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2022 Ford Explorer

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2022 Ford Explorer Review

Colin Ryan

By Colin Ryan

Updated January 06, 2022

Pros

  • Many variants
  • Good base engine, great V6 engine
  • Hybrid versions available
  • Seating for seven

Cons

  • Pricey top trims
  • Small third-row area

What's New?

  • ST-Line variants join the lineup
  • Engine stop/restart delete offered with the 4-cylinder engine
  • Sporty ST models now offered with rear-wheel drive
  • King Ranch & Platinum trims gain the ST’s 400-horsepower V6
  • New cargo organizer & bumper protection options
  • Some changes in paint choices

Price: The 2022 Ford Explorer starts at $33,245.

The 2022 Ford Explorer is a 3-row midsize SUV/crossover with all the right ingredients to appeal to the average family. Yet it can also appeal to anyone but the average family with a special off-roading version, an exceptionally sporty ST model, a hybrid variant, and not one but two high-class/leather-clad versions.

Anyone buying a new Explorer can be as mainstream as they like, enjoying a roomy cabin, several standard driver assistance features, and a punchy yet fuel-efficient engine. Or they can take an Explorer to places where rivals pale in comparison.

This is the sixth generation of Explorer, a consistent best-seller for Ford. This latest generation debuted in 2020.

2022 Ford Explorer Pricing

The base 2022 Explorer with rear-wheel drive has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $33,245, plus a destination charge. Adding all-wheel drive is an extra $2,000. That applies to any new Explorer variant not fitted with all-wheel drive as standard.

We recommend stretching the budget if possible to the XLT trim, at just over $35k. For both its extra standard features and its eligibility for more optional equipment.

The hybrid drivetrain becomes available in a rear-drive Limited version, priced from just over $50k. The top 2022 Explorer Platinum model with all-wheel drive is $55,740. Even at this plush level, it’s possible to increase the final amount to around $59k with options.

The most expensive Explorer models, King Ranch and Platinum, are approaching luxury territory — like the Lexus RX, Acura MDX and Genesis GV80.

Down at the more affordable end, the 2022 Explorer competes with the Honda Pilot (starting around $40k, but with a high level of standard equipment), and the Toyota Highlander (from about $36k), Mazda CX-9 and Chevrolet Traverse (starting in the $34k region), Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, Volkswagen Atlas, Subaru Ascent (all starting around $33k), and the new-for-2022 Nissan Pathfinder ($33.5k).

Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see how much others in your area paid for their new Explorer. Traditionally, the Explorer’s resale values are average, more or less level with the Traverse, but not as strong as those of the Pilot and Highlander.

Driving the 2022 Ford Explorer

For most tastes and conditions, there’s nothing wrong with the base turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine. It’s gutsy enough to move a full 2022 Explorer without too much effort.

Serving as an excellent complement is the pleasantly precise 10-speed automatic transmission. The top three ratios are really overdrives that come into their own on a freeway.

Reassurance comes with excellent outward vision, enhanced by standard-issue blind-spot monitoring. There’s a natural feel to the steering, and the ride quality balances comfort and control in a well-judged manner.

Whenever Ford makes an ST model, driving enthusiasts take notice. The Explorer ST has a sport suspension and a wonderfully muscular 400-horsepower turbocharged V6. It’s a true performance SUV and there’s nothing else among the usual suspects to match it. We would look at something like the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 with only 29 more horsepower, but a starting price that’s about $25k higher.

The optional all-wheel-drive system in the 2022 Explorer comes with terrain response modes like Slippery, Deep Snow/Sand, and Tow/Haul. Under normal conditions, it disconnects the front axle automatically to keep fuel economy in check, but can send up to 50 percent of available drive to the front wheels within milliseconds if necessary.

Interior Comfort

The most basic 2022 Explorer has a 7-seat configuration with a 3-person bench in the second row. The next trim up, XLT, already brings a pair of captain’s chairs for that row, reducing the occupant count to six. However, that bench can be reinstated in any of the higher trims at no extra cost. The captain’s chairs can slide back for maximum legroom (an impressive 39 inches) or forward to optimize cargo space.

Overall, the cabin is acceptably quiet and comfortable, though not particularly attractive in basic form. There’s a rotary gearshift, 10 cup holders, and five 12-volt outlets (including one in the cargo area).

Higher trims liven things up. For example, the new ST-Line brings ambient cabin lighting, along with red stitching and simulated suede panels in the upholstery. The Timberline has Tangerine stitching, while the King Ranch has 2-tone light brown/dark brown leather upholstery.

Back in the third row, 32.2 inches of rear legroom and low-slung seat cushions make this space most suitable for the youngest family members.

Cargo space goes from 18.2 cubic feet behind the third row to a maximum of 87.8 cubic feet. That applies to the hybrid version as well. It’s a simple thing, but we also like the reversible vinyl/carpet cargo floor covering.

Exterior Styling

Buying a midsize 3-row SUV/crossover entails far more than outward appearances. But we’d argue that the 2022 Explorer’s exterior stylists were as risk-averse as its interior designers. Compared with something like the Kia Telluride or Hyundai Palisade, it comes across as somewhat tepid.

Also like the cabin, it requires a higher trim to spark some interest. The new ST-Line mimics the more powerful ST with a black grille mesh, along with a “blackout” treatment to the headlights and taillights.

The Timberline version has actual steel skid plates instead of the plastic “skid plate look” of other SUVs. It also has a slightly raised suspension for a little extra ground clearance, front tow hooks, plus model-specific alloy wheels, badges, and grille. It also comes with wiring for an optional grille-mounted off-road light kit.

Platinum trim elevates the classiness with satin aluminum exterior elements.

This year sees the introduction of Burgundy Velvet Metallic Tinted Clearcoat and Stone Blue Metallic color choices. Along with the departure of Infinite Blue Metallic and Stone Gray Metallic.

Favorite Features

12.3-INCH DIGITAL INSTRUMENT CLUSTER
This configurable driver information display becomes standard at the ST level, adding to the high-tech ambiance. One of the modes is a Calm Screen, showing just the essentials to reduce driver distraction.

400-HORSEPOWER V6
This is where the Explorer breaks away from the mainstream pack. Even some luxury midsize 3-row crossovers don’t offer this much power. Now it comes in the top three trims. The ST version also offers the option of stronger brakes.

Standard Features

Starting with the base 2022 Explorer, the inventory of standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED exterior lighting, powered tailgate, keyless entry/ignition, tri-zone automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, and an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat.

Safety levels are enhanced by the Co-Pilot360 driver assistance features that include forward collision warning and blind-spot monitoring (see our Safety Technology section below for more deals). The Explorer also comes with trailer sway control, hill start assist, post-collision braking, and a comprehensive set of airbags.

The infotainment system has an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android smartphone integration, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB-A port, USB-C ports, satellite radio, and a 6-speaker audio setup.

Factory Options

One of the main options for a 2022 Explorer is all-wheel drive. Another is the Class IV trailer tow package (standard in the Timberline).

The next-up XLT trim gains things like extra USB ports (A and C), second-row captain’s chairs, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and heated/power-adjustable front seats. It also qualifies for simulated leather upholstery, heated steering wheel, LED fog lights, remote start, entry keypad, a Sport Appearance package that includes 20-inch alloy wheels, and the Co-Pilot360 Assist+ array of driver aids that includes adaptive cruise control and navigation (see the Safety Technology section below for more details).

The new-for-2022 Explorer ST-Line has the looks of the more powerful ST model, but retains the basic engine. It does raise the appointments, however, with 20-inch alloy wheels, simulated leather upholstery, self-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers, 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, wireless charging, and the Co-Pilot360 Assist+ driver aids.

The Timberline also comes with simulated leather upholstery, heated second-row seats, and extra driver aids. This is an off-road-focused model with 18-inch alloy wheels wearing all-terrain tires, plus all-wheel drive as standard, and a torque-sensing (Torsen) limited-slip rear differential.

It’s back to 20-inch alloys and the B&O system for Limited trim, adding front parking sensors, leather seating surfaces, heated/ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, a universal garage door opener. This trim level also offers the hybrid drivetrain.

A Convenience package for Limited trim brings memory settings for the driver’s seat, hands-free tailgate operation, power-folding third-row seats, power-adjustable steering column, and a 110-volt power outlet.

The ST represents the more thrilling side of the 2022 Explorer range, with a sport-tuned suspension and a 400-horsepower engine exhaling through a quad exhaust system. This version is also eligible for 21-inch alloy wheels, stronger brakes, 12.3-inch digital driver information display, dual-pane moonroof, a 10.1-inch touchscreen with pinch-to-zoom capability, rear-seat entertainment system, and a 980-watt/14-speaker B&O system.

King Ranch brings its own Western-themed additions inside and out, plus the bigger touchscreen and B&O system, massaging front seats, and automatic emergency braking in reverse.

Platinum tops the range, rolling on 21-inch alloy wheels and sporting adaptive LED headlights, memory settings for both massaging front seats, real wood cabin trim, and a self-parking function. On the options list are the hybrid drivetrain, dual-pane moonroof, and a rear-seat entertainment system.

Engine & Transmission

A turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine propels most versions of the 2022 Explorer. It makes 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, a higher output than the standard V6 engines in many rivals. A new option for 2022 is the deletion of the automatic stop/restart function for this engine that saves fuel while idling but irritates some drivers when it kicks back in.

A hybrid drivetrain is offered in the Limited and Platinum models. It pairs a naturally aspirated (no turbochargers or superchargers) 3.3-liter V6 with an electric motor for a total of 318 horsepower.

A turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 developing 400 horsepower is newly standard in the King Ranch and super-luxurious Platinum trims, and has always been part of the exceptionally sporty ST variant.

Unlike most rivals that are front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive (RWD) is the standard setup across the board for the Explorer, with all-wheel drive (AWD) available as an option. The exceptions being the Timberline off-road specialist version and the Platinum Hybrid, which have all-wheel drive as standard. Every 2022 Explorer has a 10-speed automatic transmission. And regular gasoline works fine for every engine.

The EPA fuel economy figures for the 2.3-liter Ford Explorer are estimates. All Explorer V6 fuel economy figures are official EPA data for 2022.

2.3-liter turbocharged inline-4 (base, XLT, ST-Line, Timberline, Limited)
300 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
310 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 mpg (RWD), 20/27 mpg (AWD)

3.3-liter V6 + electric motor (Hybrid: Limited & Platinum)
318 horsepower
322 lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/28 mpg (RWD), 23/26 mpg (AWD)

3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (ST, King Ranch & Platinum)
400 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
415 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg (RWD), 18/24 mpg (AWD)

FAQs

How much is a 2022 Ford Explorer?

The rear-drive base version comes in at $33,100 and the top all-wheel-drive Platinum is $55,740. These prices are before options and destination charges.

Is the 2022 Ford Explorer a good SUV?

Yes. With the caveat that the Explorer competes in a class with many rivals that are equally as good in their own ways. Check out this review for greater insight.

How much can a 2022 Ford Explorer tow?

A maximum of 5,600 pounds. That’s with the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and the right trailering equipment. Not many rivals can pull as much. The Explorer Hybrid can still handle a remarkable 5,000 pounds.

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2022 Ford Explorer
KBB.com Consumer Reviews

3.8
Consumer Rating
Based on 43 Reviews
Write a Review
68%Recommend this vehicle
5
51%
5
51%
4
12%
4
12%
3
16%
3
16%
2
7%
2
7%
1
14%
1
14%
Value
3.4
Performance
4.1
Quality
3.6
Comfort
4.3
Reliability
3.7
Styling
4.6

Trending Topics in KBB.com Consumer Reviews

Showing 6 of 43 reviews.


Micki
12/18/2021 | 2021 Ford Explorer
I would do more research!
Pros

Seats where comfortable stylish and roomy

Cons

Major issues been at the shop for 3 months now.

Car broke down and left me stranded with my 83 year old mother in law with me. No warning no codes. 2000 miles. Made a lot of clicking sounds at night after it was off for hrs. Not real sure what that was about.

Value
1.0
Performance
1.0
Quality
1.0
Comfort
5.0
Reliability
1.0
Styling
5.0
Was this review helpful?
4
0

Deetro
11/23/2021 | 2020 Ford Explorer
Tranny Trouble
Pros

Roomy , stylish, comfortable

Cons

TRANSMISSION

I do love this vehicle .. But there is a huge problem with this transmission and Ford knows it !!!!!!! it wouldnt be a big problem but Ford cant even get parts to get it fixed, the dealer has now had mine for 8 weeks with no getting parts anytime in the near future, you would think with as many problems as Ford has had with this they would make sure they have plenty of parts to fix...I do love this vehicle and when Ford fixes this issue i will give 4 and 5 stars... But for now same on you ford for not being prepared...

Value
4.0
Performance
5.0
Quality
3.0
Comfort
5.0
Reliability
1.0
Styling
5.0
Recommends this vehicle
Was this review helpful?
5
0

Brenda
11/18/2021 | 2021 Ford Explorer
Love

I am totally in love with my Explorer. It is so roomy and comfy. I purchased the XLT sport package and it everything I was looking for. I have no regrets on this purchase.

Value
5.0
Performance
5.0
Quality
5.0
Comfort
5.0
Reliability
5.0
Styling
5.0
Recommends this vehicle
Was this review helpful?
5
0

John
11/14/2021 | 2021 Ford Explorer
BEST SUV IN THE US

an amazing SUV that drives like a space ship and has 440 hp with an attractive look. I would highly recommend everyone to consider it . safety, performance and look you have it all .

Value
5.0
Performance
5.0
Quality
5.0
Comfort
5.0
Reliability
5.0
Styling
5.0
Recommends this vehicle
Was this review helpful?
4
0

Carlos
11/06/2021 | 2020 Ford Explorer
Handsome vehicle, dark blue color, leather.
Pros

Fun to Drive with ample power available.

Cons

Don't know of any.

Excellent condition. No dents, scratches, perfect paint. Vehicle is too much for my age bracket. Is very powerful (3 liter, twin turbo 400 HP engine) Is ST model, with 21" wheels, sport suspension, designed for a person wanting a sporty high performance vehicle. Is loaded with all available accessories.

Value
5.0
Performance
5.0
Quality
5.0
Comfort
5.0
Reliability
5.0
Styling
5.0
Recommends this vehicle
Was this review helpful?
2
0

Carlos
11/06/2021 | 2020 Ford Explorer
Handsome vehicle, dark blue color, leather.
Pros

Fun to Drive with ample power available.

Cons

Don't know of any.

Excellent condition. No dents, scratches, perfect paint. Vehicle is too much for my age bracket. Is very powerful (3 liter, twin turbo 400 HP engine) Is ST model, with 21" wheels, sport suspension, designed for a person wanting a sporty high performance vehicle. Is loaded with all available accessories.

Value
5.0
Performance
5.0
Quality
5.0
Comfort
5.0
Reliability
5.0
Styling
5.0
Recommends this vehicle
Was this review helpful?
1
0

See All 43 Reviews

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See DetailsSee DetailsSee Details
Price
$34,540
$33,525
$33,745
$33,945
KBB.com Rating
3.8
4.7
4.2
4.3
Consumer Rating
N/A
4.7
4.1
N/A
Fuel Economy
City 21/Hwy 28/Comb 24 MPG
City 25/Hwy 28/Comb 26 MPG
City 25/Hwy 30/Comb 27 MPG
City 25/Hwy 28/Comb 26 MPG
Safety Rating
N/A
N/A
5.0
5.0
Seating Capacity
7
5
5
5
Basic Warranty
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Horsepower
300 @ 5500 RPM
191 @ 6100 RPM
170 @ 5600 RPM
182 @ 5800 RPM
Engine
4-Cyl, EcoBoost, Turbo, 2.3 Liter
4-Cyl, GDI, 2.5 Liter
4-Cyl, Turbo, 1.5 Liter
4-Cyl, 2.5 Liter
Drivetrain
RWD
FWD
AWD
AWD
Compare More

2022 Ford Explorer Photos & Videos

Specifications

Dimensions, Weights & Capacities

Curb Weight
4345 pounds
EPA Passenger
152.7 cubic feet
Fuel Capacity
17.9 gallons
Front Head Room
40.7 inches
Front Leg Room
43.0 inches
Max Seating Capacity
7
Minimum Ground Clearance
7.9 inches
Overall Length
198.8 inches
Front Shoulder Room
61.8 inches
Towing Capacity, Maximum
5300 pounds
Trunk or Cargo Capacity
87.8 cubic feet
Turning Diameter
38.7 feet
Wheel Base
119.1 inches
Width with mirrors
89.3 inches

Mechanical

Drivetrain
RWD
Transmission Type
Automatic
10 speed
Available
Recommended Fuel
Regular
Hill Start Assist
Available

Warranty

Basic
3 years / 36000 miles
Powertrain
5 years / 60000 miles
Corrosion
5 years / Unlimited miles

Exterior

Alloy Wheels
Available
Number of Doors
4 doors
Privacy Glass
Available
LED Headlights
Available
Rear Spoiler
Available

Performance

Horsepower
300 @ 5500 RPM
Torque
310 @ 3500 rpm
Engine
4-Cyl, EcoBoost, Turbo, 2.3 Liter

Fuel Economy

City
21 MPG
Highway
28 MPG
Combined
24 MPG

Technology

  • Cruise Control
  • Hands Free Phone
  • Remote Keyless Entry
  • Internet Access
  • Smartphone Interface
  • Touch Screen Monitor
  • USB Port
  • Voice Recognition System

Entertainment

  • MP3 Player
  • Satellite Radio

Seating

  • Folding Rear Seat
  • Third Row Seat
  • Cloth Seats
  • Power Driver's Seat

Interior

  • Power Windows
  • Rear Window Defroster
  • 12V Power Outlet
  • Power Outlet
  • Steering Wheel Controls
  • Tilt Steering Wheel
  • Tilt/Telescoping Steering Wheel

2022 Ford Explorer Safety

2022 Ford Explorer Safety Technology

Co-Pilot360

These standard driver assistance features under the overall Co-Pilot360 term include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assistance, and automatic high beams. Every new Explorer also comes with rear parking sensors and side wind stabilization.

Co-Pilot360 Assist+

Standard at the Limited trim level and optional in the three trims directly below, this package brings adaptive cruise control with stop/go and lane centering, evasive steering assistance, and voice-controlled navigation.

Speed Sign Recognition

This is included with the Co-Pilot360 Assist+ bundle. Although it seems pretty straightforward, there’s an interesting twist. As well as “reading” speed limit signs and — when adaptive cruise control is being employed — bringing the Explorer down to that velocity, it allows a bit of leeway if the driver sets the desired speed a few miles per hour above that posted limit.

Not Available
Crash Test Rating
Provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Frontal Crash
N/A
Side Barrier
5.0
Rollover Rating
4.0
Side Crash
5.0

2022 Ford Explorer Styles

Lowest-Priced

Base Style

24 MPG
Combined Fuel Economy
7
Seating
300 @ 5500 RPM
Horsepower
4-cyl, Ecoboost, Turbo, 2.3 Liter
Engine

XLT

24 MPG
Combined Fuel Economy
7
Seating
300 @ 5500 RPM
Horsepower
4-cyl, Ecoboost, Turbo, 2.3 Liter
Engine

St-line

24 MPG
Combined Fuel Economy
7
Seating
300 @ 5500 RPM
Horsepower
4-cyl, Ecoboost, Turbo, 2.3 Liter
Engine

Limited

24 MPG
Combined Fuel Economy
7
Seating
300 @ 5500 RPM
Horsepower
4-cyl, Ecoboost, Turbo, 2.3 Liter
Engine

Timberline

21 MPG
Combined Fuel Economy
7
Seating
300 @ 5500 RPM
Horsepower
4-cyl, Ecoboost, Turbo, 2.3 Liter
Engine

ST

20 MPG
Combined Fuel Economy
7
Seating
400 @ 5500 RPM
Horsepower
V6, Ecoboost, Twin Turbo, 3.0 Liter
Engine

Limited HEV

27 MPG
Combined Fuel Economy
7
Seating
318 @ 6500 RPM
Horsepower
V6, Hybrid, 3.3 Liter
Engine

Platinum HEV

26 MPG
Combined Fuel Economy
7
Seating
318 @ 6500 RPM
Horsepower
V6, Hybrid, 3.3 Liter
Engine

King Ranch

21 MPG
Combined Fuel Economy
7
Seating
400 @ 5500 RPM
Horsepower
V6, Ecoboost, Twin Turbo, 3.0 Liter
Engine

Platinum

21 MPG
Combined Fuel Economy
7
Seating
400 @ 5500 RPM
Horsepower
V6, Ecoboost, Twin Turbo, 3.0 Liter
Engine
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