The 2014 Ford Explorer sees a marked improvement in its combination of power, fuel economy and refinement.
The Ford Explorer was introduced in 1991 and quickly became one of the most popular sport utility vehicles on the market, often carrying the banner as the best-selling SUV in its segment through its model revisions to present. The 2014 Ford Explorer is a crossover SUV which is far more refined than previous editions. Seating for up to seven passengers and great fuel economy are high points of this crossover.
The 2014 Ford Explorer looks like a thoroughly modern crossover, especially in comparison with earlier generations.
The floating roof of the Explorer is split only by the rear pillar with the distinctive, wraparound rear glass creating a flying wedge in the roof line. Sharp lighting and aggressive wheel wells finish the look, adding a muscular element to the Explorer’s appearance.
Although the 2014 Ford Explorer’s interior is well-made and upscale, the second and third rows are cramped and headroom is limited there. Visibility can also be an issue from the driver’s seat, but space in the front row is excellent.
While cargo space isn’t as good as what you’ll find in competitors like the Chevrolet Traverse, the Explorer offers a competitive 80 cubic feet of space with the second and third rows folded.
The standard engine in the 2014 Ford Explorer is a 3.5-liter V6 producing 290 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. Four-wheel drive is available with the base engine.
Acceleration with this base engine is good and mileage is EPA estimated at 20 mpg combined (17/24 mpg city/highway). If you choose a four-wheel drive model, those numbers drop to 16/22 mpg, or 18 mpg combined.
A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine option is available, which produces a respectable 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. This model doesnt accelerate as quickly, but provides excellent fuel economy at 20/28 mpg city/highway (23 mpg combined). This engine is only available on the front-wheel drive Explorer.
A third option, available only on the the Explorer Sport, is a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 producing 365 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque. Models with this engine get an EPA-estimated 16/22 mpg city/highway.
Four-wheel drive options include Ford’s Terrain Management System, which gives four control options for traction optimization in different conditions. The V6-powered Explorer has a tow rating of 5,000 pounds.
The Explorer offers a range of technology upgrades throughout its trim levels. The most sophisticated are based on the MyFord Touch infotainment system, which some automotive journalists have found slow to respond to user inputs and cumbersome to use. Some improvements have made the 2014 MyFord Touch system easier to use, but it still often ranks low in reviews.
The base 2014 Explorer comes standard with automatic headlights, cruise control, a power-adjustable driver’s seat and a six-speaker stereo.
Available features include a rearview camera, parking sensors, Bluetooth, a USB port, Ford’s voice-controlled Sync system, the MyFord Touch infotainment system, navigation, satellite radio, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats and a power liftgate.
The 2014 Explorer receives high marks in crash testing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the Explorer a top five-star rating for its overall performance in crash tests.
The Explorer also earned a top score of ‘Good’ in most crash tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, it received the IIHS’ second-lowest score of ‘Marginal’ in small overlap front crash tests.
Optional driver assistance features on the 2014 Explorer include a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control.
The Ford Explorer is a crossover that sells well in both the new and used markets. Used buyers will enjoy the value for the packaging offered with the 2014 Explorer and resale values are expected to be lower than average for the segment, making this a less expensive option for some buyers.
Our overall assessment of the 2014 Ford Explorer puts it just ahead of the middle of the pack in the midsize crossover segment. The 2014 Explorer is a good buy for many, as long as you are OK with a few caveats.