Recently taken spy images of a test mule confirm that Ford is currently working on the next-generation Ford Explorer. The current iteration of this popular SUV has been scoring great sales since 2011 when it arrived. Now, several reports have already hinted that its successor might go on sale as a 2018 model. Apart from adopting a new platform, the all-new Explorer is expected to receive an upgraded engine range. As confirmed by the 2018 Ford Explorer spy shots, the production-ready model will also get a completely redesigned sheet metal. Some sources suggest that its public debut could happen in late 2017 at one of the international motor shows. In that case, expect it to hit the showrooms by mid-2018.
2018 Ford Explorer Release Date of Redesign
As mentioned, the 2018 Ford Explorer will ride on Ford’s new D6 platform. The same underpinnings should be applied in a number of Ford and Lincoln models in the near future. As for the current Explorer, it uses the D4 platform that underpins the Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT as well. Rumor also has it that the next-gen model will benefit from an extensive use of aluminum body panels. The spied prototype hints that it’s likely to get aluminum-intensive hood, tailgate as well as door panels. Of course, the use of lightweight materials will result in significant weight reductions. So, expect the redesigned Explorer to offer substantially improved handling and fuel efficiency. Sadly, the heavily disguised test mule didn’t reveal too much of its future exterior design. We expect Ford to bring the 2018 Explorer more in line with its latest design language.
2018 Explorer Specs
When it comes to the 2018 Ford Explorer engine range, details are still scarce. However, we believe that the upcoming redesign will bring updated versions of some of its current powertrains. So, expect the existing 2.3-liter four-cylinder and 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 to carry over with boosted outputs. As for the naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6, it is not very likely to make it to the next generation. We expect the new Explorer’s power output to range between 300 and 380 horsepower. It should also remain a front-wheel drive model, while adopting a new fuel-saving nine-speed automatic transmission.
Pricing and Competition
The company has yet to reveal official pricing figures for the 2018 Ford Explorer. According to some sources, it is not likely to stray too far from the current model’s starting price of $32,000. Just like its predecessor, the brand new Explorer will be competing in a heavily contested segment. Its key rivals will come in the form of the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot and Nissan Pathfinder.