholstery, automatic headlights, rear spoiler, MyFord with 4.2-inch color instrument-cluster screen
XLT: leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, reverse sensing system, USB port, voice-activated SYNC, satellite radio, heated side mirrors with LED turn signals, fog lights, 18-inch aluminum wheels, 6-way power front-passenger seat, unique cloth upholstery, fog lights
Limited: dual-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, keyless access with push-button start, remote start, rearview camera, ambient interior lighting, 12-speaker Sony audio system, SD card reader, leather seats, 20-inch aluminum wheels, 10-way power driver seat, 6-way power front-passenger seat, driver memory function, HD radio, 8-inch touchscreen in center stack, audio/video input jacks, wood interior trim, heated1st- and 2nd-row seats
Sport: Sport badging, 2nd-row-seat center armrest with cup holders, sport suspension, hill descent control, black grille
Options: voice-activated navigation system, power liftgate, dual-panel sunroof, rear-seat entertainment system, adaptive cruise control and collision warning, blind spot information system
Photo credit: ford.com