2022 Ford Explorer specs and variants explained

2022 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid in stone blue
2022 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid


While it may not be as revered as the Mustang or Bronco, the 2022 Ford Explorer earns plenty of credit for being one of Ford’s most versatile vehicles. Slotting between the mid-size 5-passenger Ford Edge and full-size Expedition, the three-row Explorer is well suited for family hauling duty. It also boasts strong towing capabilities for its class and an engine lineup that should satisfy whether you’re looking for high fuel efficiency or sporty performance.

Since Explorer debuted more than 30 years ago, SUVs are more popular than ever. With just about every automaker in America offering at least one SUV in its lineup. The explorer has plenty of competition. No matter which version you choose, the Explorer delivers class-leading cargo space, a comfortable and composed ride, and plenty of modern tech including standard in-vehicle wifi and Ford Sync 3 infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. For 2022, Ford adds a new trim to the Explorer lineup. The ST line offers the sporty look of the Explorer ST but with the base, four-cylinder engine in lieu of the ST’s high-performance V6.

2022 Ford Explorer Specs

Engine, Transmission, and performance

2022 Ford Explorer in Rapid Red color
2022 Ford Explorer in Rapid Red color Image Credit: Ford USA

A 300-hp turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine is standard on the Explorer’s base, XLT, and Limited trims, and it propels the vehicle with authority. The King Ranch, Platinum, or ST variants, which are powered by a 400-hp twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6, will be preferred by the lead-foot drivers among us. In 2020, a hybrid model was added to the Explorer lineup. It produces 318 horsepower when a 3.3-liter V-6 engine and an electric motor are coupled.

The Explorer can tow up to 5600 pounds when equipped with a towing package. Although all-wheel drive is still an option, the Explorer is built on a rear-wheel drive base. All models come with a 10-speed automatic transmission as standard equipment. The Explorer ST is far more athletic, and its additional power and stiffer suspension make it a true-performance SUV. However, its ride and handling are acceptable and composed but far from thrilling.

2022 Ford Explorer design and appearance

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

The Explorer’s cabin is utilitarian and pleasant, despite the somewhat uninspiring interior design—at least for those seated in the first two rows. With the push of a button, a device that pulls the second-row seat out of the way makes it relatively simple to enter the regular third row. However, once there, older children and adults will discover that the seat is uncomfortably near to the ground. Competitors like the Volkswagen Atlas and Chevrolet Traverse offer more comfort in the third row. Four carry-on suitcases fit behind Ford’s third seat, and with both back rows folded flat, we could fit a total of 31 bags.

Ford Explorer Timberline can tow up to 5600lbs  towing package
Up to 5600lbs towing capacity

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Infotainment and connected features

A Wi-Fi hotspot and an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included. Although the system is responsive and appealing, it is not as user-friendly as we would want. In that case, a rotatory controller might be useful. You must upgrade to one of the Explorer’s priciest trims to receive the optional 10.1-inch vertically oriented screen. However, voice-activated navigation and a backseat entertainment system are options for every model. Besides the Explorer base model, a 12-speaker B&O sound system is included as standard.

10.1-inch portrait LCD touchscreen
10.1-inch portrait LCD touchscreen

2022 Ford Explorer variants and features

The 2022 Ford Explorer SUV is a mid-size SUV with three rows of seating. It comes in eight trim levels or configurations base, XLT, ST line, Timberline, Limited, ST King, Ranch, and Platinum. Most models come standard with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine through a hybrid V6 powertrain and a high-performance V6 is found on higher trims.

The standard features and price (MSRP) for each trim level of the 2022 Ford Explorer

Explorer Base model

Starting with the base model which has a starting price of $35,510. The base model comes standard with the turbocharged 2.3liter four-cylinder engine. The engine makes 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. You also get the 10-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard though all-wheel drive is optional. You get the LED headlights, the power liftgate, the tri-zone automatic climate control, the power adjustable driver’s seat, the split-folding second-row bench seat, the split-folding third-row seats, an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, Smartphone integration and a 6 speaker sound system. Every explorer also comes with these advanced driver aids frontal collision mitigation, blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist, and trailer sway control.

Explorer XLT

The next model is the XLT. It has a starting MSRP of $38,570. The XLT has a few extra enhancements including roof rails, leather-wrapped steering wheel, upgraded interior trim, heated front seats, power-adjustable driver seat, second-row captain’s chairs, and second-row USB ports.

Explore ST-Line

Above the XLT, you have the ST-line. Starting MSRP of $45,760. The ST line is equipped similarly to the XLT but has a sportier appearance thanks to its 20inch wheels, a black grille, intended headlights, and tail lights. Black interior trim simulated, leather upholstery with microfiber inserts, a navigation system with voice control, a wireless smartphone charging pad, and a 12-speaker Bang Olufsen audio system. The ST-line also has extra driver assist features including a lane-keeping system, a surround-view camera system, adaptive cruise control, and evasive steering assist.

Explorer Timberline

Next up you have the 2022 Ford Explorer Timberline. It has a starting MSRP of $48,320. This is the off-road-oriented Explorer. It comes with the extra technology and driver assist features of the ST line plus, standard all-wheel drive, a specialized suspension with higher ride height, all-terrain tires, a limited-slip rear differential, underbody skid plates, front tow hooks, standard trailer tow package, revised grille and bumpers, and simulated leather upholstery.

Explorer Limited

Next up you have the Limited. The Limited has a starting price of $47,070. Compared to the XLT, the mid-range Limited is more luxurious. Thanks to interior ambient lighting, leather upholstery heated steering, wheel ventilated front seats, power-folding and heated second-row seats, second-row sun shades and the extra technology and driver assist features from the ST line and the Timberline.

The Limited is also available as the Limited Hybrid. It has a V6-based hybrid powertrain that produces a combined 318horsepower. It also gets the best fuel economy of the Explorer lineup with up to an EPA estimated 27 miles to the gallon and combined city-highway driving.

Explorer ST

Next up you have the Ford explorer ST. It has a starting MSRP of $49260. The ST is the performance, Explorer. It has the sporty styling elements of the ST line but further backs them up with the turbocharged 3-liter V6 engine that makes 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. You also get the sports suspension, paddle shifters, digital instrument panel, and sports front seats.

Explorer King Ranch

Next up you have the King Ranch Edition. Starting MSRP is $53,630. The King Ranch builds off the Limited with features such as a turbocharged V6 engine, wood interior trim, digital gauge cluster display, unique leather upholstery, upgraded front seats with massage, and a 10.1-inch touchscreen, a 14speaker Bang Olufsen sound system, and rear automatic braking.

Explorer Platinum

Last but not the least, you have the 2022 Ford Explorer Platinum. Starting price is fifty-two thousand three hundred and seventy-five dollars $52,375. The Platinum ups the luxury over the King Ranch with adaptive headlights, 21inch wheels, an automated parking system, and extended leather upholstery. And like the Limited you can also get the Platinum as the Platinum Hybrid that has the hybrid powertrain.

Ford Explorer Colors

There are eight paint choices and this one here is stone blue again black carbonized gray, burgundy velvet, forged green, iconic silver, rapid red, and star white.

2022 Ford Explorer all eight colors
2022 Ford Explorer all colors

2022 Ford Explorer – The verdict

Which variant to buy?

The finest Explorer for the money, in our opinion, is the mid-range Limited variant. Although the hybrid makes sense for drivers who can benefit from its impressive EPA-rated city mpg, we discovered that the basic turbocharged four-cylinder engine is more powerful and efficient on the interstate. When outfitted with the towing package, it has a huge 5300-pound towing capacity. For an extra $1920, we’d add an all-wheel drive.

Other than that, we believe the Limited trim’s appealing standard features should be adequate. These include a power-folding third row, leather interior, a heated and power-adjustable steering wheel, a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, 20-inch wheels, and improved driver assistance features including adaptive cruise control.

At this price range, the 2022 Ford Explorer has a whole lot of rivalry including Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Ford Bronco.

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