It’s been almost seven years since Ford Explorer has not received major changes. This mid-size SUV has received a full redesign last time in 2011 and has adopted a unibody construction based on the D4 platform which is a modified version of the previous D3 platform. The best-selling crossover has made its official debut on July 26, 2010 and was sold as a 2011 model year. In terms of sales, the fifth-generation Ford Explorer (2011 – current model) has excellent sales in the mid-size SUV segment at the US market and almost nothing beats him in terms of sales figures. Let’s look at sales data since the fifth-generation model hit the US market.
Since it was first launched in 2011, the Ford Explorer has sold 1,101,776 units in total at the US market. This mid-size SUV sold 135,179 units in 2011, and then increased to 158,344 units in 2012 (up 23,165 units from the previous year) and sales jumped to 178,311 units in 2013 (up 19,967 units from the previous year). Then in 2014, the fifth-gen Explorer received a sales increase of 11,028 units or reached 189,339 units in total during the year. Sales continued to increase until 2015 with record sales of 224,309 units or jump up to 34,970 units from the previous year. However, Explorer’s sales dropped significantly by 8,015 units in 2016 and sold only 216,294 units in total.
Rumors, Concept and Redesign
Now the sixth-generation 2019 Ford Explorer crossover is currently under development. What we know so far is that there will be many changes brought by this mid-size SUV crossover. According to a recent report, the upcoming Explorer will ride on a new D6 platform that utilizes lightweight materials such as aluminum, while the current model is based on the old D4 platform introduced since 2011. Even the next-gen Explorer is claimed to get more radical changes compared to the previous generation model. However, the new D6 platform will certainly be based on a front-wheel drive configuration with all-wheel drive available as optional only.
The prototype version of the 2019 Explorer has been caught under intensive testing since a few months ago. The full-size crossover SUV will adopt a lightweight aluminum material in order to reduce its weight. It’s also thanks to the use of the next-generation D6 platform that makes it more fuel-efficient. While the styling design may not change much compared to the facelifted 2017 Ford Explorer. Nevertheless, Ford will obviously provide a redesign for its exterior and interior since the SUV was last redesigned in 2011. We can expect an upcoming redesign with an evolutionary style in the 2019 Explorer, even though the crossover is covered with heavy camouflage during its testing. The body shape is still dashing and large with sharp lines stretching from the front end to the back end, plus additional space for three-row seats.
Performance and Specs
Under its hood, the 2019 Ford Explorer will most likely be powered by a turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine capable of delivering at least 310 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. This is the same four-cylinder engine currently found in the 2018 Ford Mustang. In addition, Ford will also still offer a Twin-Turbo 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine for the upcoming Explorer with peak output of 365 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 350 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm. With EcoBoost technology, both powertrain are expected to deliver improved performance, better emissions and average fuel economy than the old powertrain.
While the naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6 engine is likely to be removed from the Explorer powertrain list. The naturally-aspirated engine currently power the 2017 Explorer in addition to the 2.3L EcoBoost I4 and 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine. It has a peak output of 290 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 255 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, but the naturally-aspirated engine is less good in terms of average fuel economy. That’s why Ford has plans to remove the naturally-aspirated V6 from the Explorer’s powertrain lineup. On the other hand, the old 6-speed SelectShift automatic transmission will be replaced with a newly developed 9-speed automatic transmission, and then mated to a front-wheel drive configuration as standard equipment.
Release Date and Pricing Info
The official release date is still unknown, but the 2019 Ford Explorer is expected to go on sale in the United States in the second half of next year or around summer 2018. There is another possibility that the Dearborn carmaker will unveil the the sixth-generation 2019 Explorer concept at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, as well as the Detroit Motor Show early next year. The price tag is expected to remain unchanged from the current model, which starts at a base MSRP of $32,605 and $54,180 for the Platinum trim levels. Please look for the official pricing details when the SUV had landed on the US dealers floor.
Image Credits: Autoguide