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New Ford Explorer EV to roam Europe with 374-mile range

  • Ford’s all-important mid-size electric SUV
  • Class-leading WLTP range
  • Priced from under £40,000

Written by Graham King Published: 27 March 2024 Updated: 27 March 2024

The new electric Ford Explorer SUV has gone on sale, priced from less than £40,000 and with a range of up to 374 miles. The occasion coincided with the end of an 18,000-mile circumnavigation of the globe, the Explorer being the first electric car to achieve such a feat.

Ford hopes the Explorer will make waves in a very crowded part of the electric SUV market. It goes head-to-head with the likes of the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia Niro EV, Nissan Ariya, Volvo XC40 Recharge and Volkswagen ID.4.

It’s Ford’s second electric SUV after the Mustang Mach-E. The Explorer is a physically smaller car but promises to be more spacious and family-friendly, with a driving experience more biased towards comfort than its sporty sibling.

Ford Explorer, blue, rear right three-quarters, studio
The new Ford Explorer wades into the crowded mid-size electric SUV market.

What models are available?

Right now, there’s a choice of rear-wheel-drive (RWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) Extended Range versions. The RWD models come equipped with a 77kWh battery and 286hp electric motor. Vital statistics are 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds and a class-leading WLTP range of 374 miles. It can recharge at a rate of 135kW.

AWD models have a slightly bigger 79kWh battery and 340hp from a pair of electric motors, one on each axle. With a 0-62mph time of just 5.3 seconds, it’s considerably quicker than the sporty Focus ST, yet manages a still respectable WLTP range of 329 miles. It also has greater towing capacity at 1,200kg. It can recharge at 185kW, which Ford claims translates to a 10-80% top-up in 26 minutes.

A third powertrain will be added to the range later, featuring a 52kWh battery and 170hp motor. That car will slip under the 40-grand mark at £39,875. Prices for Extended Range models start at £45,875.

Ford Explorer in Thailand
The Ford Explorer’s 374-mile range helped it circumnavigate the world.

What features does it have?

Standard features include a 14.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system – the position of which is adjustable – running Ford’s latest SYNC Move2 software; you can also connect via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Elsewhere, you’ll find heated front seats and steering wheel, massaging driver’s seat and a wireless charging pad.

Premium models add a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo and matrix LED headlights. Among the 15 driver assistance features fitted to all models are adaptive cruise control and lane change assist.

Ford Explorer dashboard
The Ford Explorer’s display screen’s position can be adjusted through 30 degrees.

What about space and practicality?

According to Ford, the Explorer is ready for family adventures with its 450-litre boot and spacious interior. It also has an interior storage system Ford calls MegaConsole and a lockable storage box dubbed My Private Locker.

Confusingly, the Explorer EV isn’t the only car of that name sold by Ford. The other Explorer is a hulking-great petrol SUV that’s hugely popular in the USA and elsewhere in the world – it’s even sold in a few European markets.

But the Explorer EV is completely unrelated. Indeed, it’s been designed exclusively for the European market and is based on the VW Group MEB platform that also underpins the VW ID.3 and Audi Q4 E-Tron among many others.

Ford Explorer MegaConsole
The Ford Explorer has a clever storage system between the front seats dubbed MegaConsole.

Wasn’t the Explorer due a while ago?

The Explorer EV was unveiled over a year ago and originally slated for launch in autumn 2023 but Ford chose to delay it by six months. That’s because the battery pack was redesigned to meet more stringent crash safety standards that were coming down the line.

The car’s 18,000-mile, round-the-world odyssey ended yesterday (26 March 2024) in Nice, France. Adventurer Lexie Alford drove through 27 countries on six continents battling unmade roads, every kind of weather and a complete lack of charging infrastructure for much of the journey.

Ford’s Model e Europe general manager, Martin Sander, said: ‘Lexie’s journey has been the ultimate test for our new Ford Explorer. It embodies the true can-do spirit of this company, seizing this great opportunity to not only test ourselves but also the world’s charging infrastructure.’

Lexie Alford with Ford Explorer
Adventurer Lexie Alford drove the Ford Explorer 18,000 miles around the world.

What this means for you

There are a lot of very competent mid-size electric SUVs available, and you could easily dismiss the Ford Explorer EV as merely another addition to a very crowded market. But, on paper at least, the Ford looks like a very competitive contender with a real emphasis on practicality, ease of use and value for money. That 374-mile range is very eye-catching, as well.

It’s also an easier choice to justify than the more expensive, less practical and rather esoteric Mustang Mach-E. But will the Explorer EV hold up to closer scrutiny? We’ll find out in due course when we have the opportunity to test it.