Ford has finally unveiled its first - of two - VW MEB-based electric SUV designed for Europe. While the technical details are still being kept away, the all-new and all-electric Ford Explorer is a really interesting vehicle. For starters, it shows Volkswagen what it should have made instead of the VW ID.4.
Ford is feeling a bit liberal with the Explorer name even though it claims this is a full revival of the brand. The truth is, all generations of Ford Explorers were around 5 meters long, many featured 7-seat options and the Explorers are a backbone of the US Police vehicle fleet. This new European Explorer is half a meter shorter and it has no chance to offer a seven-seat layout.
It clearly is a much smaller vehicle, made to fit much narrower European roads and much tighter parking spaces. Once we look past that, we actually see a promising electric SUV from Ford, with the battery and powertrain from VW. This should be a good combo, right?
The design is spot on, big wheels make the car look aggressive, chunky and purposeful-looking body suggests it can take on the occasional trip off the beaten track. And yet, with its floating roof and slim headlights, it looks sporty and almost sophisticated. It looks like the F-150 Lightning had a baby with the Range Rover Sport and it is one good-looking kid.
While Ford decided to use VW’s MEB platform, the company made a clever move to not even consider VW’s operating system. The interface seems clean and the large 15” screen is vertical and moves out of the way to reveal concealed storage behind it. The system supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay - wireless at that.
The sound system comes with a large windshield-facing speaker, not too different from the sound bars we are used to seeing in home cinema setups. The interior is large, at least at the front, and is dominated by the sports seats that hark back to the early 2000s Ford Explorer.
Unfortunately, Ford is keeping the technical details under a key-and-lock for now. All the company is willing to share is the fact that the new Explorer can top up its battery from 10% to 80% in just 25 minutes. VW ID.4 states its DC charging times as 38 minutes, but from 5% to 80%, and since the two vehicles are sharing the platform, it is interesting to try and figure out if the 5% difference is where the Ford gains 13 minutes.
Finally - the storage. Ford is the King of storage and it proves it with the new Ford Explorer. While the car itself is shorter than the VW ID.4 it is based on, it has plenty of storage available - it comes with what seems like the largest center console in this segment of vehicles. Unfortunately, its shorter body means a smaller trunk - 450 Liters against 545 Liters found in VW ID.4. Still, a decent capacity with room for weekend luggage for a family.
The list of equipment is long and it contains all the latest ADAS - lane keeping and changing, the usual blind spot alert, active park assist meaning fully autonomous parking and all that is supported by 12 ultrasonic sensors, 5 cameras, and 3 radars.
When will we see the new Ford Explorer on the road? The production is supposed to start later this year with the first deliveries to begin early in 2024. Ford is trying really hard for the entry version to start from just under €45,000 (around $48,000) which puts it right against the VW ID.4 Pro Performance and just a tad under the more expensive AWD ID.4 Pro 4Motion. The question is - is the entry model going to be a dual-motor AWD? If that is the case, then it would be a real contender but if Ford hopes to sell a single-motor version with a tiny battery for that price - it will be a tough job.
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