Ford explores changes to winning formula

There’s a reason why the Ford Explorer has been the perennial best-selling SUV in the North American marketplace for what feels like forever.

Actually, forever actually means the Explorer has been tops in its mid-size 4x4 sales class since it was introduced in 1990.

That’s right, for 17 years it has been the choice of a lot of buyers—especially corporate fleets—and those others interested in going where most other road cars cannot.

Since 1990, more than 5.5 million Explorers have rolled off Ford’s assembly lines, into showrooms, then owners’ driveways.

So, why?

My guess is much of it had to do with spillover from Ford’s healthy truck sales. If Ford could make a good light duty pick up, why not a 4x4.

And for the most part that was true since you really can’t argue with the impressive sales numbers.

But the market never stands still as new buyers need to be sold on the Explorer and past or current owners have to be tempted to trade in their old ride for a new one.

And to help this, the 2007 represents the fourth generation of the model line which features an update to its solid, good looks that make it much more contemporary in a field that is becoming much more competitive.

While Ford hasn’t gone as far as some manufacturers have in making their SUVs sleeker and car-like on the outside, the Explorer has a much nicer front view that, while still pretty boxy, has a new headlamp array to soften things up.

Mounted in clear lens housings, the lamps and turn signals are arranged in one unit with the amber signals dipping just below the main housing.

The front grille has also been revised and now features a deep u-shape of chrome, vented vertically on either side, then finished off with a familiar row of slats and a big blue oval emblem positioned in the middle.

Move to the rear and the Explorer benefits from some more clean lines on the rear hatch. The black coloured c-pillar almost disappears into the liftgate’s window and side window. And the break lights also get a reminder of the front headlights with the lowest light bulb mounting featuring a round housing.

And when it comes to counting how many can enjoy the ride, Ford offers you plenty of choice with three configurations from five, six or seven passengers.

Helping you get all of that around town is a choice of two powerplants—a standard 4.0 litre V6 that creates 210 horses, or an optional V8 that gives you 292 ponies and plenty of towing capacity.

Base price for the Explorer is a competitive $40,899. If you want a little more in the way of creature comforts, the Eddie Bauer edition ramps that up slightly to $47,299.

And if you are looking at topping out your 4x4 with all the luxuries, the price jumps a little higher to $52,699.

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