2022 Ford Explorer Interior Technology Features

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What are the Explorer’s interior and in-vehicle technologies like?

We’re glad Ford introduced the Timberline and King Ranch versions (pictured above), because they both add some much-needed color and visual interest to what is otherwise a rather dull interior. Some might even call it a little ugly, especially with the large, vertically oriented touchscreen glued to the dashboard. Compared to the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade or Toyota Highlander, it looks awfully low-grade, and the quality of the materials does little to change that perception.

Every Explorer comes standard with Ford’s Sync3 infotainment interface. It responds well to taps and swipe gestures, icons are easy to read and press, and the feature content is typically rich for this segment. This includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, although we found too many of their functions to be blocked while driving. We ended up using the stock Sync3 controls to navigate or play music from our smartphone.

Although every Explorer has Sync3, the screen that controls it is different. The standard 8-inch touchscreen is easy to see and reach, and we like the optional smartphone bin underneath. That goes away with the 10.1-inch vertically oriented touchscreen, which is optional on the ST and standard on the Platinum and King Ranch. Worse, the larger screen doesn’t improve functionality as you might expect. The 12.3-inch digital instrument panel included on these three top trims is much more sophisticated and even changes its design depending on which of the seven possible driving modes is selected.

Handling and off-road performance

What car enthusiasts value the 2022 Ford Explorer model for is its excellent cross-country ability. Despite the fact that we are talking about a spacious seven-seat crossover with an impressive weight, the car does not have many competitors among its classmates off-road. You can completely keep silent about rough terrain and dirt roads, since the “American” copes with such obstacles on its way with a bang, without causing any discomfort to the driver.

This model also performs well in the city when driving on public roads with hard surfaces. In this case, the car confidently holds the road, regardless of the speed of movement, and also obediently responds to the steering, does not sway during sudden maneuvers and allows you to fully enjoy comfort during a trip of any length.

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What about performance?

All Timberlines are equipped with the Blue Oval’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost l-4 engine, producing 300 horsepower. With. and 310 Nm of torque, and a 10-speed automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels. What sets this car apart from the standard Explorer is the Torsen limited-slip differential, which can transfer torque to the wheel with the best traction depending on road conditions. The terrain control system has several driving modes, including dirt road and deep snow/sand.

Ford has equipped the Explorer Timberline with the same shock absorbers as the Explorer Interceptor, an SUV you don’t want to see in your rearview mirror. The suspension offers a firmer ride on pavement: we felt almost every pothole we encountered. The last regular Explorer we drove, the rear-wheel drive XLT, felt peppy and restless, a far cry from how the Timberline drives. We didn’t have the chance to go off-road in the woods, but we expect the shocks to be softer when entering a dirt road, although we’ll reserve final judgment when we do get off the pavement. The steering also feels different, feeling numb and disconnected from the road, perhaps at least in part due to the beefier tires.

The 2.3-liter EcoBoost is off-road capable in terms of power. During our testing, it accelerated the car from zero to 100 km/h in 6.8 seconds – a decent time considering the large body. We noticed the odd noise coming from the rear of the car when accelerating at wide open throttle, but it was mostly quiet except for tire noise filtering into the cabin. On our figure-eight test drive, the numb steering was the worst thing about this SUV, but we were pleasantly surprised by the actual handling, which was relatively good.

How does the Explorer drive?

Unsurprisingly, the Explorer’s driving experience differs depending on engine and transmission choices. Acceleration is strong from the base engine, and we don’t think you’ll miss having a V6. Of course, acceleration is ridiculously quick with turbocharged V6s, but they cost so much that most potential buyers would consider them a moot point. Fortunately, we found the rear-wheel-drive four-cylinder XLT to be more agile and willing to change direction than the more powerful Platinum. A lighter engine on the front wheels, unencumbered by driveshafts, contributes to this. We wouldn’t call any of the non-ST models sporty – the suspension is too springy and the steering too uncommunicative for that – but they nonetheless provide a bit more dynamics and connection than is typical for this segment. If there’s one reason to choose the Explorer over the Telluride or Palisade, this is it.

The Explorer ST does improve comfort levels with a firmer suspension without sacrificing the ride. The steering hasn’t improved, however, and overall we found the ST too big and heavy to be considered a true performance car. It’s also not cool enough to match the gleefully absurd Dodge Durango SRT. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we had not tested the off-road-focused Explorer Timberline at the time of writing.

The Hybrid, meanwhile, impresses with its refinement, performance and lack of handling flaws. However, its fuel economy advantage is so slight that it’s hard to recommend unless you drive the car mostly in traffic, where its noticeably better city MPG numbers will really make a difference.